ADELAIDE – South Africa’s cricket captain Faf du Plessis wrote another chapter in his Adelaide Oval romance when he struck an invaluable unbeaten century – the sixth of his career – on the opening day of the Proteas historic first experience of day/night Test cricket on Thursday.
Following his being charged for ball tampering on Tuesday afternoon, Faf said he was “expecting a little bit of hostility” but not to the extent that it was. The South African captain was booed as he took to the field…
“When I came out I was obviously aware of it… but as the innings went on it disappeared … and when I got to 100 I really wasn’t expecting to get booed… that was really disappointing,” he told reporters after today’s play (see video below).
Faf said he was very “proud of today. It was a big day for me to stand up as a captain and lead from the front”. He said that fact that he was “extremely motivated” before the match probably helped him excel on the field.
Faf’s century followed his innings of 78 and 110 not out – the latter an epic match-saving effort – on his Test match debut at the Adelaide Oval in the 2012-13 season.
When he declared the Proteas had posted what looked like a competitive 259/9 after winning the toss and deciding to bat first to which Australia replied with 14 without loss in the remaining 12 overs.
The latter had to revamp their opening partnership as David Warner had spent time off the field with an apparent shoulder injury during the latter part of the South African innings.
He will now have to bat at No. 3 when Australia resume their innings on the second afternoon.
Faf’s unbeaten 118 came off only 164 balls with 17 fours and along the way he achieved the milestones of his highest score against Australia and 2 000 runs in his Test match career.
The only partnership of note up front for the Proteas was the 51 that he and Stephen Cook put on for the fourth wicket but at the back end he found good lower order support from Kyle Abbott (54 for the eighth wicket) and Tabraiz Shamsi (an unbroken 39 for the 10th wicket).
Shamsi replaced Keshav Maharaj in the only change to the Proteas side that clinched the series in Hobart. He became the Proteas 93rd Test cap.
Cricket SA said: “Du Plessis played an innings of tremendous skill, composure and character – the latter probably being the most important ingredient after his integrity had been challenged continuously during the preceding week. His preparation for the match must have been anything but perfect.
“As for skill he played some tremendous cover and straight drives and also scored runs effectively off the back foot square of the wicket.
“As is the case with JP Duminy he has brought a much more attacking insight to his game and he is reaping the deserved rewards.”
The Proteas scored 89/3 in the afternoon session, 76/4 in the twilight session and 94/2 in the evening session before the declaration which gives credence to Quinton de Kock’s pre-match comment that the easiest time to face the pink ball is under the lights.
The bounce, swing and movement when South Africa took the new ball did not produce any problems for the batsmen although they took 38 collective balls to score their first runs off the bat.
“Conditions were far from ideal for batting in the first 60 overs which gave even more substance to Du Plessis’ great innings,” said Cricket SA.
Before the match began, Faf revealed he is very motivated to lead South Africa to a first-ever series whitewash against Australia, a feat never achieved by any touring team.
Thirty-two year old Faf made his Test debut at the Adelaide Oval four years ago, of which he has “fond memories”
“When I rocked up here at the beginning of the tour to play our warm-up match there were so many great memories that came back from four years ago when we drew that match on the way to winning the series, where I made my debut, and also lost my shoe on the way down to the pitch,” he said in Adelaide. “To come back now in the position that we are, and as captain where things having gone really well this series, it sounds like a nice ending. It will be better if we can win 3-0.
“As a leader you want to be part of creating history,” he said. “That is something we have done already and I certainly don’t want to miss out on that. We have played some great cricket and we have something going, it’s important to keep doing that.”
Watch Proteas Cricket Captain Faf du Plessis discuss the Match in Adelaide