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."

Faf du Plessis is approaching "a crossroad" in his career that could lead to him retiring from at least one format after the T20 World Cup. 

The South Africa captain will be 36 by the time of this year's tournament in Australia, which begins in October, and knows he may need to lighten the load.

Team-mate Vernon Philander, 34, is set to retire from international cricket after the ongoing four-Test series with England and that gave Du Plessis reason to reflect.

"I was the last one standing now with Vern [Vernon Philander] going from our generation," he said in a news conference.

"I said before that the T20 World Cup would be a crossroad in my career where I would see where I'm at.

"I think something will have to give from a format point of view. I don't know what this is yet.

"As a team probably if you look at the next year, Test cricket and T20 is probably our two main focus points. So possibly in the one-day game [we need to] start looking at guys who will get opportunities.

"I think it's important we do that more - get guys ready."

Du Plessis has played 62 Test matches, 143 ODIs and 44 T20 internationals ahead of the second five-day match with England, which starts on Friday.

Pieter Malan will make his South Africa debut in the second Test against England, while Temba Bavuma has been dropped from the squad and challenged to score a "weight of runs" to earn a recall.

Malan will open the batting with Dean Elgar at Newlands after Aiden Markram was ruled out of the rest of the four-match series with a broken finger.

That is the only change to a Proteas side that won the first Test at Centurion, where Bavuma missed out on a 40th appearance in the longest format.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis says his fellow batsman must pile on the runs to have any chance of forcing his way back into the team, with Rassie van der Dussen keeping his place.

Du Plessis said: "Temba is on board. Something we are trying to achieve as a batting unit is to raise our standards a little bit higher, push our performances from a runs point of view. He is on board with the process to try and get guys to score big runs.

"If you're not finding yourself starting now, it's about weight of runs. Temba was injured before the start of the series but it was a talking point even before the series - whose positions do we need to make sure there is more competition for?

"It's about finding guys that are knocking on the door all the time to push us to a level where we can take this batting line-up to win games of cricket consistently.

"Temba will be the first to say that his performance over the last while wasn't where it needed to be. Weight of runs would be the way back into the team, like it would for anyone."

Du Plessis says Van der Dussen earned another opportunity after making a half-century on his debut in the first Test.

"We feel it's the right thing to do to stick with Rassie," the skipper added ahead of the second Test, which starts on Friday.

"As a player, you feel like you get a bit confidence when you get an extended run - runs or no runs. Luckily he scored some runs in the first Test.

"A big part of international cricket is the mental aspect of belonging. Rassie has got a real composure to him and a presence when he bats. He ticks all the right boxes."

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is hopeful his side's 107-run victory over England in the first Test at Centurion heralds the start of a brighter period for the Proteas.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) was blighted by a series of off-field issues, including the suspension of CEO Thabang Moroe, disputes with the South African Cricketers' Association and the loss of a major sponsor, prior to their series with England getting under way.

However, following the appointments of Graeme Smith as interim director of cricket and Mark Boucher as head coach, Du Plessis' men began a new era in encouraging fashion by winning the opening Test on Sunday, bowling England out for 268 after the tourists had been set an unlikely target of 376 for victory.

"We needed that," said Du Plessis at the post-match presentation. "Obviously the last couple of months, as a Test team, have been tough for us, but we worked really hard this week.

"I thought it was a very, very good Test match, two teams fighting really hard all the way, and today's effort was incredible.

"We haven't won a Test match in a while. It's the start of a new chapter. We want to make sure we're improving as a Test team again. We want to go up to better things again and this is just the start.

"We know it's going to be a long journey to get there, but we'll make sure we keep working hard and putting in the right things."

Du Plessis was particularly delighted by the efforts of a bowling department that is set to be weakened when Vernon Philander retires from international cricket after this series to take up a Kolpak deal in English county cricket.

Anrich Nortje shone in his first home Test, while Kagiso Rabada claimed seven wickets in the match as the ever-impressive Philander received able support.

