Faf du Plessis has played some memorable innings for the Proteas in Test cricket. The former skipper has often been the epitome of resilience at the wicket and has also been the man to press home dominance when required.
- 5. 112 not out vs New Zealand in Centurion, 2016
As the stand-in skipper of a side under pressure, Du Plessis would have been happy to come to the crease at 246 for three, but on a good batting surface at Supersport Park, the job was far from done.
What du Plessis oversaw in the second Test of New Zealand’s 2016 tour was something that the team have often struggled with. The skipper made sure South Africa converted a good start into a score big enough to keep the tourists under pressure.
A challenge of temperament more than technique, this innings established Du Plessis as captain and batting unit leader.
- 4. 62 vs India in Cape Town, 2018
Du Plessis also proved to be a man capable of dragging the team up by its bootstraps, and he may have felt he needed to in the first Test against India at Newlands in 2018.
He won the toss and elected to bat, only to find himself at the crease in just the fifth over of the match. The Proteas were 12 for three.
Du Plessis was convinced that batting first was the best option and despite the rocky start, his partnership with AB de Villiers would go a long way toward proving him right. As the only century partnership in the match, that stand and Du Plessis’ innings proved to be the difference between the two sides.
- 3. 134 vs India in Johannesburg, 2013
The Proteas may not have won the match in the end, but Du Plessis’ stoic resilience and later his counterattacking batting set up a thrilling finish to the Test.
India had set South Africa 457 to win – a target that would have been a world-record chase if achieved.
His 205-run partnership with de Villiers was a passing of the torch moment, and despite the match being drawn, it remains one of the finest Test match contests the Proteas have been involved in.
- 2. 80 vs Sri Lanka in Galle, 2014
Dale Steyn’s incredible demolition of Sri Lanka on a dry Galle pitch is what many remember this match for, but his heroics were set up by a big first-innings effort from the Proteas.
Du Plessis and Dean Elgar sapped the strength of the Sri Lanka bowlers with a partnership that started in the first session and stretched beyond tea on the first day.
His stubborn resistance played a part in ensuring there were nearly 300 runs on the board when Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy came together on day two. The Proteas went on to win the match and claim a famous victory in Sri Lanka.
- 1. 110 not out vs Australia in Adelaide, 2012
Any doubts about whether or not Du Plessis, originally picked as a white-ball player, was Test quality vanished with this knock.
A Michael Clarke double-ton had given Australia a dominant position, and at 45 for four in the fourth innings, the Proteas seemed to be on their way to a defeat which would have ruled out a second successive series win down under.
Enter the warrior Du Plessis, who was determined not to give his wicket away. Nearly eight hours later he achieved precisely that, having battled through cramp and a barrage of Australia’s finest sledging.
Photo: Gallo Images