De Villiers to lead by example against England


AB de Villiers has vowed to lead by example and help South Africa maintain their growing momentum as he takes on the captaincy for the first time in the third Test against England in Johannesburg on Thursday.

De Villiers was handed the position following the resignation of Hashim Amla, who was subjected to criticism following the 3-0 series loss in India late last year.

The announcement came despite Amla's return to form in scoring a brilliant 201 in the second Test at Newlands, helping the Proteas to almost force an unlikely win following Ben Stokes' phenomenal 258 as England declared 629-6 in their opening innings.

South Africa - who have now won just two of their last 12 home Test matches versus England - cannot afford to lose at the Wanderers as they trail the four-match series 1-0.

De Villiers, who has captained 76 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20s, hopes to lead the charge and capitalise on a shift in momentum he felt in Cape Town.

"I'm a very competitive person, I truly hate losing. There will be a big focus on winning. It makes my job a lot easier when I go out there and do things the way that I want the team to follow," he said.

"I will try and lead by example; score the runs, throw my body around the field and do the hard yards, I then believe that the team will follow.

"I believe there was a bit of a momentum shift in the last Test match. I've played enough series in the past to know that a little momentum shift doesn't just happen, it's a big thing in a series like this. It's up to us to make sure we maintain that momentum going into this Test match."

South Africa, missing Dale Steyn due to a shoulder injury, have released Dane Piedt and Rilee Rossouw and look set to go deploy Hardus Viljoen as part of a four-pronged attack intended to capitalise on a wicket that favours pace - all-rounder Chris Morris retaining his place in the line-up after an impressive Test debut.

England captain Alastair Cook - who has managed just 42 runs in four innings this series - is comfortable with his team selection, despite concerns over Alex Hales who is suffering from a stomach bug, and believes they have suitable options to react to how the wicket develops at a ground where they have won just one of their last seven Tests.

"It'll be interesting to see how the wicket plays. There's always a lot of talk when we've come here in the past, in 2009 and 2010. South Africa have got a pretty good record here but sides have beaten them here," he said.

"If the ball does fly through and seams about we've got a pretty good seam attack as well, and if it does get warm and it does spin a little bit we've got the option with the same balanced side of a good spinner so I'm very comfortable with this team playing in any conditions."