For a captain who had just seen his team beaten by 203 runs in the first of three Test matches against India, Faf du Plessis was unexpectedly upbeat afterwards, but it was not a public relations exercise — or an exercise of any sort. He is upbeat, and, yes, there were reasons to be.

The SA captain is a lot closer to the action than anyone else, on the field and around the squad, and if he believes there is cause for optimism he should be taken at his word. He is, after all, a terrible liar...

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