The Australian cricket team are not often forced onto the backfoot but that is exactly where AB De Villiers put them in during the recent Test match in Port Elizabeth.
A rampant De Villiers struck a magnificent century that turned the match in the Proteas' favour and reduced the Aussie pace attack to some rather demeaning leg side bowling in a desperate attempt to reduce the flow of runs from the bat of the flamboyantly talented South Africa batsman.
Steve Smith the skipper of the Baggy Greens seemed at a loss at how to combat De Villiers and ordered his bowlers to bowl wide of the leg stump in a vain attempt to nullify the in-form batsman.
It is rare to see strike bowlers of the calibre of Mitchell Starc employing such negative tactics and he has revealed that he was less than impressed with the captain's instructions.
"I can't say I was too happy with that either," Starc said, per ESPN Cricinfo, when asked about having to bowl in such a humiliating manner.
"Look, if the captain tells me to do something I'm going to do it, aren't I?"
De Villiers finished his innings unbeaten on 126, accumulated at a rapid strike rate 86 and put his team in a commanding position which they never relinquished as they squared what has been a fiery series 1-1 with two Tests left to play.
Starc meanwhile, who had taken nine wickets in the first Test to decimate the South African top order, took just one wicket in Port Elizabeth, returning the rather nondescript figures of 1/125.
With the crucial Cape Town clash just around the corner, the Aussie team have been busy trying to work out how to find a way to prevent De Villiers from dominating their much-vaunted pace attack once again.
Starc has his own theories on how to deal with the man known as Mr 360 for his unique ability to hit shots to all areas from anywhere on the crease.
He added: "I think you've got to think outside the box a lot more with him. A good ball's still a good ball to any batter in world cricket, it's just bowling them more consistently, changing the field a little bit and maybe cutting off a couple of scoring areas for him as well.
"We've had some lengthy discussions about some plans to him, things we might have to change, but he's only human and going forward there's no doubt we can get him out."
Starc will certainly be hoping to launch his full firepower on De Villiers in Capetown and wrestle the initiative back in the Aussies' favour in this thoroughly absorbing series.
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