LEARNING CURVE: South Africa’s Richard Levi is bowled by England’s Tim Bresnan during the third T20 match at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS
LEARNING CURVE: South Africa’s Richard Levi is bowled by England’s Tim Bresnan during the third T20 match at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS

BIRMINGHAM — PROTEAS captain AB de Villiers hopes his side’s experience of playing in rain-reduced matches in England will prove useful during the coming World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

The Proteas ended a largely successful tour of England with a 28-run defeat by the reigning World Twenty20 champions in a floodlit fixture at Edgbaston on Wednesday, where rain shortened the match to 11 overs a side.

That meant the three-match series was shared at 1-1, with only the Proteas’ seven-wicket win at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, where the teams bowled 39 of a possible 40 overs, going close to the distance. Set 119 to win on Wednesday, South Africa could manage only 90/5 as a tour that featured a commanding 2-0 Test series win over England and a shared one-day campaign finished on a losing note.

"It certainly wasn’t our best performance.... We were pretty much outplayed tonight," De Villiers said after a defeat that saw England replace South Africa at No1 in the international Twenty20 rankings.

"It was disappointing but there are a lot of positives to hang onto throughout this summer. We’ve played some good cricket and it’s not all doom and gloom going to Sri Lanka," he said.

In Manchester on Monday, South Africa made 77/5 in nine overs in another rain-marred clash, before a fresh downpour during England’s reply led to a washout with the game five balls short of the five-over mark in the second innings needed to declare a result.

De Villiers, asked what South Africa had learnt from the brief encounters, replied: "Quite a lot, actually. At this level you have to adapt no matter what situation you find yourself in.

"I hear there is quite a bit of rain around in Sri Lanka at the moment and we might get a few rain-delayed games and it might cost you the World Cup (World Twenty20) if you are not prepared for it.

"We have played a couple now, one good, one not so good. We’ve had a taste for it and will be better prepared now.

"It will probably be quite a lot different in Sri Lanka, but we can probably expect something a bit like tonight’s (Wednesday’s) pitch. There was quite a bit of turn and it was slowish; we could get quite a few like that in Sri Lanka."

Off-spinner Johan Botha will head to Sri Lanka on the back of an impressive two wickets for 19 runs on Wednesday, having returned the same figures at Chester-le-Street. "He’s an experienced campaigner," De Villiers said. "He’s in good form, and has been for a long time, so it’s nice."

Sapa-AFP