Fin­ish it off at the Bull­ring

Amla’s 100th Test a mo­ti­va­tion for a se­ries 3-0 cel­e­bra­tion, says skip­per Faf

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS TEAMS

HASHIM Amla’s mile­stone has proved in­spi­ra­tional for his team­mates, the Kol­pak ex­its have been drain­ing but the play­ers re­main fully com­mit­ted to achiev­ing a 3-0 se­ries sweep when the fi­nal Sun­foil Test starts here this morn­ing.

It’s felt like a bit of a roller­coaster ride for the Proteas since they fin­ished off Sri Lanka and se­cured the se­ries early on the fourth day in Cape Town. A hel­luva lot has hap­pened in the week since and per­haps, in the cir­cum­stances, the ex­tended team meet­ing here on Tues­day was un­der­stand­able.

Faf du Plessis needed his play­ers to take stock, re­flect and then look for­ward with re­newed mo­ti­va­tion. Thus the call the past cou­ple of days has been to “fin­ish off the job” against Sri Lanka and as­sert their su­pe­ri­or­ity over the op­po­si­tion. “The fo­cus shifts to the fact that you play a lot of in­ter­na­tional cricket and there’s a lot of tough times and you don’t get your­self into op­por­tu­ni­ties like this of­ten,” Du Plessis said yes­ter­day.

“We must make sure we win the se­ries 3-0.”

If the Proteas do that, it will be only the fourth time that South Africa have swept a se­ries (of three or more matches). Most fa­mously it was achieved against Aus­tralia in 1970, then against the West Indies in 1998/99 and most re­cently against Pak­istan in 2012/13.

Du Plessis ac­knowl­edged that the string of tales con­cern­ing Kol­pak ex­its has been a ma­jor dis­trac­tion around the squad in the past few days. “The Aus­tralia se­ries is an ex­am­ple; once again we’ve played amaz­ing cricket, we’re 2-0 up, dom­i­nat­ing a team and there’s other stuff tak­ing the shine off the per­for­mances,” Du Plessis said ref­er­enc­ing the drama that sur­rounded him in the build-up to the fi­nal Test in Ade­laide when he faced a hear­ing about shin­ing the ball with a sweet in his mouth. “That is drain­ing. You don’t want that. We must fo­cus on this Test and see which guys will lead our at­tack for the next five years.”

In that re­gard Du Plessis ex­plained that he and coach Rus­sell Domingo faced an in­ter­est­ing chat about whether to keep the make-up of the South African at­tack the same – three seam­ers and a front-line spin­ner – or take an all-seam at­tack into the match on what is ex­pected to be a typ­i­cally fast and bouncy Wan­der­ers track.

“We’ll see what the weather looks like – there is rain fore­cast for the Test.”

That fourth seamer spot would mean a de­but cap for Duanne Olivier of the Knights, while Wayne Par­nell, who Du Plessis con­firmed will play, is likely to take the new ball. Olivier cer­tainly caught his skip­per’s eye at train­ing this week. “It’s the first time I’ve seen him bowl… there’s some­thing there, I re­ally like what I see. I also like a guy com­ing to the nets for the first time and pick­ing up an old ball and bowl­ing with it,” Du Plessis en­thused.

De­spite his side’s dom­i­nance, Du Plessis con­tin­ued to show the Sri Lankans re­spect, say­ing only that they had not ad­justed as well to con­di­tions as they’d have wanted to dur­ing the se­ries. It was a sen­ti­ment his op­po­site num­ber shared. “We haven’t played our best cricket in the first cou­ple of Tests and the boys know that,” said An­gelo Mathews. South Africa (from): Stephen Cook, Dean El­gar, Hashim Amla, JP Du­miny, Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quin­ton de Kock, Ver­non Phi­lan­der, Wayne Par­nell, Duanne Olivier, Ke­shav Ma­haraj, The­u­nis de Bruyn. Sri Lanka (from): Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Dhanan­jaya de Silva, An­gelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandi­mal, Upul Tha­ranga, Ran­gana Herath, Su­ranga Lak­mal, Lahiru Ku­mara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dush­man­tha Chameera, Vikum San­jaya, Dil­ruwan Per­era. Um­pires: Stand­ing – Rod Tucker (Aus), Bruce Ox­en­ford (NZ). TV – Aleem Dar Match Ref­eree: David Boon (Aus) Cov­er­age: TV – SS2 and SABC3 (from 9.30am) Ra­dio – Ra­dio 2000

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.