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South Africa motivated to complete Test series whitewash vs India: Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis said that a series whitewash against India will be a huge boost for South Africa ahead of their home series against Australia in March.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2018 22:15 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Johannesburg
South Africa vs India,Faf du Plessis,Johannesburg
South Africa will look to complete a series whitewash when they take on India in the third Test match in Johannesburg on Tuesday. (AFP)

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said beating India 3-0 will give them the momentum needed to go into the Australia series at home in March on the eve of their final Test match in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Asked how big it will be for them if they beat India 3-0, du Plessis said, “Big. Just playing against India, you don’t get the opportunity a lot to be in a position of strength where we can beat them 3-0. Consistency is something we want to have as much as possible.”

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Leading into the Australia series we want to go into it with that momentum we have been gathering over the last two games. Australia have been playing some really good cricket so by no means is anyone in the team thinking this is an opportunity to take our foot off the gas. We are really motivated to get a 3-0 win,” he said on Tuesday.

Du Plessis looked quite pleased to see the pitch at Wanderers but looked taken aback when informed that India have never lost here. “It’s an amazing stat. If you asked me if they’ve ever lost a game here, I’d definitely put something on it and say they’ve lost here,” he said.

“Some grounds, you just get a bit of confidence in the way that you play and then you run with it. I can think of Perth in Australia, where we’ve never lost and we get there and we’re confident and we can perform. I’m sure they (India) will rely on that. What you can do to try and counter that is just keep them under pressure.”

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They are a team that’s under pressure being 2-0 down in the series. The way that you start is really important. If they have a good start with the bat or ball, that’s when you can put a team down. They will have something that first day or that first hour, but if you can be really solid, you would think that the fighting spirit will slowly go away,” said du Plessis, who has a bit of a habit of kissing his bowlers after match-winning spells.

Among those kissed and hugged at different times during this series are Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada who had later joked about how his girlfriend wasn’t amused by du Plessis’s bromance.

Du Plessis warned more would be coming their way if they continued to bowl well. “If they can keep getting wickets, then the bromance will be there. If it becomes a bit of drought problem for us then the relationship will… it’s not unconditional love!,” he laughed.

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Asked if the team will be distracted by the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction that will happen in Bangalore on January 27-28, du Plessis said the management is keen on ensuring that the energy stays driven towards the third Test.

“Well we don’t have our phones, so it’s difficult to check. There will be distractions. That is normal, it’s human. The IPL plays a big part in all of our lives. For the management and myself, it’s important to make sure we keep the focus and the energy driving towards the Test match. And at the end of the day’s play, if we want to talk about the auction a little bit, we can do that but we have to make sure that the next day, when it’s Test match time again, we are switched on and focused,” he said at the pre-match press conference.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 20:55 IST