Faf out to make some more good Ade­laide mem­o­ries

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS CRICKET WRITER

FAF DU PLESSIS and the Ade­laide Oval – it’s a rich his­tory, colour­ful and con­tro­ver­sial, that started with him nearly fall­ing flat on his face.

“I love com­ing to Ade­laide it’s one of my favourite grounds, I’ve got some ex­tremely good mem­o­ries here,” Du Plessis said ahead of to­day’s sec­ond One-Day In­ter­na­tional be­tween South Africa and Aus­tralia.

“This and New­lands are my two favourite grounds,” he added.

For Du Plessis it’s a spe­cial venue where some ca­reer high­lights were achieved. It started with his Test de­but there in 2012, which fea­tured the em­bar­rass­ing episode of him stum­bling down the stairs of the Brad­man Pavil­ion as he made his way out to bat.

“My foot al­most came out of my shoe, I was try­ing to get the shoe back on and al­most kneel­ing in front of the crowd who started giv­ing me a good few sen­tences,” Du Plessis re­called. “I re­mem­ber telling my­self, ‘well it can’t get much worse’.”

He went onto score 78 in his first Test in­nings, and fol­lowed that up with a more mem­o­rable un­beaten 110 in the sec­ond in­nings, in which he had to put up with some choice words from the Aus­tralian play­ers as he spent over seven hours at the crease to save that match.

South Africa would go on to win the series, with a mas­sive vic­tory in the third and fi­nal Test the fol­low­ing week.

Four years later, the third and fi­nal Test be­tween the two teams was no less mem­o­rable. South Africa had al­ready won the series, but Du Plessis and his team ar­rived amidst a brouhaha over a mint, saliva, a cricket ball and video show­ing Du Plessis shin­ing the ball which went vi­ral: “My char­ac­ter was tested through that week.” The cap­tain, hav­ing been greeted by a ca­coph­ony of boos as he walked to the crease, went on to make what the cricket fra­ter­nity de­scribed as one of the great “f&*# you” hun­dreds of all time.

This time there is less at­ten­tion on Du Plessis and more on Aus­tralian cricket, which this week has seen more res­ig­na­tions at board level in the af­ter­math of var­i­ous re­ports on a bad cul­ture.

“The last few series against Aus­tralia I’ve felt there’s been more to it than just cricket and then as a team you have to make the shift and make the fo­cus about cricket,” Du Plessis added.

Which is ex­actly what Du Plessis will hope hap­pens to­day. A win gives SA the series, and will make for an­other happy me­mory for Du Plessis at the Ade­laide Oval.

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