De Villiers century removes question mark over dual role

PERTH Sun Dec 2, 2012 5:40pm IST

South Africa's AB de Villiers hits a boundary off a delivery from Australia's John Hastings at the WACA during the third day's play of the third cricket test match in Perth December 2, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

South Africa's AB de Villiers hits a boundary off a delivery from Australia's John Hastings at the WACA during the third day's play of the third cricket test match in Perth December 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

PERTH (Reuters) - South Africa's AB de Villiers removed the question mark over whether he could bat while also keeping wicket with a storming 169 on Sunday to help his country to the brink of a series triumph over Australia.

The 28-year-old took up the gloves on the tour of England last July, initially as an interim measure, when a freak eye injury prematurely ended the career of 147-test wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Although his skills as a wicketkeeper have never been in doubt, the lack of so much as a half century since he adopted the role had some asking whether the extra duties were taking their toll on his batting.

He answered the doubters in some style on day three with a pugnacious 184-ball 169 littered with cover drives, pull shots, hook shots and three stunning reverse sweeps for four on successive balls to get him to the hundred mark.

"Obviously, there's a bit of added pressure on me with the gloves in hand," he told reporters. "It's been coming for a while now. Can I score runs with the gloves? Luckily I did today.

"I honestly believe I don't get as tired when I'm keeping," he added.

"When you are in the field and running up and down, it's really hard work and it can be mentally draining as well. When I'm keeping, I have 30 yards to run between overs and that's it.

"I've got to expect the ball a bit more often but I love being in the game, it keeps me on my toes and I'm really loving having the gloves in hand."

There has certainly been no question mark over the batting of Hashim Amla this year and he took his tally of runs over the 1,000 mark for 2012 with a sparkling innings of 196 off 221 balls.

Coming after Australia had been bowled out for 163 on Saturday, the cascade of quick runs wrenched the game away from the hosts as South Africa were all out for 569 in their second innings.

"It wasn't a plan. When I got to the crease with Graeme (Smith) there were a few loose balls we were able to get away and so that gave us some momentum," explained Amla.

"We just felt good and continued doing it. We managed to manipulate the field a bit - wherever there's gaps you try to hit the ball - so I tried a few one-day shots.

"We were in a strong position, which kind of gives you the freedom to do it. So if it goes wrong, it's not a train smash."

Victory for South Africa now looks highly likely with Australia set to resume on 40-0 on Monday with a target of 632 for victory with two days left.

"I feel really proud about what happened today," De Villiers said of his innings.

"But once again, it's not a great performance if we don't win this game so I'll really love it if we can push through tomorrow, and on day five maybe.

"I believe we have the skill to take 10 wickets," he added. "Our bowlers did amazingly well in the first innings, the best they have in this entire series.

"I'm expecting more fireworks tomorrow from them."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Mark Meadows)

Australian Open

Novak Djokovic (L) of Serbia watches as Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland walks off the court after their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Djokovic beats Wawrinka, to face Murray

Novak Djokovic once again stood tall at the Australian Open as he reached his fourth final in the past five years with another five-set victory over Stan Wawrinka, the man who dumped him out of Melbourne Park last year.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

GDP Growth

GDP Growth

India's economic growth revised up by almost 50 pct.  Full Article 

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Child Trafficking

Child Trafficking

Police find hundreds of child slaves making bangles - media   Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

England Beat India

England Beat India

England reach final after Taylor-made victory.  Full Article 

Change Of Heart

Change Of Heart

Justin Bieber says dropping 'arrogant' and 'conceited' attitude  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage