Pretoria - The Proteas will be looking for consistency against Sri Lanka, who are largely an unknown force, batsman AB de Villiers said before the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.
De Villiers on Monday said the Proteas needed to do some serious video analysis of the Sri Lankans as they had not toured South Africa since 2002.
“They haven’t been here for a very long time and we haven’t played them for a long time,” De Villiers said.
“They have a lot of new players and I watched them on the telly the other night and I hardly recognise half of the team.
“We will have to do our homework and that will start from tonight onwards, a lot of video analysis. And we have some info from outside as well.”
De Villiers said the fact that the Proteas knew little about the Sri Lankans made them a dangerous prospect.
“It is an unpredictable team, I think you can label them as a very dangerous side,” he said.
De Villiers bemoaned his side’s lack of consistency and said they needed to keep their cool when it came to the crucial moments in their matches.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing poor cricket in the last few years, but I do think we played the massive and important situations not too well.
“Like in the last Test match against Australia we got presented with the opportunity to finish it off and we didn't do that, and that is what makes a good team a great one.
“That is why England is doing really well at the moment, when they get a sniff they finish it off.”
While the Sri Lankans are not the No 1 team in world cricket the Proteas still needed to show the tourists respect.
“The most important thing for us, is to respect them and play them like they are the No 1 team in the world, which they are not,” he said.
“We will go out there focusing on our skills and make sure we play our brand of cricket.”
De Villiers said he could not say whether Sri Lanka’s bowling or their batting were their strong points as they had not played against them in such a long time.
He was asked whether it would be tempting to ask the groundsman to prepare a pacy pitch against the Sri Lankans, who traditionally play on slower pitches.
He replied diplomatically: “I really back our skills and back the boys in the team. We can ask the groundsman for a quick and pacy wicket and those kind of wickets which would be nice to give some pace to guys like Morne, Dale and Marchant and Vernon, but I just want a good cricket wicket.
“Because if we get a good cricket wicket and we play good cricket they won’t be able to stop us.”
Meanwhile, former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara is expected to play in the first Test match despite splitting the webbing between his fingers in his right hand in their warm-up match against a South African Invitational XI in Benoni over the weekend.