x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

De Villiers: Coach is not happy

AB de Villiers, the South African batsman, feels the second Test will be decided by play on the pitch rather than the weather.

KINGSMEAD // AB de Villiers, the South African batsman, feels the second Test will be decided by play on the pitch rather than the weather. De Villiers, who scored fifty as South Africa were bowled out for 343 before England closed on 103 for one, said: "There's a good chance of a result. We'd like to get a nice lead but I think there will be turn and the spinners will come into play on days four and five. It's one of those wickets where they'll always be something in it for the bowlers if you can get into good areas with intensity.

"You'll always create chances if you can keep the run-rate down. There's a bit of bounce and it's always nibbling about, even with the older ball." England ended the second day 240 runs behind, with bad light stopping play prematurely, after Andrew Strauss' fluent 54 had got the visitors off to a flier. And de Villiers admitted that his coach Mickey Arthur was less than happy with the way the Proteas bowled.

"Mickey came at us very hard and said we were not executing the basics very well," he said "We bowled too short so we'll get the lengths a bit fuller but there were a few harsh words said." Strauss was bowled by Morne Morkel but Graeme Swann suggested that his captain's innings turned the match back in England's favour. "It was great to see him play shots from the first over," said Swann who took four wickets. "We did not sit down and say 'let's go all guns blazing' but it was important we did that because we've wrestled back the initiative that South Africa had taken from us."

And Swann has backed Alastair Cook (31 not out) to continue the fine start to England's reply, saying: "Cooky's been solid in this innings ... he looks back in form." sports@thenational.ae