Happy hunt­ing ground

CRICKET

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT -

The last time Faf du Plessis was in Ade­laide, he was pub­lic en­emy No.1.

The first time he was in Ade­laide, he al­most bum­bled his Test ca­reer be­fore it be­gan.

This time he’s in Ade­laide, du Plessis says it feels much more re­laxed than two years ago when he ar­rived in the midst of a ball­tam­per­ing furore.

In Novem­ber 2016, the South African cap­tain lobbed in the South Aus­tralian cap­i­tal af­ter tele­vi­sion cam­eras cap­tured him ap­ply­ing saliva to a ball with a mint in his mouth dur­ing the pre­vi­ous Test match in Ho­bart.

His ev­ery move was tracked be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter he was found guilty of ball- tam­per­ing by the ICC.

“It was a lot dif­fer­ent to this. A few more cam­eras around,” du Plessis said yes­ter­day.

Du Plessis was fined his match fee but al­lowed to play in the Ade­laide Test — he ig­nored jeers from the crowd and made 118 not out, a knock he trea­sures.

“There was a lot of build-up to­wards that Test match with the mint-gate,” he said.

“There was a lot of eyes on me . . . it was more (my) char­ac­ter that was tested through that week. Just get­ting through that per­son­ally was great for me.”

Four years be­fore “mint-gate”, in Novem­ber 2012, du Plessis made his Test de­but in Ade­laide. He was com­ing down the grand­stand stairs to bat for the first time in a Test when a shoe came off.

Du Plessis knelt amid the Ade­laide crowd, cop­ping abuse, while strug­gling to get his shoe back on and fear­ing be­ing timed out. “I got a few good sen­tences,” he said. He made 78 and 110 on de­but. Du Plessis av­er­ages 159 in Tests at Ade­laide, where he plays his first one-day in­ter­na­tional on Fri­day.

“I love com­ing to Ade­laide, this ground is prob­a­bly my favourite in the world when it comes to play­ing cricket,” he said.

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