Faf du Plessis burst on to the Test scene with an extraordinary innings in Adelaide back in 2012. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at the numbers behind his brilliant Test career.
A young Du Plessis announced himself on the international stage with a game-saving innings against the Australians that would become a hallmark of the way he plays the game.
The right-hander struck an unbeaten 110 that day in his first of 10 Test centuries across his nine-year red-ball career.
During that time, Du Plessis would go on to represent the Proteas on 69 occasions in the longer format, while captaining the team for a long time.
He would also add nine more centuries to his name with a number of innings of high significance and class.
One such knock was against India in Johannesburg in 2013 when the Proteas again had to fight it out on the final day of the Test. Du Plessis’ innings almost presented the home side with the opportunity to pull off a miracle victory as he made 134 to save the Test.
Another was the one at the new Adelaide Oval in 2016 when he was found guilty of using saliva to influence the condition of the ball in the previous Test against the Australians. Du Plessis was seen as the villain, despite maintaining his innocence, and silenced the Aussie crowd with a century that was largely met with boos.
Du Plessis’ most unfortunate moment, however, probably came when he was dismissed on 199 against Sri Lanka in the recent Test series. What would have been his maiden Test double ton was cut short after being caught at mid-on.
In his 118 innings, Du Plessis accumulated a total of 4,163 Test runs at an average 40.03. Those 10 centuries were backed up by 21 important half-centuries, while on 14 occasions he finished an innings not out. He was, however, dismissed for nine ducks with one pair on his record.
Du Plessis ends his Test career as the third-longest serving Test captain of South African cricket. Only Graeme Smith and Hansie Cronje led the team in more matches. Du Plessis skippered the team on 36 occasions from 2016 to 2020, winning 18 of those encounters and losing 15.
In what has been a testing period for South African cricket, Du Plessis was the backbone of a new generation of players, who all looked up to him with great admiration.