New Delhi: After the dismal 0-3 Test series loss against India, South Africa's poor outing with the bat has continued in the longer format.
Against England in the Boxing Day Test in Durban, the Proteas have struggled with the bat to hand onus to their opponents who are six wickets away from sealing the first match.
The consistent failures of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis have hurt the side immensely. The duo who struggled in the sub-continent against India, failed to get back to form at home too. In the first innings the duo scored nine runs between them as it hurt South Africa.
In the second innings too, Amla and Du Plessis' lack of composure was brought forward. The lean phase comes as a shock for the Proteas given their dominance in the format.
AB de Villiers has been the most consistent player in the side to highlight his importance. First against India he was their prime batsman in Tests where everybody else failed to apply themselves. Against England, AB has been the rock for the Proteas in both innings.
The hosts will look up to AB to save themselves and eke out a draw. AB showed a lot of character in the fourth innings against India in the final Test in Delhi. If he can get into that groove, South Africa have a chance to stay afloat.
With JP Duminy being the only recognised batsman left, AB has to shoulder the responsibility as usual.
Lack of runs from the top order has been South Africa's downfall and they will have to step up in the next Test as the pressure on AB is too high with the side being dependant and over reliant on him.
Steven Finn will be the main factor for SA on Wednesday and AB's application against him will hold key as England will look to be patient.