Faf: It felt like we were playing an away game

English fans at Newlands (Lloyd Burnard)
English fans at Newlands (Lloyd Burnard)

Cape Town - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis says it felt like his side was playing an away game in the second Test against England at Newlands.

The dramatic contest was settled deep into the final session of day five on Tuesday when a Ben Stokes-inspired England knocked off the South African lower order to claim a 189-run win and level the four-match series 1-1. 

While the crowd numbers were impressive throughout the match, there could be no denying that most of the spectators were English and the celebrations that followed the win confirmed as much. 

The famed Barmy Army were vocal all Test while English flags were draped around the stadium. 

Du Plessis had joked in the build-up to the game, referring to Newlands as the 'Home of Cricket', but he confirmed after the match that playing in front of so much passionate English support had been a strange feeling. 

"It wasn't disappointing, but it was incredible to see the support for the English fans," Du Plessis said.

"You could see towards the end of the day how much that helped them. It did feel like we played in England ... that's how it felt.

"You have to take your hats off to the crowd. They've obviously got a bit of energy from a few beers to keep them going, but to do it for so long is incredible.

"You would have heard people saying a few times that it's like a 12th man when a crowd is like that and today was no different.

"It carried them through a hot day when it was tough in the field and you could see the energy that they were taking from the crowd. No doubt it helped them quite a bit."

With Monday and Tuesday being the first days back at work after the festive season for many South Africans, the English support contributed almost solely to the crowd numbers on days four and five. 

"They love coming to Cape Town. It's one of the best tourist places in the world, so you don't blame them," Du Plessis added.

"On top of that, you get to watch at one of the best grounds in the world as well.

"Next time, hopefully we can put a block on the amount of tickets we give away."

The series will now move to Port Elizabeth where the third Test starts on January 16.


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