Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar gave an exciting glance of what the future of South African cricket holds on the second day of the Sunfoil Test match against New Zealand at Axxess St George’s. The pair, both in the infancy of their Test careers, batted with the maturity and fluency of established cricketers, as the Proteas posted their highest Test score of 525 for eight declared on Saturday.
Du Plessis, who became the second South African behind Graeme Pollock to score two centuries in his first four Tests, continues to impress in the longest format, but remains humble in his success.
“I understand that it’s a good time for me,” du Plessis commented said about his form. “I need to score as many runs as possible because there will come a time where you don’t score as many runs. I’m in some good form so I have to make the most of it.”
Du Plessis has credited the Proteas’ top four for the stability and consistency they have created for the rest of the order, with the line-up boasting two century stands and two over fifty in the first innings.
“I have only played a handful of Tests but there hasn’t been an instance where we have been 10 for four and I have had to come in to bat,” he said. “They do give you that consistency where they bat for a while and put a decent score on the board.
“It allows you to come in and play your own game,” he added. “That is important especially for a younger player or someone new to Test cricket, you don’t always come in under pressure.”
Elgar in contrast, has had an indifferent start to International cricket, debuting with a pair against Australia and following up with a scratchy 21 in the first Test at Sahara Park Newlands last week. He has put in countless big performances for the Chevrolet Knights and the respective South Africa A sides, and says it was a “relief” to score a century.
“Credit to Graeme (Smith) for giving me the opportunity to get to my hundred after tea,” an excited Elgar said. “I can’t really remember the celebrations but I was quite relieved to get to the mark.
Both players are products of Cricket South Africa’s development pipeline, having risen through the ranks from South Africa under-19 to the Proteas. They have made valuable use of the their opportunities after earning call-ups due to injuries, which bodes well for the Proteas’ batting depth in the future.