Faf du Plessis says the Proteas’ 3-1 Test series win against Australia was their best performance as a team.
On Tuesday, South Africa won by 492 runs at the Wanderers to clinch their first home series win against the Australians since 1970.
After losing by 118 runs in Durban, the Proteas picked themselves up to win by six wickets in Port Elizabeth and 322 runs in Cape Town, before landing the knockout blow in Johannesburg against a team missing their three best batsmen due to ball-tampering bans.
Du Plessis said his side was well aware of the chance to make history.
‘This means a lot to us, we did speak about it briefly this morning – that there is a wonderful opportunity for us to go down in the history books – but for me, this whole series is probably the best we have been through as a team,’ said Du Plessis.
‘We have been winning a lot of series but there were always little things we could improve. It was incredible the way we put it all together in this series, especially in this last match.
‘We are very proud to be the first team to do that [win a home series against Australia in 48 years]. Credit to everyone who played their part. Right through the series, guys put their hands up at different stages. It was a collective team effort.’
The team certainly did come together perfectly.
The younger players dominated the series, with Aiden Markram (480) finishing as top run-scorer and Kagiso Rabada (23) the top wicket-taker.
The senior players performed when the chips were down. AB de Villiers’ 126 not out turned the game in the Proteas’ favour in Port Elizabeth, and Morne Morkel bid farewell to the Newlands faithful with career-best match figures of 9-110. At the Wanderers, Du Plessis scored 120 to help the Proteas post a 611-run lead, before Vernon Philander took 6-21 on the fifth day to wrap things up. Dean Elgar was also superb, finishing with 333 runs in the series after performing an anchor role at the top of the order.
‘From an opening combination point of view, the guys got us off to a good start pretty much every game,’ said Du Plessis. ‘There were five hundreds in this series, which was incredible. As a batting unit, while I was quiet with the bat through most of the series, other guys chipped in with the runs, so we never felt under pressure.’
‘Our bowling unit was exceptional, taking 80 wickets. All of them were brilliant.’
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