Cricket: it all falls into place for Faf’s ‘A’ team

2012-07-04 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s “A” side wrapped up the first unofficial Test match against Sri Lanka “A” with a day to spare and yesterday relaxed by playing soccer with a lot of banter.

After their emphatic innings and eight-run win, the fourth day of the clash wasn’t needed. All fell into place for skipper Faf du Plessis and his team, from calling correctly at the toss on Saturday morning to his bowlers doing the job twice on a rewarding pitch.

He contributed 144 which, with Dean Elgar’s 171, set up enough runs to avoid batting a second time.

At the conclusion of proceedings Du Plessis was more than satisfied, while not allowing the performance to dampen his team’s enthusiasm for the second unofficial Test, another four-day clash starting on Friday back at Kingsmead.

Said Du Plessis: “While a low-key match watched by an empty stadium, it was a useful game. We had players from all franchises playing together, gelling as a team, contributing in all departments and giving nothing less than 100% in a polished performance.

“In practice we worked hard in the nets — the bowlers in particular bending their backs in building up pace and accuracy. They were rewarded with great figures.”

Du Plessis was circumspect about his own performance, happy to spend time in the middle and adapt to a four-day game, building a big innings.

“We spoke on the top five batsmen going big and setting up a big total. Dean and I stood up, pushing on to big hundreds and getting important time in the middle.

“For me it was a chance to show I can get big scores in all formats of the game, and spending more than five hours at the crease tuned me in to the type of cricket I can play after all the shorter versions of the game I have played,” he said.

Du Plessis was full of praise for the wicket, saying there was something in it for the bowlers, it was great to bat on and it offered some turn, especially for Imran Tahir.

“I never gave Imran a bowl in the first innings as we bowled the Sri Lankans out in only 41 overs,” the skipper said.

“He is an attacking spinner, always trying to get wickets rather than contain batsmen and his 3/82 was a steady return.”

Tahir will be missing from the team on Friday, and Justin Ontong will join while it’s expected that Warriors off-break bowler, Simon Harmer, will be stepping into the spinner’s role.

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