Faf du Plessis. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES
Faf du Plessis. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

SA suffered further ignominy after they lost the fourth Test and the series to England at the Wanderers on Monday. They became the first team to be docked World Test Championship points for their slow over rate in their 191-run defeat to England. They were also docked 60% of their match fee.

They were deemed to be three overs short of the threshold. They were always going to be susceptible to such a sanction having gone into the match with an all-seam attack. They did not bowl any spin against Joe Root’s team in the fourth Test and SA captain Faf du Plessis pleaded guilty to the charge.

SA are seventh out of nine teams on the rankings with 24 points.

Du Plessis may have another brush with authorities over the onfield antics that he and some England players had  engaged in on the fourth day of the Test. A throw from left-arm seamer Sam Curran hit Du Plessis in the 57th over and the SA captain then became involved in a heated exchange with Stuart Broad. While declaring his displeasure to Broad, Du Plessis brushed the shoulder of England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

On Tuesday Broad was fined 15% of his match fee for “use of an audible obscenity”. Broad had apparently called Du Plessis an idiot and the South African explained he does not like taking a step back.

“It’s part of my character,” said Du Plessis. “I am always involved in a little bit of something somewhere in the game — trying to show that fight as the leader of the team, that you don’t stand back. It’s not like I am looking for it. It just happens. He said something to me and I said something back.”

Du Plessis was out soon after when a Ben Stokes delivery stayed low and cannoned into his stumps. He was equally dismissive of the notion that the earlier incidents played a role in his dismissal.

Du Plessis is under huge pressure as Test captain after SA’s third successive Test series defeat. He has already been relieved of the ODI captaincy. His form has been lamentable:  his average in the series was 18.87 and his highest score 36.

He said the immediate aftermath of the Test series was emotional, and not the time to make big decisions. “It is time to get away from cricket and all the noise and freshen up,” said Du Plessis.