Faf du Plessis at the post match press conference during day 5 of the 3rd Test match between SA and England at St Georges Park on January 20 2020 in Port Elizabeth. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ ASHLEY VLOTMAN
Faf du Plessis at the post match press conference during day 5 of the 3rd Test match between SA and England at St Georges Park on January 20 2020 in Port Elizabeth. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ ASHLEY VLOTMAN

Port Elizabeth — Captain Faf du Plessis believes SA’s thinking was muddled when playing spin bowling in the third Test defeat against England at St George’s Park on Monday.

The visitors took an unassailable 2-1 series lead after an innings and 53-run thrashing of an ailing SA side. It was clear over five days that SA’s struggle with spin was not just isolated to their recent tour of India, where conditions favoured the home team.

Dom Bess and England captain Joe Root ran through the Proteas’ top order, claiming 10 wickets between them over two innings. And they did it with relative ease as well.

“I think we weren’t clear enough‚” Du Plessis said. “We didn’t expect the ball to spin as much and therefore we weren’t strong enough mentally to deal with him [Bess] on day one. For him to get five wickets so quickly was weak batting from our side.”

Du Plessis thought England also struggled with the turn. “I think it was the same for England. I mean Kesh [Maharaj] got five as well. Of course‚ Stokes played him well and probably Ollie Pope as well.”

The 34-year-old said the team needs more players to have better awareness when playing spin.

“I think the difference is the understanding of what you need to do to play spin. What we need to do better as a batting unit is to understand application at the crease in your first 30 or 40 balls.

“You need to make sure that you trust your defence. We are losing wickets in clusters and that’s always a big sin in any format that you play. You have to find a way that is your way and what works for you and your game plan.”

The fourth and final Test starts at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.