South Africa captain Du Plessis 'sad' but admits day five was 'so special'

By Sports Desk January 07, 2020

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was gutted to lose to England at Newlands but acknowledged they had been part of a magnificent spectacle in the second Test.

A dramatic final day saw the Proteas come within half an hour of batting out the day to secure a draw, but instead, Ben Stokes took the final three wickets in quick succession as England levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

Du Plessis felt the contest was exactly why the ICC should not reduce Tests to four days as he reflected on a tough loss for his team.

"What an advertisement for Test cricket," he said. "Obviously I'm sad that we are on the losing side, but all I'm asking for from a team-mate is that we fought and fought really hard. 

"We did that over five days. Most teams would come when the chips are down and fall after lunch, so for me this was a huge step in the right direction, showing character and fight. We lost in the right way, we fought to the end, and I'm proud of that. 

"I am a fan of Test cricket going five days. The great draws of the game go five days. I understand there is a lot of money being burnt on day-five cricket because a lot of Test matches are not going five days. 

"But I am still a purist of the game because I have been part of some great draws and this is no different. There would definitely not have been a result in four days on this pitch.

"That's what makes it special, to have Stokes, shattered and still running in and we are trying to survive. That's what makes the extra day so special.

"Unfortunately, there has to be a winner and a loser, and credit for England for having just a little bit more in the tank than we had. [Quinton de Kock] was going really well and we felt he had it under control."

The third Test in Port Elizabeth will start on January 16.

Du Plessis added: "The next Test will be very exciting. Luckily there's a bit of a break after two tough matches in a row. 

"Regroup, train harder and make sure we improve – that's what we're trying to do as a young unit and I think that's what you see.

"Two months ago, we were very weak mentally. We exploded quickly. Sometimes you will improve by losing."

Asked where the game was lost for South Africa, Du Plessis felt their opening total of 223 had proven costly.

"First-innings runs," he said. "We got ourselves into a position where we should have got a little bit more. We are not where we need to be from a batting point of view.

"But what pleases me is that we've found someone at the top of the order in Pieter Malan. He knows his game and has stepped in and played one of the great innings. We've shown we've got another opener who can play Test cricket."

Related items

  • Rahane: India to make late call on Ashwin or Jadeja selection Rahane: India to make late call on Ashwin or Jadeja selection

    India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane says a late decision will be made over whether Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja will play in the second Test against New Zealand.

    Ashwin took 3-99, but twice failed with the bat as the tourists were hammered by 10 wickets in the opening match of the series at Basin Reserve. 

    Jadeja was overlooked for India's first ICC World Test Championship defeat and is pushing for a recall for a second match that begins at Hagley Oval on Friday.

    Rahane gave nothing away when asked which spinner will get the nod as India attempt to tie the series in Christchurch.

    "We have not taken any such decisions," the batsman said. "Ashwin had bowled really well in Wellington and he is a quality bowler; Jadeja is also a quality bowler.

    "Yes, it gets a bit tough when we travel as to play whom – Jaddu [Jadeja] or Ashwin.

    "But I think it is a good sign for the team when we travel outside India because both are quality spinners.

    "The decision will depend on the condition of the wicket and we have to see the thought process of captain and coach and what combination they have in mind for the team. But no decision on them yet."

    Virat Kohli's side were bowled out for less than 200 in both innings in Wellington, but Rahane feels they may find conditions more favourable in the second Test.

    "In New Zealand as a batting unit and as a bowling unit, we've got to adapt to the conditions here," said Rahane. "Pitching areas are completely different here than in India or South Africa or Australia.

    "The India A guys played here and Hanuma [Vihari] was telling us this wicket plays much better. There's good pace and bounce on this wicket... we'll have to wait and see. Assess the conditions very quickly on the first day of the game and play accordingly."

  • Warner reinstated as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Warner reinstated as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain

    Australia batsman David Warner has been reinstated as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain for the 2020 Indian Premier League season.

    Warner will take over as skipper from Kane Williamson in a tournament that gets under way on March 29.

    The former Australia vice-captain will never again be considered for leadership roles at international level due to his part in the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal but is set to resume captaincy duties for Sunrisers.

    Warner was the leading run-scorer in the 2019 IPL and skippered the title-winning side four years ago.

    The opener said in a video posted by Sunrisers on Twitter: "I'm thrilled to be given the captaincy for this coming IPL. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity once again to lead the team.

    "I'd like to thank Kane and Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] for the way you've led throughout the last couple of years.

    "You guys have done an outstanding job and I'll be leaning on you for support and your insight.

    "And to the management, thanks once again for giving me this opportunity and I'm sure I'll be doing my very, very best to try and lead us to lifting that trophy once again."

  • Australia skittle South Africa again to clinch T20 series in style Australia skittle South Africa again to clinch T20 series in style

    Australia clinched the Twenty20 series against South Africa in emphatic fashion at Newlands on Wednesday, thrashing the home side by 97 runs in the winner-takes-all showdown.

    In a lopsided encounter remarkably similar to the first of the three games between the teams, the tourists posted a challenging total before skittling their opponents.

    Opening duo David Warner and Aaron Finch both made half-centuries as they powered Australia to 193-5 after being put into bat.

    The Proteas – who managed just 89 when chasing 197 last Friday – lost captain Quinton de Kock early and never threatened in a reply that lasted just 15.3 overs.

    Mitchell Starc claimed the key early breakthrough, bowling left-hander De Kock with the fourth ball of the innings, and also removed Faf du Plessis cheaply during the powerplay. The paceman finished with figures of 3-23, wrapping up the win by trapping Kagiso Rabada in front.

    Ashton Agar also claimed three wickets, with the spinner coming close to recording a second hat-trick in the series after seeing off Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi with successive deliveries in the 15th over.

    Tabraiz Shamsi survived to deny Agar another treble but South Africa did not last too much longer, bowled out for 96 – the lowest total posted in a T20I at the Cape Town venue.

    They appeared set to be chasing well in excess of 200 when Warner (57) and Finch (55) were in full flow, the pair putting on 120 in 11.3 overs.

    Australia rather lost their way after the well-set pair departed in quick succession, yet Steve Smith – who surprisingly came in down at number five in the order – benefited from a repreive when bowled by a Rabada no ball to make an unbeaten 30 in a hurry.

    Starc's double strike had South Africa teetering and while Rassie van der Dussen (24) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) tried to repair the damage, the slow-bowling combination of Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) turned the screw. Fittingly, the impressive Starc landed the knockout blow.

    The two teams now turn their focus to 50-over cricket with a three-match ODI series rounding out Australia's trip. The first match takes place in Paarl on Saturday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.