"I thought Anrich Nortje was really good," said Du Plessis. "Obviously we expect that from KG [Rabada], he's a world-class performer for us, but Anrich, in his first Test at home, he's probably not someone that you would think has a lot of control. We know he has got a lot of pace, but I thought he bowled with great control, executed the right lengths to different batters and bowled with some really good pace as well.

"So [there are] real good signs for the Test team moving forward. Obviously, we've lost quite a few bowlers and with Vern deciding that he wants to go and move on to greener pastures, we need new bowlers to step up to the platform now.

"We've had Morne [Morkel] and Dale [Steyn] and other guys like that, KG, step up when there was old bowlers bowling at the time and now we're gonna need one or two more to come to the fore."

Faf du Plessis says there is no room for egos in a new South Africa leadership group as they prepare for the Test series against England.

Mark Boucher was appointed head coach last weekend and has wasted no time in assembling his staff.

Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt and Justin Ontong will assist the former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman along with Enoch Nkwe.

Graeme Smith took charge as interim team director before bringing in Boucher, with Du Plessis remaining captain amid wholesale changes. 

The South Africa skipper believes he can have a good relationship with Boucher in a new era.

"It's important that you don't have guys with egos. That's the most important thing when it comes to leadership groups, especially if there's a few names thrown into the mix," said the batsman.

"For someone like Mark Boucher who has been coaching for the last three or four years with the Titans, seeing what it is like on the other side, because coaching and playing are two different roles, and you can see his development from a personality point of view.

"He also understands that it's give-and-take. He will come in sometimes and I'll pull away and vice versa and I think that only comes when you are mature enough to understand what a leadership group looks like and are secure in your own position.

"If you are insecure, then you are going to feel like you need to talk all the time because there is another big voice in the team but I don't feel like that at all."

Faf du Plessis says AB de Villiers has already held discussions over a potential South Africa comeback.

De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018, stating he had "run out of gas".

New Proteas head coach Mark Boucher said it would be remiss of him not to try to tempt one of South Africa's greatest batsman to have a change of heart, with the T20 World Cup on the horizon next year.

South Africa captain Du Plessis revealed talks with the 35-year-old started a few months ago.

"People want AB to play and I am no different," said Du Plessis, speaking to reporters after playing for Paarl Rocks against Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final.

"Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: What does it look like? How does it look over the next year? And that's where it starts.

"T20 cricket is a different beast, it's not a lot of time away from home. If you are a full campaigner, you have to really get stuck in and spend a lot of time on the road.

"Test cricket now is the most important thing but also the T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn't a lot - I reckon 20 T20s over the season - which won't be that hard on one to do that.

"Those conversations have already taken place and will continue to before the next T20 series starts."

De Villiers is set to make his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat next month.

Quinton de Kock expects Faf du Plessis to captain South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup next year but says he would grab the opportunity "with both hands" if he was asked to take over.

De Kock led the Proteas in a drawn Twenty20 series with India in September as Du Plessis was given a rest.

The wicketkeeper-batsman will also skipper Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League, but he believes Du Plessis will lead his country in Australia next year.

De Kock told ESPNcricinfo: "The way I see it is that I was just a replacement. That's the way I took it. For now, it's still Faf's baby. But maybe if things change and they do want me to do it, then I will do it.

"For the moment, I am not looking too far ahead. I am just trying to look at how I can help out with the youngsters, with the new guys in the T20 team and by myself, just getting better and getting ready for the T20 World Cup next year.

"But if that does come upon me, then I will try to grab it with both hands."

De Kock says South Africa can take inspiration from the way England turned around their fortunes in limited-overs cricket to win the Cricket World Cup this year.

"We are not the first team that has gone through a transition," De Kock said. "England did it after their last World Cup and look at them. Four years later, they end up winning the thing.

"It's alright if the whole country and guys are a bit down and out but when we all gather together, especially after winning this Rugby World Cup, a lot of people are pumped up.

"[People] want to get this transition going so, by the time we get to our next World Cup, we can really put ourselves in a good stead, just like England did."

Faf du Plessis admits South Africa's humiliating Test series in India exposed plenty of "mental scars" for the Proteas.

Things started badly for the tourists in a 202-run hammering in the opening contest, before they were battered by an innings and 137 runs in the second match.

