Faf du Plessis says he has learnt his lesson and has not asked the groundsmen for specific wickets for the Australia Test series.
For the final Test at the Wanderers against India, the groundsmen’s attempt to prepare a pacey wicket backfired. As a result, the Proteas suffered a 63-run defeat and the strip was labelled as poor by the ICC.
The focus this time around has been on both side’s pace attacks. The conditions in South Africa are very similar to what the visitors are used to. Both sides are expected to cancel each other out where pacemen are concerned, leaving it up to the batters to have the final say.
Du Plessis confirmed that he refrained from asking the groundsmen for specific wickets.
‘I learnt my lesson from that [asking for specific pitches],’ said Du Plessis. ‘Australia and South Africa are two similar teams. We play in the same conditions. There’s nothing different that we are expecting.
‘Obviously, when you playing against a sub-continent team, you try to get an advantage somehow, but these two teams are very similar. We both will play on what we get. We’ve not asked for anything specific.
‘The Durban wicket over the last few years has definitely slowed down a bit. That’s the nature of the square. I expect it to be quite slow. It might take a bit of turn. If anything a little tennis-ball bounce.’
Steve Smith agreed with his opposite number.
‘I think it will be quite slow. It might take a bit of spin as the game goes on. I’m pretty ordinary at picking up what the wicket is going to do. Whatever it does it is about us summing it up when we get out there. The cards will be dealt out there.’
Smith unusually announced his first XI on Wednesday – an unchanged side from their last Ashes win will be selected for the first Test. This will include three seamers, a spinner and an all-rounder.
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Du Plessis, on the other hand, held his cards close to his chest.
‘Temba Bavuma hasn’t recovered fully from his hand injury. So that’s the one thing I can tell. We still pondering whether we going to play seven batsmen or six batsmen and four seamers.’
The first Test starts at 10:00 on Thursday.
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