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AB de Villiers hopeful of prolonging Test career

AB de Villiers remained unbeaten on 71.
AB de Villiers remained unbeaten on 71. © Getty
After a bittersweet day on the field in Durban, a hopeful AB de Villiers met question on Test future with optimism, while admitting that he can't 'look too far ahead'. Ever since his return from a long Test sabbatical, there have been questions over how long he'd carry on.
The 34-year-old responded by top-scoring for South Africa in the Tests against India- only behind Virat Kohli overall - and admitted being in the form of his life after the series-clinching win in Centurion. Come another big battle - the four-Test series against Australia - de Villiers has once again made a promising start. On a day when none of the other South African batsmen had any answers for the two-pronged rampage from Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, he finished unbeaten on 71.
"The Indian Test series was one of the biggest ones I've have played in when it comes to intensity and heat out there. Obviously it [against Australia] is a big series. We haven't beaten Australia at home. I am taking it one game at a time, I can't afford to look too far ahead. Loving my cricket, I am loving the environment and hopefully it will continue for a long time," de Villiers saidon Friday(March 2).
The South Africa No. 4 was the only half-centurion of the line-up and was part of the biggest partnership of the South African innings - 42 runs with Quinton de Kock.
"I'm not sure what I did differently. I just felt really good leading up to this Test in the nets, did some really good things in the nets, and I felt confident going into the Test. You don't always feel that way in Test cricket. I was very motivated to score some runs. Not enough partnerships. That's the key in our downfall. No real good partnerships that absorbed the pressure enough," de Villiers said.
"I just tried to hang out there today for as long as I could and try and find a partnership with someone. I try and read the situation. Sometimes it requires me to be more aggressive and other times to pull back and not get out. I was going to be a bit more aggressive towards the end but those last three wickets fell in no time."
De Villiers's efforts were stand-alone for South Africa as Starc ran through the South African line-up with a five-wicket haul, while Lyon chipped in with three scalps. De Villiers praised Australia's intensity on the field and their ability to play out their plans with a lot of success.
"Starc was swinging the ball one way and I felt I had him covered. He bowled a couple of good deliveries and there's not much you can do about that. Swing is one thing but when its moving a bit off the deck, it's really difficult to cover that. Lyon did a really good job from the other end more often than not. We had him under pressure at times but kept losing wickets. That allowed him to bowl with more freedom."
"There were a couple of softies today but also some really good bowling. They had a really good intensity about them and they seemed clear with their plans. We could feel that they seemed to know what they were doing."
Second day's play ended with the hosts folding for 162, handing Australia a massive first-innings lead, but de Villiers retains faith that South Africa can still 'pull off something special.'
"We are not far off but the deficit looks really bad. The wicket is getting harder by the day and it won't be easy for them to bat out theretomorrow. It's up to us to make sure we have the right game plans in place. We can pull off something special. We are not out of it.
"It [the pitch] was good enough to stick out there.If you had game plans in place, you could play. It was an even better surface yesterday. That isn't an excuse. We were a good enough batting unit out there. I'm pretty sure the wicket is going to get harder over the next two or three days. We've got our work cut out tomorrow. We still believe we can turn this around."

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