Faf du Plessis in numbers: Defiant start, but tame finish

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Faf du Plessis Test century
Faf du Plessis Test century
  • Faf du Plessis, who announced his retirement from Test cricket on Wednesday, started well but plateaued significantly over the course of his career.
  • Over the course of his 69-match career, he averaged just over 40.
  • He won 18 of the 36 matches he played as captain.

Faf du Plessis' Test career didn’t end in the blaze of glory and defiance that it started with in Adelaide in 2012.

That’s how the Test cricket cookie crumbles, but Du Plessis, who announced his retirement from Test cricket on Wednesday morning had numbers that suggested that he was a quality Test batsman.

That he was a prized wicket, regardless of his moderate talents as compared to some of his illustrious teammates, was never in doubt.

Here are some of his numbers:

199 - His highest Test score made against Sri Lanka and the last of his 10 Test tons. He has finished his career as one of only three batsmen with a Test best of 199. Mohammad Azharuddin from India and Australia’s Matthew Elliot are the others who missed out of that single for the 200. India’s KL Rahul and SA’s Dean Elgar are the current players with Test bests of 199.

2 - Countries Du Plessis did not make 100s against. Against England, he had a highest of 86 in 10 Tests and 19 innings. Against Zimbabwe, he made 98 in the only game he played against them. Du Plessis did not play against Afghanistan and Ireland.

77.14 - Du Plessis' average in Australia and New Zealand where he scored 697 in 14 innings with five 50s and two tons. He was far less productive in England (28.50 in six innings with two 50s) and Asia (21.42 from 29 innings with three 50s).

0 - The number of Test tons Du Plessis made in Asia and England. Eight of his 10 Test hundreds came in South Africa where his overall average was 44.18. His other two came in Australia while making three 50s in New Zealand.

2017 - His most productive Test year from a run-scoring perspective with 706 runs from 17 innings at 54.30 with one hundred and six 50s. His most productive year average-wise was 2016 when he made 576 runs from 13 innings at 56.70 when the cut-off is 10 innings. In 2012, he averaged 146.50, but that was from four innings and also bolstered by his debut 110*. His least productive year was 2015 when his 12 innings only realised 201 runs at 16.75.

145 - His average against Bangladesh, which is his highest among all Test nations. He also averaged 70.14 against New Zealand, 51.41 against Sri Lanka (but only 33.50 in Sri Lanka), 46.73 against Australia (83.16 in Australia) and 46.25 against the West Indies. Pakistan (23.15), England (26.63) and India (26.45) all had his measure with two 100s and seven 50s in 46 combined innings across 31 Tests.

2 - Fourth innings 100s for South Africa. His 110* against Australia was his maiden ton and helped save a game that looked lost while his 134 against India nearly helped SA chase down 457 at the Wanderers in 2013. His next best fourth innings score was 61 against England in Manchester in 2017 and averaged 26.85 in the fourth innings overall.

5 - His most productive batting spot, with 1996 runs at 42.46 with five 100s and 12 50s. He averaged 43.82 at number six, 43.25 at number seven, 31.36 at number four and 40.83 at number three.

38.92 - His average as captain from 36 games as compared to 41.96 when he wasn’t captain in 33 Tests. Graeme Smith averaged 47.83 while Hansie Cronje averaged 36.32

18 - The number of matches he won as captain, next to 15 losses and three draws. He won 17 of his first 27 Tests, but lost eight of his last 10 Tests as captain. Cronje won 27 of his 53 Tests while Smith on 53 of his 109 matches as captain.

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