Du Plessis set to take same team into third Test against India
SA captain Faf du Plessis has hinted they may not tinker too much with the team for the third and final dead rubber Test match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg next week as they look to complete a rare whitewash against top-ranked India.
The Proteas have won the series following victories in Cape Town and Pretoria, with players such as Temba Bavuma, Duanne Olivier, Chris Morris, Theunis de Bruyn and Andile Phehlukwayo yet to play.
Du Plessis said he would lean towards approaching the Wanderers match with a similar team of players because they were unlikely to have another chance of beating India 3-0 anytime soon.
"I ask myself the question of how often do you get the opportunity to beat teams 3-0 and it doesn’t come across a lot. So I would favour being ruthless and trying to dominate a team — we haven’t had that opportunity of beating India 3-0.
"I don’t think we will make changes just to give players the opportunity, although it is a good thing to do. For me, it is about putting the foot on the gas and making sure we apply as much pressure as we can with our strongest 11," he said.
SA’s performance was impressive, with all the players making solid contributions, which Du Plessis said was key.
"As a team we felt that India are reliant on Virat [Kohli] to score runs…. AB [de Villiers], Dean [Elgar], myself and Aiden [Markram] got the runs, our bowlers bowled good areas and were fantastic. Everyone contributed and the difference between us and them is that we don’t rely on just one guy."
Du Plessis said winning the series with a match to spare was outstanding because they had to grind to get the result.
"It is extremely special — the previous game in Newlands was almost like on fast forward and exciting, but this [Wednesday’s game] was the exact opposite. It was a game of a lot of grinding, a lot of hard work and a lot of pushing yourself for longer periods. I will take pleasure in winning games like these where the team put in a lot of fight to make sure we cross the line.
"Yes, the conditions were not in our favour or what we would have liked but we still needed to win. There was a time when India put us under pressure and every single time we responded. So it is truly special. We are 2-0 up in the series and there is a very, very happy dressing room," he said.
Debutant Lungi Ngidi impressed on Tuesday and Wednesday with six wickets, including India’s captain, Kohli.
"I was very impressed with his control, like the other bowlers," said Du Plessis. "It says a lot about his maturity — you see guys coming into the team and my job is to make sure they belong, because if you do that you get the best out of them.
"They must not see the occasion as being too big. There was never any stage where I looked at Lungi and sensed nerves. He was very calm — he just wanted to bowl and that bodes very well for his Test career going forward," the captain said.