Du Plessis urges SA to fol­low El­gar lead

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER: South Africa cap­tain Faf du Plessis wants his bats­men to raise their game as they look to fin­ish their lengthy tour of Eng­land with a flour­ish in the Fourth Test at Old Traf­ford.

The Proteas head into the match with only a share of the spoils avail­able to them af­ter a thump­ing 239-run de­feat in the Third Test at The Oval left then 2-1 down with just one to play.

A tour that started back in midMay has al­ready seen South Africa lose one-day in­ter­na­tional and Twenty20 se­ries to Eng­land, with the Proteas suf­fer­ing a dis­ap­point­ing first-round exit in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy as well dur­ing their time in Eng­land.

But vic­tory at Old Traf­ford would at least en­sure South Africa main­tain a proud away Test record.

In their past 19 se­ries they’ve won 13, drawn five and lost just one — in In­dia in 2015/16.

But if they are to tri­umph at Old Traf­ford — a ground where their lone Test win in eight vis­its came back in 1955 — they will surely need an im­proved show­ing from their top or­der.

For all that South Africa were hand­i­capped at The Oval by the stom­ach ill­ness suf­fered by key seamer Ver­non Phi­lan­der, be­ing bowled out for just 175 in their first in­nings put them at a dis­ad­van­tage they were never able to over­come in the rest of the match.

They did make a bet­ter show­ing in the sec­ond in­nings, with opener Dean El­gar mak­ing their first hun­dred of the se­ries in a to­tal of 252.

Eng­land still won by 239 runs but du Plessis be­lieves left-handed opener El­gar’s in­nings has set a timely ex­am­ple.

“Hope­fully the bat­ters can re­spond well be­cause he showed us how you need to bat in Test match cricket,” he said.

“We will try to make sure that we can do ex­actly what he did in the last Test,” added du Plessis.

South Africa will look to Hashim Amla for a big con­tri­bu­tion af­ter the star bats­man twice fell cheaply to Eng­land debu­tant seamer Toby RolandJones in south London.

Eng­land off-spin­ner Moeen Ali ended that match in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion with the first hat-trick in The Oval’s 100-Test his­tory.

Yet with Ali, a front­line county bats­man, com­ing in at No 8, Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss is still not sure his side have got the bal­ance right.

Ben Stokes made a valu­able cen­tury in the mid­dle or­der at The Oval and Bayliss, with an Ashes tour on the hori­zon, said: “I’m still of the view we don’t need more than seven bat­ters.”

But quite how the Aus­tralian re­moves a ‘spare’ bats­man from his XI at Old Traf­ford is an in­trigu­ing ques­tion.

South Africa-born Keaton Jen­nings has been strug­gling but Eng­land have no other spe­cial­ist opener in their squad to part­ner Alas­tair Cook.

Tom West­ley made a fifty on de­but at The Oval in at No 3, so it would be sur­pris­ing if he was pro­moted to open along­side Es­sex team-mate Cook.

Liam Daw­son re­mains in the squad af­ter fea­tur­ing in the first two Tests, but quite how Eng­land re­call the Hamp­shire left-arm spin­ner, un­less they think the Old Traf­ford pitch will take sharp turn, is hard to see.

Since 2000, Eng­land have won eight and lost just one of 12 Tests at Old Traf­ford.

One en­cour­ag­ing fac­tor for South Africa has been the see­saw na­ture of this se­ries, with Eng­land win­ning the First Test at Lord’s by 211 runs, only for the Proteas to hit back with a 340run suc­cess at Trent Bridge be­fore an­other lop­sided en­counter at The Oval.

“We’ve not done things by halves so far in this se­ries,” said Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root.

“It’s just im­por­tant that we take (with us) the way we’ve played (at The Oval) — es­pe­cially the way we bat­ted, which I thought was ex­cep­tional.” AFP

South Africa’s Dean El­gar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.