Captain Faf du Plessis believes that Hashim Amla could be the last player to reach 100 Tests for the Proteas.
‘The game has evolved so much. I am going to make a big call and say Hash is probably going to be the last guy that plays 100 Tests for South Africa because of the way that the game is changing,’ he said.
‘If you look at Hashim, AB [de Villiers], Jacques [Kallis] and Graeme [Smith] … it was a period of a lot of Test cricket that was played over a long period of time. Now, there’s lots of T20s, so I think the game is changing a little bit, that you won’t play for as long because there is so much more cricket.
‘It’s really special for Hash to do something like that. I’m not going to get to 100.’
Du Plessis was effusive in his praise for ‘the rock of our batting’.
‘He has been the most consistent player, along with Jacques Kallis, that South Africa have ever had,’ he said. ‘He is not scoring as many runs now but what he brings off the field still offers a lot. Hashim brings a calmness to the dressing room. Even when he is not scoring runs, he is offering a lot of value and for me as a player, I’ve learned a lot from that. You need to look at success and failure in exactly the same way.’
Du Plessis is keen to celebrate Amla’s landmark with a series whitewash.
He admitted there was always a danger of switching off after securing the series win, but said: ‘You don’t get yourself into opportunities like this every day. We’ve played great all series and want to close it out. We’re moving into a space now as a team where we’re really starting to dominate which is vitally important.
‘We don’t see Sri Lanka as weak at all. We’ve just applied ourselves better on our home conditions. We’ve been more consistent than Sri Lanka. They’ve shown signs of what they’re capable of but not consistently.’
Du Plessis confirmed that Wayne Parnell would play in place of Kolpak-committed Kyle Abbott. ‘Wayne will play, he’s coming in. He offers something different as a left arm seamer. It’s great variety. Wayne’s challenge now will be to see how consistent he can be in Test cricket.’
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