Faf du Plessis underlines value of patience in Centurion Test vs India
Faf du Plessis notched up his 17th fifty and shared valuable partnerships with the tail on a sluggish Centurion wicket in the second Test against India.cricket Updated: Jan 14, 2018 18:53 IST
Runs have been hard to come in this series but there is no way you would feel that looking at Faf du Plessis’s graph. First innings scores of 62 and 63 in Cape Town and Centurion meant South Africa reached a respectable score in the first Test and almost walked the talk of reaching 350 here on Sunday. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA LIVE UPDATES)
The SuperSport Park surface is far from the seaming Newlands pitch but R Ashwin and Ishant Sharma keeping a check on runs meant the South Africa skipper had to be extra careful in picking the right bowlers to score off. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA SCORECARD)
The scenario was pretty different to Newlands. There, du Plessis had the remarkable AB de Villiers for company. Together they had stitched a 114-run partnership that swung the Test their way.
BIG LBW APPEAL
Here, du Plessis had No 8 Keshav Maharaj for company when he went out to push forward South Africa from 269/6 on the second morning. For a change, India bowlers were on the money from the start. Ishant Sharma hit him on the front leg first ball, but the loud appeal was turned down. The next time du Plessis was struck on his pads -- this time by Jasprit Bumrah -- it seemed closer.
India sought a review but replays showed the ball was going over the stumps, meaning the visitors had exhausted their reviews. Du Plessis was not going to wait around amid all this. Good square of the wicket on both sides, du Plessis tried to convert every loose delivery into runs.
He first punched Mohammed Shami -- bowling a far improved line than Day 1 -- through mid-off, followed by another through cover point in his next over. Even Ashwin, India’s best bowler, wasn’t spared as the South Africa skipper swept him for a boundary behind deep backward square leg.
Hardik Pandya managed to induce a thick edge but du Plessis carried on with the job of scoring around the wicket. He reached his half-century, his 17th in Tests, off 127 balls with seven fours and truckloads of patience.
Along the way, du Plessis stitched a 42-run eighth wicket partnership with Kagiso Rabada, who was given two lives off consecutive Ashwin deliveries. With Maharaj, who edged a superb Shami delivery for 11, du Plessis scored 31 runs for the seventh wicket. In the context of this game, these two partnerships could prove golden for South Africa.
Du Plessis looked good to score more but the need to do it quickly may have prompted him to play away from the body. Ishant exploited that to castle him but by then du Plessis probably knew South Africa had enough on the board.