South Africa's emphatic 280-run win against England in the fourth Test at SuperSport Park on Tuesday was a welcome step in the right direction, according to skipper AB de Villiers.
The almost flawless performance in Centurion was a positive end to a challenging season of Test cricket, and was a promising sign of the way forward for the squad, he said.
The Proteas had lost the Test series in India, a first away from home in a decade, and then lost the series, and the number one ranking, against England. But they rallied in Pretoria, thanks in large part to Kagiso Rabada's 13 wickets.
De Villiers said: "It’s definitely a step in the right direction. We didn't play very good cricket at the Wanderers but I still felt that our attitude was really good.
"We were there to win the Test match but we had one blow out session. I think there is something brewing and a bit of confidence starting to develop.
"There is some experience coming into the side mixed with good youth and lots of talent. There are a lot of reasons to be positive, we are not going to get ahead of ourselves, there is a lot of hard work to be done.
"There are a lot of reasons to feel like we are moving in the right direction. We are only playing Test cricket in six months’ time so it’s a lot of time to break things up."
De Villiers says he ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ captaining the team in the two matches this series and is excited about the future of the Test squad, who’s next series is only in August against New Zealand at home.
He added: "Tough times are part of the game and part of an individual’s career. It comes when a team is going through a phase. I never felt like it was panic stations even though we never won a match in eight or nine matches.
"Things came together, we applied pressure for a bit longer, did the basics better than we have done in the last while. Those are the kind of things I have been asking for over the last 14 days and luckily we got it right here."