CAPE TOWN – One additional strong reason for South Africa to seek revenge in the second Test against India in Bangalore from Saturday will be the occasion of AB de Villiers’ 100th game for the Proteas – the seventh player from our shores to reach the landmark.
Although no stranger to that city given his adored presence in the ranks of Indian Premier League outfit Royal Challengers Bangalore since signing from Delhi Daredevils in 2011, the dashing batsman will be playing his first Test (along with all his current team-mates) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The world Number One-ranked Proteas enter the second of four clashes 1-0 down after their 108-run defeat in three days on a controversial, dry surface at Mohali, where the tourists unusually could only manage 293 runs across both innings.
De Villiers top-scored with 63 in the first, and South African will wish for much bigger things from him and other key batsmen in Bangalore.
His 100th appearance should aid both his and the team’s motivation to strike back in a hurry; when De Villiers takes to the field he will become the 63rd player in global Test history to hit the milestone.
Six compatriots have previously got to three figures, with Jacques Kallis the SA leader — 166 Tests, for fourth place overall behind Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar (200), and Australians Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh (168 each).
The other, all-retired Proteas stars to feature in the elite club are Mark Boucher (147 Tests), Graeme Smith (117), Shaun Pollock (108), and Makhaya Ntini and Gary Kirsten (101 each).
Of the South Africans already in the ton-up category, only Kallis (career average 55.37) boasts a better batting average than De Villiers, whose own stands at 51.92 after his 99 Tests.
The Pretoria-born Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, 31, is the country’s 296th officially-recorded Test cap, having earned that status when he made his debut against England at Port Elizabeth in 2004/05.
He will be the only SA player turning out in the second Test to boast any prior international experience of Chinnaswamy Stadium, having represented the Proteas in a 2005 ODI, won by six wickets by India; he opened the batting that day with his captain at the time, Smith, and was dismissed for four.
There has been just one previous Test between the two nations at the venue, back in March 2000, when Hansie Cronje’s side thrashed the hosts by an innings and 71 runs to complete a maiden away series triumph (2-0) over these opponents.
Meanwhile, nearest present national colleagues to De Villiers for admission to “Club 100” are Amla (85 Test caps) and Dale Steyn (81).-Sport24