Faf du Plessis says a team effort is required for the Proteas to claim victory over England in the third Test at The Oval.
It was a collective contribution from the bowlers and batsmen that allowed the Proteas to complete a 340-run crushing of England at Trent Bridge in the second Test. Valuable half-centuries from the likes of Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla in the first innings set the tone for the Proteas in the match.
In the second innings it was the turn of Dean Elgar and Du Plessis himself to deliver the runs that left the hosts needing to bat out two days to save the Test. The bowlers shared the workload throughout the match to dismiss England for scores of 205 and 133 respectively en route to a series-levelling win.
Du Plessis believes it is this consistency of the team as a whole which has served the Proteas well in the recent past.
‘I see that as our team strength. Our focus is on every guy in the team playing a small role to get us over the line. We have never wanted to rely on big names,’ he said.
‘You get players who are consistent and put in big performances, but if you look at our last year-and-a-half of Test cricket, there have been unsung heroes who have stepped up and made plays for the team and contributed.’
The right-hander reckons that if the Proteas are to continue the momentum built up from the second Test, it is important that the players maintain the same level of intensity and focus.
‘It has been the normal focus of making sure players don’t go into comfort zones. You can’t rock up and expect a Test match victory.
‘It has been about challenging the players about that this week. We have had two practices, we have done our work, and we have to make sure that tomorrow we don’t fall into the trap of comfort zones.’
Despite the absence of centuries from the Proteas batsmen after the first two Tests, Du Plessis feels that the team must not grow impatient and ‘force the issue’.
‘I’m not concerned. For me, it is a case of trusting and backing yourself. If you keep talking too much about it, it can derail you from keeping things simple.
‘We know as a batting unit that we need to do it, so if someone gets an opportunity so score runs, they need to be hungry, that is all I ask for. If you are hungry to make big plays for the team then the hundreds will come.’
The Proteas will be seeking only their second win at The Oval at the 15th time of asking.