Port Elizabeth: Allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo on Monday said South African batsmen will go into the fifth ODI as a more confident unit, having learnt from their mistakes against the Indian spinners.
For the first time in the series, the Indian wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took a beating and proved to be expensive in the fourth ODI.
“We have good momentum now from the last game we played. We have come really far with that victory because the guys have been working really hard in the nets and we have been very specific about our training (against spin),” said Phehlukwayo.
“(In the last game) We were looking to be positive. We got into good positions and tried to pick the ball, watch the ball and played really straight,” he added.
The pitch for this fifth ODI bore a brownish look on Monday, resembling more the wicket in Durban for the first ODI than Wanderers. Historically, this pitch helps spinners more.
"We have been doing good analysis and have good game plans. Obviously, the conditions were different (at Wanderers). So it’s a game plan that we have had in our change room, to be really positive, look to score and get into good positions," said Phehlukwayo who bowls medium pace.
“You don't want to worry too much about what they do but what you do as a team. Once again it's a new game. So you just want to take the new stuff and back yourself. When I say change in game plan, I am also being specific about the mental aspect.
"We know the wicket, home conditions and we know how to go about it," said Phehlukwayo.
Talking about the match wicket, he said, “We train really specifically. Guys know their individual game plans and what they need to do. I think the most important thing when you are batting is to watch the ball and try executing the game plan.”
India have a poor record at St. George’s Park. Since 1992, they have lost all five ODIs they have played here. More than that, the Men in Blue have never scored 200 runs in an innings at this venue, which doesn’t bode well given the frailty of the Indian middle order.
“If you take game by game, obviously they've been batting really well. It would be really nice to expose their middle order. At the same time we don't want to really look too forward.
“The Proteas setup is really positive. We've got a good fighting spirit, a good culture. It's never down and out. We're always looking to fight back,” he added.
Phehlukwayo forms a key role in the South African team with both bat and ball. Talking about his role in the previous game, he said, “It is a left-hand right-hand thing. If David Miller gets out, I'm a left-hander so I had to go out to keep the combination. I was told to look be really positive, watch the ball and execute my game plans.
"When bowling to someone like MS Dhoni, I was just personally trying to hit the top of off-stump. Hit a hard length trying to get a few dot balls.”
On the batting front, Phehlukwayo said he has learnt playing spin by following the likes of Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock.
“I look up to the greats, Lance Klusener and also Shaun Pollock, who played spin very well. My hopes and dreams are to contribute and try to win a few games. Be positive, contribute on and off the field and be a leader in my own space,” he signed off.