South African batsman Faf du Plessis is looking forward to resuming hostilities with Australia, when the highly-anticipated five-ODI series starts in Perth on Friday.
The Southern Hemisphere’s arch rivals clashed during the limited-overs triangular series in Harare in September, when Du Plessis secured a remarkable stretch of form, which witnessed two centuries against the Australians – and a third against Zimbabwe.
Du Plessis almost secured a fourth in the tournament final, but was dismissed by fast bowler Mitchell Johnson for 96 shortly before captain AB de Villiers struck the winning runs.
‘That’s the great thing about playing Australia. We play a very similar style of cricket on the field. We are competitive. We like to get into each other’s faces,’ said Du Plessis.
‘We have a great relationship. After the series in Zimbabwe, after we beat them in the final, we sat after and had a beer together. There was a lot of respect between the two teams. It’s just competitive, we want to do anything to win the game and they are the same.
‘Australia will always play aggressively and be very competitive but we don’t spend any time talking about who is a target or who we don’t like or anything like that. It’s just a case of knowing we are playing against Australia and they are a really good team.’
Johnson, meanwhile, is eager to succeed during an intriguing head-to-head battle with fellow speedster Dale Steyn. Placed third and fifth respectively in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI bowlers, Steyn and Johnson will enjoy plenty of pace, bounce and carry at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, which will host the opening two fixtures of the series.
‘Both of us can bowl in the high 140 kilometres per hour and it’s very exciting. Dale is a world-class bowler and he has been the number one bowler in the world for a long time. He is a guy that should do really well in these conditions. They’re very similar to back home for him. I’m looking forward to the contest and I’m sure he is looking forward to getting out there on these wickets,’ added Johnson.