JP Duminy has described his career-defining innings of 141 on the third day of the first Test against Australia as a ‘step in the right direction’.
Duminy, who was dropped from the Test team in January, says he went through an introspective period following the disappointment and was determined to make a contribution after being given a second chance.
‘There were indifferent feelings, I wasn’t sure where I was going in terms of my career,’ he said honestly. ‘I’m grateful to get another opportunity, I got another opportunity in the fourth Test against England and did okay. I always knew that to try and make a mark in Test cricket again I needed to put in the performances.
‘The change came just before the West Indies tour,’ he said. ‘I sat down and re-assessed where I wanted to go and re-assessed my goals. Test cricket has always been a big part of my goal-setting, I knew that I was at a crossroad in terms of my Test career and I wanted to leave my Test career knowing that I had given it my all. I committed to giving myself the best chance, in whichever way that I could, so that was the difference.’
His fifth Test century, and his third against Australia, ended a trying 11-match drought without a century, but was also an encouraging sign of the responsibility he has taken since moving up the order to No 4, especially in the absence of AB de Villiers. He has attributed his success against Australia to the persistence of his opponents, whom he feels bring an unrelenting and unique challenge.
‘I was pleased with the opportunity,’ he said of his move up the order. ‘It’s something that I have enjoyed in the first-class arena, batting at four, and to be given the nod to go ahead, especially with it being a crucial position in the South African team, was a positive for me. I knew I had to step up and fill some big boots, we had Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers batting there before, so there are some big boots to fill and obviously today was a step in the right direction.
‘You know that you have to bring your ‘A’ game every time that you play against them,’ he said of Australia. ‘There is no period that you get to rest and today was testament to that. I didn’t feel at any stage that I could relax and take my time, it was about focusing on every ball. That is something that myself and Dean (Elgar) spoke about, focusing on the next ball, especially if there was something that happened in the wicket or a good ball was bowled. We came down the wicket and made sure that we focused on the next ball, that was the key to our partnership.’
Duminy says the team has yet to place a marker on a possible declaration target, and are rather focused on batting time with the lead currently at 388.
Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images