Chris Morris credited Faf du Plessis with the Proteas’ turnaround as they take a 205-run lead over England into day three.
South Africa suffered a heavy 211-run defeat at Lord’s in Du Plessis’ absence after the birth of his first child. Morris says his return and his ability to lead by example has spurred the visitors on to an improved performance in the second Test.
‘It’s quite easy for everyone to say how good Faf is,’ Morris told the media at stumps on day two.
‘It’s just his character. He lives for playing for the Proteas and is what a Protea should be. He lives for the team and he leads by example.
‘He puts his body on the line and he doesn’t mind batting for three days to save a Test. When a guy leads from the front, a lot of guys will follow.’
Morris remarked that it was Du Plessis’ aggressive mindset that spurred him on to figures of 3-38, which included a double-wicket maiden.
‘The message was clear from Faf, “be aggressive and bowl fast.” For me that cleared any doubt on what I needed to do,’ added Morris.
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Morris further said that the clarity of Du Plessis’ communication allows the team to respond to what he’d like to happen.
‘Faf is solid and quite clear with his plans and speaks a very good language with the team. He’s an excellent leader,’ he said.
There is still life in the pitch after two days and Morris reckons that even a target as low as 200 could maybe be defended.
‘The wicket is playing a little bit. It’s got a bit of juice in it. Whatever overhead conditions are… 200 could be enough on the right day,’ he said.
The all-rounder said that Du Plessis would have the final word when the visitors had amassed enough runs.
‘Obviously we’ll try and bat as long as we can, and whatever decision Faf takes that we think will be possible to defend,’ he continued
‘That number, I don’t know. It’s my third Test. I just do the job and let the captain make the decision,’ concluded Morris
The Proteas will begin day three in the ascendancy on 75-1.
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