De­fi­ant Du Plessis

> Skip­per rates ton his best <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

FAF DU PLESSIS, mo­ti­vated by the events of his con­tro­ver­sial ball­tam­per­ing case, ranked his un­beaten cen­tury in South Africa’s pink-ball Test with Aus­tralia yes­ter­day as the best of his ca­reer.

The Proteas skip­per hit an un­beaten 118 and then caught the Aus­tralians off-guard with a sur­prise dec­la­ra­tion at 259 for nine to have the tourists in a good po­si­tion at the end of the open­ing day of the third Ade­laide Test.

Aus­tralia, who were un­able to use David Warner to open the in­nings over the time he sought off-field treat­ment, got to stumps at 14 with­out loss.

It had been a tu­mul­tuous few days for du Plessis, who was found guilty of ball-tam­per­ing by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil af­ter he was caught on cam­era suck­ing a mint and rub­bing saliva into the ball dur­ing last week’s sec­ond Test against Aus­tralia in Ho­bart.

Given all the drama from his much-pub­li­cised ap­pear­ance at the hear­ing it was a re­mark­able ef­fort of con­cen­tra­tion and will for du Plessis to con­quer the Aus­tralian bowlers and post his sixth Test cen­tury, one he rates as his best.

“My best. Ev­ery­thing. What was re­quired to get to this point now. Sur­pris­ingly, tech­ni­cally, I was the best this whole se­ries. I felt re­ally good, but in the con­text of ev­ery­thing else, (it was) the best,” he told re­porters.

But du Plessis, who was booed by the home crowd as he came out to bat with his team wob­bling at 44 for three, was dis­mayed by yet more boo­ing when he reached his coura­geous cen­tury off 147 balls.

“I was ex­pect­ing a lit­tle bit of hos­til­ity, but not to that ex­tent,” he ad­mit­ted.

“To be re­ally hon­est when I got to 100 I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to still get booed, so that was pretty dis­ap­point­ing.”

Du Plessis also re­vealed how he had caught the Aus­tralians nap­ping with his dar­ing dec­la­ra­tion late in the day, leav­ing the home side to ne­go­ti­ate the re­main­ing 12 overs with­out their most ex­pe­ri­enced player Warner.

Warner had just re­turned to the field af­ter seek­ing treat­ment off the field on an in­jured shoul­der.

Un­der cricket’s rules, a player must be on the field for the same time they spent off it be­fore be­ing able to bowl or bat again - in Warner’s case, he was caught short.

Du Plessis showed his cap­taincy smarts by up­set­ting the Aus­tralian team’s plans as they had to reshuf­fle their open­ing pair with Us­man Khawaja hav­ing to join Test debu­tant Matt Ren­shaw at a test­ing pe­riod to stumps. – AFP

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