After a long, physical grind at the crease and the heartbreak that followed, a disconcerted Faf du Plessis fell on his back once he stepped into the dressing room.
The batsman was too tired to react on anything or even speak and lend advice to Dale Steyn, the next batsman who had crossed him on his way to the wicket and was just a few minutes away from facing the ire of entire South Africa.
A day later, with his body salts replenished but the agony still hurting, he sat with the rest of the South Africa team in the flight to Durban.
The tiredness was evident but there was quiet contentment that the hosts had done well to rub India the wrong way on the last day. Du Plessis acknowledged the prying eyes that saw South Africa’s saviour in person. There were some who seemed to question and laugh at the way the Proteas let a victory slip away at the fag end.
The tired Indians, having got a new lease of life, too reached a few hours later and headed straight to the hotel while the Proteas decided to put in the hard yards at the nets.
The man of the moment, or rather the villain of the moment for South Africa, Dale Steyn was inconsolable and struggled to handle the situation that arose from the crowd booing, people hurling abuses on his cellphone and also the heavy criticism on television.
AB de Villiers, who somehow managed to control the emotions and was content with the draw, said it took skipper Graeme (Smith) and a few guys to convince Steyn that he had made the right decision and wasn’t at fault as everyone around him had made him to feel. Steyn was finally convinced and the team chat where Smith and coach Russell (Domingo) spoke ensured that everyone and everything was fine.
“People who don’t know the game will always criticise but there are so many things that go on in there,” explained De Villiers.
One of the things South Africa have probably done is dent India’s confidence a bit, no matter how brave a face Dhoni and Co may put up.
The idea, as AB revealed, was to let Dhoni know that ‘you can’t attack me’ and he feels the message has been sent across to the India skipper.