Striking early in the first session of day two will be the key for the Proteas, as they look to gain the advantage in the final Test match against Australia at the WACA in Perth. The bowlers struck twice during the 11-over spell in the last hour, and will need much of the same execution to put themselves in a position to win the match.
“I think the pitch has definitely quickened up since this morning,” Robin Peterson said at stumps. “Hopefully the guys won’t have a lot of time to adjust if we put the ball in the right areas. I think the first hour tomorrow morning could be vitally important to the outcome of the game.”
Peterson scored a handy 31 on his return to Test cricket after four years and partnered in a crucial 57-run seventh-wicket partnership with Faf du Plessis, who was left unbeaten on 78. Peterson played positively after arriving at the crease with the score at 75 for six, and played an important role in scraping together the Proteas’ first innings total of 225.
“Faf and I were under pressure and we thought of somehow trying to put the pressure back on Australia. We tried to do that by showing good intent and playing one or two shots that sort of took guys out of attacking fields. That’s the way we tried to take the momentum with us,” he said.
Du Plessis equalled the performance by Kepler Wessels of scoring three half-centuries in his first three Test innings for South Africa, and both have the same combination of two fifties and a century. He would have been disappointed not to have had the opportunity of pushing on to three figures, but continues to impress on a dream introduction to Test cricket.
“He is quite a confident guy,” Peterson said about his team mate. “He knows himself as a person and he backs himself, that comes across on the field. He has been part of the squad for over a year now and that does contribute in putting performances together in Test cricket.
“I think he has worked really hard in the last year to tighten up his Test match game. There were people that doubted whether he could do it in Test cricket, and I think those doubts have been thrown out of the window. It stems from a lot of hard work, a lot of thought and a lot of mental adjustments that he has done.”