Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
After scoring his maiden ODI century against Australia, South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has announced that he wants to “make this No. 3 position my own”.
Du Plessis and Proteas captain AB de Villiers, who also scored a century, helped their side make easy work of Australia’s mammoth total of 327 as they crossed the finish line with seven wickets to spare in a scintillating run chase.
It seems that whenever South Africa and Australia play an ODI, it turns into an epic battle and becomes etched in history as one of the best matches ever. Who can ever forget arguably the best ODI in history where South Africa chased down 435 runs with one wicket in hand and one ball to spare in Johannesburg in March 2006.
Up to the point before du Plessis made his first ODI century, he was renowned for his match-saving 110 in the second Test against Australia on debut in Adelaide in November 2012.
To break the shackles of just being known for that particular knock comes as a major relief for du Plessis, who had made nine ODI half-centuries before finally converting one of his scores into triple figures.
“It’s a great feeling – it’s been a long time coming,” du Plessis said. “I want to make this No. 3 position my own. I’ve played most of my one-day cricket at No. 6 so I guess you don’t get as many opportunities to score hundreds there, but now with my new role it’s very important for me to make sure I get those hundreds.
“In the series against Zimbabwe I batted really well but I didn’t convert so that was a great pleasure for me. The celebration might have been short but there was a lot of emotion going through it. I felt there was a lot to do still. But I’m very happy – to get your first Test hundred and your first ODI hundred against Australia is a great achievement for me.”
Even de Villiers lauded du Plessis for his brilliant achievement, and added that it couldn’t have come at a better time.
In fact, de Villiers and du Plessis both used to play for Afrikaans Hoer Seunskool when they were teenagers, and, due to their long friendship, the South African ODI captain knows exactly how much du Plessis has struggled to score his maiden ODI century, especially since it took him over two years to accomplish the feat.
“He’s been under a lot of pressure from a lot of people in the ODI format, so for him to score that hundred…We’ve always had a lot of belief in him as a player,” de Villiers said. “He’s definitely our rock – he has been for the last while and he’s playing unbelievable cricket at the moment. He’s just proved a lot of people wrong, although I know that’s not why he plays the game.”
Du Plessis also revealed that he feels comfortable speaking to de Villiers about his problems since they have learnt to understand each other while growing up together.
“We’ve played a lot of cricket together and we understand each others’ games really well, so at times where AB thinks he knows what’s going through my mind he speaks to me about it and then I take it on board,” du Plessis added. “The same with him – I can see when he’s looking to score runs and it’s maybe not needed. We talk to each other and there’s a huge amount of respect for that relationship. It’s great to have batted together in school cricket and then to be playing for your country against Australia.”