Five-day fan Faf not wild about four-day Tests
The Proteas have scheduled a Boxing Day four-day Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth
With SA’s thumping 333-run victory over Bangladesh in the first Test having come inside two hours of the fifth day, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was not going to avoid the question about four-day cricket.
The Proteas have scheduled a Boxing Day four-day Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth and the move has sparked discussion over whether this format will ultimately replace the traditional five-day game.
Cricket SA are hopeful the International Cricket Council (ICC) will give the match against Zimbabwe official Test status.
Speaking after what he called "an all-round spotless performance" in which the Proteas bowled out Bangladesh for less than 100 runs in the second innings, Du Plessis gave his views on the issue.
"It’s a tricky one," he said.
"I am a fan of five-day cricket and I believe that some of the great Test matches have gone to the last over on day five, and that is so special.
"Four-day or first-class cricket does feel a little bit easier, while for five days you have to craft, bowlers have to bowl a lot more and batters have to construct much bigger innings. Once again this was proved in this match and I am fan of that."
Du Plessis was supported by teammate and Proteas opener Dean Elgar, who said five-day cricket was not something to be tinkered with because of its huge global following.
"I am a five-day Test specialist and it must stay that way. I don’t think we should tinker with something that is not broken because if you go and play around the world in places like Australia, England and here in SA against the relatively big nations, Test cricket is followed and you still get good crowds," said Elgar, who was named the man of the match.
"In my opinion, it should not be tinkered with too much. I don’t see why Test cricket must suffer. I am a purist when it comes to that and hopefully the game can have longevity."
Reflecting on the victory, Du Plessis said they dominated Bangladesh for the four days and two hours and he was happy with the performance of the ground staff in Potchefstroom.
"Conditions-wise, when you play countries like Bangladesh, it is important you make sure you give your team some advantage," he said.
"I felt there wasn’t much advantage for any team on this wicket and what was pleasing was that the groundsman said the wicket would not spin," Du Plessis said.
"So, for four days, the wicket did not spin, which was pleasing to see.
"We got that right and got what we were looking for.
"It was a little bit slow, and you can see that even their tailenders looked comfortable with the short ball.
"But our bowlers made the necessary changes and they adapted quickly and we put Bangladesh under pressure for five days."