That was clear from their performance in the first one-day international against England at Headingley in Leeds on Wednesday.
AB de Villiers won the toss and chose to field, and his attack repaid that apparent confidence by conceding a total of 339/6 – the highest score posted in the 39 ODIs played at the ground.
Only Chris Morris, aside from part-time JP Duminy, looked the part in a bowling unit that bled runs and had to rely on loose strokes for their wickets.
Morris took 2/61 and bowled the only maiden of the innings. Duminy went wicketless, but the 34 runs he gave up off six overs made him South Africa’s tidiest bowler.
None of Morris’ and Duminy’s colleagues could keep the pressure on for long enough to bowl maidens, much less force errors.
And when they did manage to put the batsmen on the spot, too often their hard work was squandered by shoddy work in the field.
Opener Alex Hales took advantage of all that while the ball was new with a 61 that rattled off 60 balls with eight fours and a six.
Hales and Joe Root steadied England in a second-wicket stand of 98 that followed Wayne Parnell having Jason Roy caught behind in the second over.
But the stars for the home side were Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali, who put on 117: a record for England’s sixth wicket in ODIs against South Africa.
The partnership started after the home side had slumped to 198/5 in the fifth over and endured into the 48th.
Morgan went to his ton in the 45th, which leaked 22 runs and saw him smash Imran Tahir for three sixes.
Morris removed Morgan for a 93-ball 107, but Moeen was still there at the end with an undefeated 77 – 50 of them in fours and sixes – off 51 balls.
No bowler besides Morris sent down all 10 of their overs, but even he could have done without a last over that cost him 13 runs.
By Telford Vice – Tiso Black Star Group/Sports