Happy hunting ground
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.