Du Plessis makes first innings score a priority
SA fail to knock up more than 300 runs in an innings as their batsmen struggle to put together partnerships
Captain Faf du Plessis wants the Proteas to post a good first innings score to put them in a position to beat England in the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers on Friday.
SA go into the match trailing 2-1, and a series defeat would be costly as they would drop Test Championship points and attract heavy criticism from the public.
Over the three matches at SuperSport Park‚ Newlands and St George’s Park‚ SA have failed to score more than 300 runs in an innings as their batsmen struggled to put together partnerships.
“The challenge for us as a team is how strong we are‚” he said. “We know we haven’t scored enough first innings runs and that is the basic of Test cricket.
“If you look at England as a blueprint‚ they have constructed the first innings with the top three making sure they set up the innings for the rest of the guys.
“That is something we have spoken about and as a unit we want to make sure we are stronger in building partnerships.
“We also have to make decisions on game plans and there is not enough time to change techniques and stuff like that after a quick turnaround,” Du Plessis said.
“The secret weapon in this type of situation is to try to make sure that you are strong emotionally and mentally to overturn what was an average performance in Port Elizabeth.”
Du Plessis added that despite the quick turnaround from the last Test‚ they have prepared well and worked hard to avoid defeat as it would have a negative effect on the side’s Test Championship standings.
“You get confidence from prepping well in the nets and doing the right things‚” he said. “We have trained well and we are learning.
“You are speaking of a batting line-up that is extremely young and you throw in some of us with experience and we have not scored the runs as we should.
“What happens usually in a batting line-up is that you have the top three guys who are bankers and consistently pump up the runs all the time,” the Proteas captain said.
“And then you have the young guy who comes into the team and floats under the radar to find his feet.
“Unfortunately, we have not scored a lot of runs and we are guilty of that as senior players.
“We need to put runs on the board ... England are a good example of that.”
Du Plessis also confirmed that Temba Bavuma will play in place of Zubayr Hamza in the final Test.
Rassie van der Dussen will bat at No 3 but a decision has not been taken on who will replace the suspended Kagiso Rabada.
“Rassie [Van der Dussen] will go down to three‚ that is what we have decided‚” he said.
“On the bowling front‚ if Beuran [Hendricks] becomes a selection possibility‚ that is the discussion that needs to take place.
“We feel that we need to strengthen the bowling unit a little because of the loss of KG [Rabada] — or do we need an all-rounder?”