Following the humiliating 118-run defeat in the first Test against Australia at Durban, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has stated that left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc’s reverse-swing was the difference between both the sides.
Starc demolished the Proteas tail in both innings and claimed 9-wicket haul in the match. It took the Aussies just 22 balls to wrap up the Proteas innings on Day 5, with Starc taking 4 for 75. South Africa got bundled out for 298, adding 5 runs to their overnight total as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series.
"There was a real difference in skill with the reverse swing," Du Plessis quoted in the post-match media conference.
"One bowler in each team has the potential to do that to the tail. We’ve got to find ways to eliminate their tail a lot quicker. As I said before the series, it's going to be a real crucial part, the amount of runs scored between eight and eleven," he added.
Six out of the 9 wickets that Starc took were of the lower order batsmen and Du Plessis admitted that it was extremely difficult for his tail-enders to cope up with.
"Starc reverse swings the ball at pace and the only weapon we have right now is Kagiso. The tail are going to have to scrap it and get as many runs as possible but we know as the top seven or eight batters that the responsibility lies with us," Faf said.
Du Plessis cited the loss as hard pill to swallow but he was proud of the character shown by the batsmen in the second innings. Needing 417 to win in the fourth innings, South Africa were tottering at 49/4 at one stage but the 147-run stand between Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock took the hosts to 298.
"Most teams, when you get into a position of strength like that the team rocks up on day four and you bully them the whole day," said Du Plessis.
He had a special praise reserve for Markram, who scored a magnificent 143 in the second innings.
"That was a brilliant knock. That says a lot about his character. He went through a tough stage through the ODI’s against India. You can always judge a guy by the way he stands up," concluded Faf du Plessis.