Faf du Plessis bemoaned the Proteas’ consistency in their 239-run defeat to England but backed his charges to bounce back in time for the final Test.
The Proteas struggled to find the right lines and lengths for much of the first innings which allowed the hosts to post 353, a score that Du Plessis believes was somewhat inflated.
The Proteas sorely missed a fully-fit Vernon Philander as he battled a stomach bug for much of the Test match which saw him spend lengthy periods off the field and only bowl 17 overs in the first innings. Philander is renowned for being able to hit the same areas consistently and ask probing questions of the batsmen.
‘I think it’s very obvious to say that someone like Vern [Philander] missing out on that first innings for us was a huge moment in the game. The conditions at that time needed someone like him who is an expert in making sure that he can challenge the batsmen,’ Du Plessis told Skysports’ Michael Atherton.
‘He is the guy that consistently lands the ball in good areas and we really missed him in that first innings because we didn’t have that consistency in making sure that we put a bit more pressure on the English batting lineup.
‘So I think 350 in that first innings for me was 100 runs too many but you have to also give credit to the way the English team played.’
Du Plessis heaped praise on opener Dean Elgar who kept his sides hopes of a draw alive throughout his second innings knock of 136, saying that the rest of the batting lineup could take a leaf out of the right-hander’s book.
‘It’s about the basics of bowling and putting pressure on the batters and with the bat luckily Dean’s knock here in the last innings was an amazing knock and something our batters can look towards to make sure we get out there and fight.
‘Dean showed us exactly what is needed. Application, a bit of resilience and a bit of fight so yes we can take a lot of learning from Dean.’
The seesaw nature of the series in which England have completed emphatic victories by 211 and 239 runs either side of a 340-run Proteas win gives the skipper hope that his side can bounce back to claim a win in the final Test that would secure a drawn series.
‘It’s been a very strange series. It’s been extreme from one to another so hopefully that will be the case in the last Test. The mistakes that we made in this Test match is a very obvious thing so we don’t have to go and scratch our heads about what to do.’
The final Test begins at Old Trafford on Friday.
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