South Africa captain AB de Villiers believes the key to winning the fourth Test and ending the series on a high is to keep the pressure on England throughout the five days in Centurion.
Alastair Cook‘s men took an unassailable 2-0 lead with a thrilling seven-wicket win in Johannesburg which extended South Africa’s winless streak to nine Test matches.
De Villiers has urged his side to take control from the first ball tomorrow in a bid to end their long wait for a victory.
“The plan over the next five days is not to overperform but to try and sustain that kind of pressure for longer,” De Villiers said in his press conference.
“We were a little bit desperate to make something happen in that last match. But we backed the plans we had. Unfortunately they did not pay off.
“We would hate to lose 3-0; 2-1 sounds a lot better.
“We have to win a Test match; I don’t think we have won a Test match for 12 months.
“We are rebuilding a little bit, trying to find our feet and I think it is time to wake up a little bit now and start playing proper cricket.
“I don’t think we were that far off the beat in the last few games, but unfortunately came up short in a couple of important sessions.
“We are trying to do that better in this Test match.”
The drawn second Test in Cape Town aside, South Africa have struggled to post significant totals against an England attack that has worked effectively as a unit.
While De Villiers admitted England present a challenge with the ball, he was bullish about South Africa’s chances of getting the upper hand.
“The bowling is experienced, but some of the guys have lost some pace over the years,” he said.
“They are smart and skilled, so there are other angles to cover. But they are not unbeatable, there’s no doubt.
“I’m not only optimistic about this game, but our future as well.”
The Proteas will again be without injured fast bowler Dale Steyn but wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock has passed a fitness test and will replace Dane Vilas.
Batsman Rilee Rossouw and seamer Hardus Viljoen have been released from the squad, meaning uncapped opener Stephen Cook will come in for Stiaan van Zyl and there will be a recall for either Kyle Abbott or spinner Dane Piedt.