India showed absolutely no let up in Ranchi and took the final two wickets they needed on Tuesday to win the third and final Test by an innings and 202 runs.

Only five of South Africa's 16-man squad had previously played in India and Du Plessis feels a lack of experience was clear.

"When we play in the subcontinent, our style of bowling is not successful. You have to adapt your style to the style that is required," he said. 

"Obviously, someone like Dale Steyn was effective in the subcontinent because he has a similar skill set. He is a skiddy bowler off the pitch, hits the stumps, whereas if you are missing the stumps a lot or bouncing it over the stumps, it's not as effective here.

"Seam bowling is one area; spin they were better than us and from a batting unit, exceptional ruthlessness in the way they put massive scores on the board. 

"That's one of the reasons why mentally we were so weak towards the end. Obviously, they did bat first every time, which made it easier but they still put on 500, 500, 600 and the scoreboard pressure, the effect that it has on you mentally as a batting line-up, it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of toll. 

"You just feel like there's no opportunity or no moment in the game when you can hide. Your body is tired, your mind is tired and then you make mistakes.

"Our next journey is to try and make sure we get a lot stronger as a cricketing team mentally. As you can see, a tour like this reveals that there is a lot of mental scars that can happen and then obviously it's difficult to come out of the hole. 

"We played our best match in the first match and the consistent pressure that was on us made us weaker with every Test match that we played. 

"It tells me we are not mentally strong as a team and that some work is required in that department."

South Africa have lost a lot of experience, with Steyn and Hashim Amla among those to retire in 2019.

But Du Plessis, 35, will not relinquish his captaincy and is determined to unearth the next generation of Proteas leaders.

"How I see my journey unfolding with this team is to help with the transition period," he added. 

"That's something we spoke about before that wasn't necessarily the case before. Graeme Smith was a successful captain for a very long time and then after that, it was like, 'what now, who is going to captain the side, what's going to happen?' 

"This period is to try and make that process a bit smoother, identifying the next leaders, identifying the next captains, working with them, and then when that time is right, that time will be right."

South Africa are on the verge of suffering a 3-0 series defeat to India after they were reduced to 132-8 in their follow-on enforced second innings in Ranchi. 

Having started day three of the final Test on 9-2, the Proteas were twice dismantled by India's rampant pace attack on Monday.

Zubayr Hamza's knock of 62 was the best South Africa had to offer in their first innings, as they were bowled out for 162, 335 runs shy of India's total.

Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on and India's pace attack - spearheaded by Mohammed Shami - once again made light work of the visitors' batting order.

Theunis de Bruyn (30 not out), a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, offered some resistance, though India need just two wickets to round off a dominant series triumph with South Africa still 203 runs in arrears.

Things started as they would go on - South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (1) succumbing to a fine delivery from Umesh Yadav.

Hamza, with assistance from Temba Bavuma (32), managed to steady the ship somewhat, and amassed his first Test 50 with a sublime six over mid-on.

But Hamza's resistance was ended when, one delivery after he survived an India review, the 24-year-old was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja.

Bavuma followed in the next over and, after Heinrich Klaasen (6) went before lunch, South Africa collapsed after the restart, losing four wickets for 33 runs.

India were swiftly back on the wicket trail after enforcing the follow on - Yadav sending Quinton de Kock's (5) off-stump tumbling while Shami dismissed Hamza (0), Du Plessis (4) and Bavuma (0) in quick succession.

Elgar was forced to retire hurt after he was clattered on the helmet by Yadav and, though his replacement De Bruyn held firm, the Proteas could not stem the flow of wickets - Dane Piedt (23) and Kagiso Rabada (12) offering nothing more than short-lived cameos.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis joked he is considering sending another player to the toss for the third Test against India as he aims to correct his side's recent woes.

The Proteas are 2-0 down in the series after suffering heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

With the three-match series already lost, South Africa head to Ranchi looking to restore some pride as a frustrating 2019 draws closer towards a conclusion.

