Faf du Plessis produced a captain’s knock of 111 to inspire his side to a massive 361-6 in the second ODI against Australia at the Wanderers.
Australia’s inexperienced bowling line-up was exposed once again to a fluent and expressive Proteas top-order that seem to be coping fine without the services of injured skipper AB de Villiers.
They’re also coping well without Hashim Amla, who was ruled out of the first ODI with illness, but was strangely left out of the side again despite being fit. At the toss, which Steve Smith won and asked Du Plessis to bat first, Du Plessis revealed that the selectors had opted to leave a fit Amla out of the starting XI, and instead go for the continuity of their six-wicket win against Australia in the first ODI at Centurion on Friday.
Pundits, especially Kepler Wessels, were puzzled by the decision to leave him out, but Rilee Rossouw proved a worthy deputy yet again, and it will now be difficult to leave him out of the side for the remainder of the series. He unsettled debutants Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie from the get-go with a flurry of boundaries. Him and Quinton de Kock raced to a 70-run stand, but instead of De Kock dominating proceedings, which he did with his record-breaking 178 on Friday, it was Rossouw to score the majority of the runs.
De Kocked toed one to be caught for 22, but Rossouw pushed on to bring up his seventh half-century. There was a scare for skipper Faf when a shy at the stumps from Aaron Finch struck Du Plessis on the thumb, causing a lengthy delay. Du Plessis brushed himself off and that just seemed to galvanise him into action, as he scored a fifty off just 42 balls, just before Rossouw lost his wicket for 75.
Then came the fireworks, thanks to a massive 150-run partnership between Du Plessis and JP Duminy. Duminy looked in excellent touch, and the fact that the first six of the match only came in the 41st over just went to show the quality of the ground strokes between the pair. Duminy’s half-century came off 44 balls, and in the next over, Faf scored his century off just 84 balls. It was his sixth ODI century, and third against Australia.
The pair started to open their shoulders as 400 looked a possibility, but they lost their wickets in quick succession to fall for 82 and 111 respectively. A bit of a slog followed from David Miller (26) and Farhaan Behardien (13), but the ten runs an over they were looking for didn’t materialise, as they settled for 361-6.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images