Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cricket-De Villiers benefits from mind games

CAPE TOWN, March 21 (Reuters) - AB de Villiers said he was concentrating on the mental side of his game after scoring 163 to lead South Africa to a massive total of 651 against Australia on Saturday.

"I've learnt from my mistakes and I'm a better player now mentally," De Villiers told reporters after the third day's play on Saturday.

"I had a nice chat to Jacques Kallis about batting and I've changed my mindset. I know my strengths and weaknesses better, I'm less flashy and my conversion rate once I get 50 is better.

"The improvement is more in the mind really than any big technical adjustment," De Villiers added.

De Villiers, who averages 61.87 over the last two years, hit medium-pacer Andrew McDonald for four consecutive sixes, only the third man to achieve the feat in test cricket.

India's Kapil Dev did it off England's Eddie Hemmings at Lord's in 1990 and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi off Harbhajan Singh in Lahore in 2006.

"I decided to push up the run-rate and put more pressure on (Australia captain) Ricky Ponting. His leg-spinner had just gone for a few runs and I knew if his containing bowler had to go for a few too, he would have nowhere to go.

"After I hit the first three, Albie Morkel came down the pitch and said I had to make a decision now about six in a row. I told him we're playing test cricket now, but I decided to give it a go after the fourth six, but unfortunately McDonald bowled a good yorker," De Villiers said.

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