Centurion - Pakistan may have the greatest spin bowlers in the game, says Proteas captain AB de Villiers, but South Africa have a plan in place to deal with them in the second one-day international in Centurion on Friday.
“Pakistan have world-class spinners who would do well in any conditions, anywhere in the world,” De Villiers said on Thursday.
“But we’ve worked really hard to work out exactly what makes them so good and we’ve come up with a nice plan to counterattack them.”
De Villiers said the plan worked for them in the first ODI and, although they still had the utmost respect for the Pakistani bowlers, he felt if the batsmen followed the plan, they would come out on top.
After a good performance in Bloemfontein, where South Africa went one up in the five-match series, De Villiers said the hosts could still improve further.
“It was a step in the right direction but we’re still way off where we want to be. There’s no such thing as a perfect team, but we just want to improve in every game.
“It’s a massive series for us and there are still four big games coming up, so we still need to play good cricket to win the series.”
Over the last few years, the Proteas have been inconsistent in the 50-over format and De Villiers said they were working hard on improving all their on and off-field processes which would eventually result in more consistent results.
“It’s not just about how we play cricket but it’s about everything we do,” he said.
“We’re doing things more consistently well than we did in the past - our training, our video analysis and basically everything we do, off and on the field, has improved since Gary Kirsten has been head coach.
"That’s why our performances will eventually be more consistent.”
With Dale Steyn back in the country after a rest period in the United States, and raring to go after working hard with Kirsten in Cape Town, he was likely to be included in the starting XI for the Centurion match.
“Dale Steyn just below 100 percent is good enough to make our first team. He’s probably the best seam bowler we’ve ever seen in this country,” De Villiers said.
“He will make it back, whether it’s in this game or the next one, so it’s going to happen as he’s our main strike bowler.”
De Villiers admitted it was a tough decision to drop one of the other seam bowlers but it was a choice which had to be made at the final team meeting later on Thursday evening.
Pakistan Misbah-ul-Huq said they were thinking of adding another fast bowler to their attack for Friday’s game and both their spinners and their batsmen needed to improve their performances.
“South Africa played well against our spinners on a pitch that was really gripping and turning," Misbah said.
"We were a bit short on length and need to improve that, especially as they are our strength so we need them to bowl well.
“We also need to change our approach running between the wickets - we need to be more aggressive and rotate the strike and put more pressure on their fielders.
“It’s a combination of all those things that we need to improve as we need to win this match to stay in the series.
"A 2-0 lead to South Africa would make it very difficult for us so we really want to come back and win this match."