Mitchell Starc, the left-arm spearhead, has conceded Australia will need to devise new strategies to curb AB de Villiers after being rattled by the South African master batsman in Port Elizabeth.
“I can’t say I was too happy with that either,” Starc told reporters on Friday (March 16) about the defensive tactic. “Look, if the captain tells me to do something I’m going to do it, aren’t I?”
Starc revealed Australia’s brains trust had strategised to stymie de Villiers ahead of next week’s crucial third Test. “We’ve had some lengthy discussions about some plans to him, things we might have to change, but he’s only human, and going forward there’s no doubt we can get him out,” he said.
“He seems to be able to play a couple of different shots to the same length ball, so your margin for error is a lot less to someone like him. So you’ve got to think outside the box a lot more with him.”
“A good ball’s still a good ball to any batter in world cricket, it’s just bowling them more consistently, changing the field a little bit and maybe cutting off a couple of scoring areas for him as well,” he said.
Starc destroyed South Africa’s tail in both innings of the first Test with a lethal concoction of reverse swing but was thwarted by de Villiers’s propping of the tail in Port Elizabeth. “We feel we’re pretty comfortable against the rest of their batting line-up. I think we showed in the first Test how quickly we can go through them,” Starc said. “But he (de Villiers) has been the lynchpin for them.”