When Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis strode to the wicket early yesterday morning South African time, the Aussie boo boys stiek’d uit big time.
It was not a good advertisement of the gentleman’s game and probably something that is more at home at Newlands Rugby Stadium whenever opposition kickers line up for a shot at goal.
But the brekgat Aussies felt they had every right to make Du Plessis feel like he doesn’t belong at the Adelaide Oval after the Proteas captain was found guilty of ball tampering in the second Test, but escaped only with a fine.
On top of this, the Aussies had something to cheer about as South Africa were reeling at 44/3 on Day One of the Third Test after Dean Elgar (5), Hashim Amla (5) and JP Duminy (5) all went out cheaply in their first day/ night Test with a pink ball.
Someone had to klap the Aussies se bekke stil and it was the skipper himself.
Du Plessis remained calm throughout his innings to score 17 fours for a true captain’s knock of 118 not out.
Around him, the South Africans failed to get on top of the pink ball as most of the batsmen lost their wickets caught behind.
Opener Stephen Cook, who benefitted from an early lifeline, scored 40, while standout batsman on tour Quinton de Kock couldn’t live up to his pre-match billing as the one to watch, scoring 24 – the third highest total in the South African’s innings.
Du Plessis eventually declared with the Proteas’ score on 259/9, with debutant Tabraiz Shamsi (18 not out) at the other end.
It was a clever bit of captaincy from Du Plessis as Aussie opener David Warner was off the field for a while and couldn’t then open to the innings for Australia, according to the game’s rules.
His bowlers, though, didn’t quite give Faf what he wanted as the Aussie batsmen weren’t made to play enough at the start of their innings.
When stumps were called in South Africa’s first day/night Test, the Aussies were on 14/0 with Usman Khawaja (3*) and Matt Renshaw (8*) at the crease.