South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said that their main goal is to reach the second place in the Test Rankings of the International Cricket Council by winning the Hamilton Test.
The Protease is currently taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series against New Zealand. The series decider will start at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday (25 March).
According to reports of CricBuzz, Du Plessis stated, “We started from seventh. That's why tomorrow is so important for me. Our goal was to get to No. 2 at the end. No. 1 was going to be a little bit steep because we knew India were so far ahead. So if we do that, it will be an incredible year. We have ticked every box, won every series we've played and I saw there will be a nice little bonus for second place as well, so that will be nice to get the guys going.”
The Protease skipper said that his side is mentally a very resilient as South Africa hadn't lost a single Test series away from home for nine years except in 2015 in India, where they had suffered a 3-0 series loss.
He said, “I don't think people appreciate and understand exactly how well the South African team before me and the guys that are playing now - the record has been exceptional. That India series was the one series we were outplayed and we were not good enough to compete with India, but apart from that, we've been really good. Mentally we are a very resilient team.”
Du Plessis further added, “We know whatever the situation on the day, you have to find a way and try and make sure you deliver. You can never use an excuse. Whether it is green or spinning, you just have to get on and do the job. Our mental toughness has helped us.”
There are many people, who raised their eyebrows with the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson after New Zealand's horrifying defeat in the second match against South Africa. But Du Plessis is standing with Williamson and said that he has done a good job as the captain of the side.
The Protease skipper stated about Kane, “It's unfair. He has done really well. He is a fantastic player. I read a lot of times that he is the best No. 3 in the world. It comes with not winning. It's part of our job as captains. Sometimes you feel it’s not deserved. Kane has done a good job. The New Zealand Test team has done some really good things over the last while. We've had a good series against them.”
As we all know that the New Zealand track is always favoured to pace bowlers despite this the spinners have made a significant impact in the ongoing SA-NZ Test series.favored to pace bowlers despite this the spinners have made a significant impact in the ongoing SA-NZ Test series.
The skipper noted that initially South Africa had banked on the seamers and had picked just one spinner for the tour and incidentally, the Protease has added off-spinner Dane Piedt to the squad for the final Test against New Zealand. Du Plessis added, “We had only brought one spinner with [us] and we brought a truckload of seamers. We had six in our squad, expecting seam and swing conditions. Even though the wickets have looked like they may favour the seamers, but somehow the spinners have been the key players. (We) definitely not expected it."
The final Test between New Zealand and South Africa will be played at Seddon Park in Hamilton and that pitch has been known for providing some assistance for the spinners. Du Plessis said about the Hamilton track, “We expect it to turn. It looks like there's greener grass, but you might get a sticky turn where the ball just grips with the moisture of the wicket. And then we know the wicket might change colour and go back to that brown tinge and will spin.”
The Protease captain said about his batting unit, “The standards we set for ourselves as a batting unit are extremely high and we haven't delivered on that. Once again, like in every series, every time there has been a saviour in the batting line-up. As a unit, in every series, there have been one or two guys who put their hand up and that's been great.”
Du Plessis concluded, “However, if we don't have that guy who saves us on the day, there would have been a few times, we would have been rolled out cheaply. That's a concern. It's not good enough. We want more consistency.”