Du Plessis cited winning the toss as a crucial factor but, with South Africa having lost their last nine coin-flips on Asian soil going back to 2015, failing to win any of the subsequent Tests – the Proteas' skipper conceded he might have to send out a substitute in order to change their luck.

"We've felt that we've done it [compete] in stages, more probably in the first Test, so hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow," Du Plessis told reporters.

"Probably I will [send] somebody else to the toss, I'll give you that, because my record so far hasn't been great, and then, yeah, if we put big runs on the board in the first innings, that's where we need to start."

Du Plessis also acknowledged his side – who lost the first Test by 203 runs and the second by an innings – can only regain confidence by taking the fight to India.

"It is tough when you're losing," he said.

"For us, we're very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who've stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.

"So it's important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can't expect things just to happen."

South Africa's task has been made harder by the absence of batsman Aiden Markram, who will miss the final Test due to a wrist injury he sustained while "lashing out at a solid object" following his second-innings dismissal in Pune.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Thabang Moroe has issued a rallying cry and declared these are "exciting times" just a day after the Proteas suffered a record Test defeat to India.

India won by an innings and 137 runs - their biggest margin of victory against South Africa - in Pune on Sunday to wrap up the series with a match to spare.

Virat Kohli's side took the opening match by 203 runs and the tourists will have to show a vast improvement in order to avoid a whitewash in Ranchi.

Moroe has called for fans to back Faf du Plessis' side in a transitional period in a new era following the departure of head coach Ottis Gibson and the retirement of key players.

"It was always going to be a difficult challenge taking on the top team in the world – certainly under their own conditions – in India at a time when we have introduced a new team structure," Moroe said.

"In the past two years we have had to bid farewell to some of the great names of international cricket such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn who between them played nearly 450 Test matches for the Proteas.

"You don't replace that kind of experience overnight and we need to give a new generation time to settle.

"These things take time and I am confident that we will already see improvement in our next Test series when England are our visitors during the festive season. I am sure that our supporters will rally behind them on home turf. 

"These are, in fact, exciting times for South African cricket with new names and faces coming to the fore. Our talent pipeline has produced the likes of Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Zubayr Hamza over the last few years and our development systems are clearly in good shape.

"There is a huge incentive on our young players to put pressure on the incumbents. There is nothing like good competition for places that brings out the best in all."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis would love to see his team demonstrate the ravenous hunger for runs that Virat Kohli showed for India in the one-sided second Test.

The India skipper set the platform for a dominant victory by making 254 not out in the first innings, as the home team piled up an intimidating 601-5.

After India won the first Test by 203 runs in Visakhapatnam, South Africa were thumped this time by an innings and 137 runs in Pune to surrender the series after being bowled out for 275 and 189.

It was South Africa's heaviest Test defeat to India.

Du Plessis used seven bowlers in an effort to unsettle Kohli on the first two days of the match, but to no avail.

"The way India batted, and especially Virat getting a 250, that takes a lot of mental toughness to put a score like that on the first innings," Du Plessis said.

Kohli's score was his highest in Tests and it took him through the 12,000-run barrier in the five-day game.

"It's trying to stop him," said Du Plessis. "We saw it in the first Test as well [with other India batsmen]. As captain you try to think of ways, how you can change little things, field placements or bowling placements, but he was too good in this Test match.

"All the questions, and all the stuff we threw at him, he had answers for. [He was] just relentless and sticking to his game, and for me what really stuck out from that was a hunger for runs.

"You could see they were determined to score big and not get tired and satisfied of getting a hundred and stopping. It was great value for us as batters – when you're on top of your game, making sure you're really hungry and making sure you can put in big performances that can affect the outcome of the game."

Du Plessis suggested South Africa had found the Kohli experience exhausting.

"Two days in the field, it can wear you down," said Du Plessis. "Since then, it was trying to play catch-up and with a very good India bowling attack. And these conditions, they don’t give you much and you need to be on top of your best game.

"If you're not, you're going to be found wanting, and we were found wanting in this Test match."

South Africa will expect more from their attack in the third and final Test, starting in Ranchi on Saturday.

"All in all, I think India are deservedly Test series winners," said Du Plessis. "They are a very tough team to beat at home and their record speaks for itself. We weren't at our best, so we'll try to make sure we can improve for the next Test."

South Africa will consider adding an extra paceman to their attack for the second Test against India in Pune after suffering a 203-run defeat in Visakhapatnam.

Mohammed Shami took five of the nine wickets to fall on Sunday as the Proteas - requiring a notional 395 for victory - collapsed from 11-1 to 70-8 and were eventually dismissed for 191.

Prior to Shami's masterful exploitation of a wearing fifth-day pitch, there had been little assistance on offer for the seamers.

However, Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje could be called upon by the tourists for next week's second Test, starting on Thursday, after spinners Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy struggled to make an impact with the ball in support of fellow slow bowler Keshav Maharaj.

In a news conference, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said: "Apart from today [Sunday], seamers didn't play that much of a role in this Test match. They played a holding role in the first four days. Whether an extra seamer would have made a difference, I am not sure.

"But definitely day five, we saw that there was huge value in the seam, the up and down. It is something for us to consider moving into the next Test match."

Piedt and Muthusamy did at least impress with the bat, striking 56 and 49 not out respectively on the final day after the latter had also made an unbeaten 33 in the first innings of his debut Test.

Given Muthusamy was selected as an all-rounder rather than a frontline bowler, his position in the side looks more secure than that of Piedt.

"You can see technically he is very sound against spin, which is something he has worked really hard on," said Du Plessis of Muthusamy.

"Obviously he bowls a bit as well so that helps. Batting in that number seven or number eight position is always something we are looking for as a team.

"He batted with real maturity in both innings and is making it hard for us to leave him out of the second Test. He is putting the numbers on the scoreboard, which is what we want.

"It's about finding the balance - which are our best wicket-taking options? But also you definitely need to have one element of control in the sub-continent. Those are the conversations that we will have."

Uncapped trio Anrich Nortje, Senuran Muthusamy and Rudi Second have been included in South Africa's Test squad for the tour of India, while Quinton de Kock will captain the Twenty20 side.

Paceman Nortje, all-rounder Muthusamy and wicketkeeper-batsman Second were among the 15 players selected for a three-match series in October.

There are also three new faces in the squad for three contests in the shortest format, with batsman Temba Bavuma, spinning all-rounder Bjorn Fortuin and Nortje getting the nod.

Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi were omitted from the T20 squad as they will be warming up for the Tests by playing in a four-day match against India A.

Faf du Plessis will continue to skipper the Test side, but he will not feature in the T20 series, so De Kock leads the side and Rassie van der Dussen will be his vice-captain.

Bavuma will be Du Plessis' deputy in the Test series, with Enoch Nkwe installed as interim team director following head coach Ottis Gibson's sacking after a poor Cricket World Cup for the Proteas.

Hashim Amla last week retired from international cricket after Dale Steyn called time on his Test career.

 

Test match squad: Faf du Plessis (captain) Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Senuran Muthusamy, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second (VKB Knights).

  T20 squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.

Faf du Plessis will stay on as South Africa's Test captain, though a new skipper could well be selected for the one-day side.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced a restructuring of the Proteas team on Sunday, confirming Ottis Gibson, whose exit was first announced on Sunday, would not be coach for the upcoming tour of India.

South Africa endured a disappointing World Cup campaign, winning three out of nine matches as they were eliminated in the group stage.

A CSA statement also hinted that an interim captain could be selected ahead of the India tour, but acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl has confirmed Du Plessis will keep his role for the Test team, if not the ODI side.

"Faf will be the captain of the Test team and then we will talk about the white-ball strategy to 2023 and how that will affect decision-making," Van Zyl told a news conference.

"It's important to look forward to 2023 as well. We need a strategy to 2023, so in terms of appointing the captain we will look at how we approach that. We are having a selection meeting in the next day and a half to confirm that."

Meanwhile, CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe indicated the search for a new coach may take longer than initially anticipated.

"We will try to make sure that before the English tour starts [in December], we will have permanent employees in place," Moroe said.

"But this is a different environment, so depending on who the director of cricket is talking to, that might delay the deadline. We've set the deadline but might not meet it."

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