Ahead of the third and final Test at New Wanderers Stadium Johannesburg, Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis has made his intention quite clear concerning the series whitewash over the world No. 1 Test side. Du Plessis and company want to finish the Test series on a high before they take on the Aussies in a four-match Test series from March 1.
While South Africa won the first Test by 72 runs in Cape Town, they humiliated the Indians in the second Test by 135 runs at SuperSport Centurion.
"Just playing against India, you don’t get the opportunity a lot to be in a position of strength where we can beat them 3-0. Consistency is something we want to have as much as possible. Leading into the Australia series we want to go into it with that momentum we have been gathering over the last two games. Australia have been playing some really good cricket so by no means is anyone in the team thinking this is an opportunity to take our foot off the gas. We are really motivated to get a 3-0 win." Du Plessis quoted in the pre-match press conference.
The South African batting has played an instrumental role in their unassailable 2-0 wins at Cape Town and Centurion and the Protea skipper stated that it will hold the key at Wanderers as well.
"India are a proud team that wouldn’t want to go down 3-0 so we’re expecting once again a good challenge from them. For us as a team, it’s pretty simple. Just be doing the things that we’ve been doing right through the series and do it well. Whether it’s batting in partnerships, getting those partnerships together. As I said after the second Test, the difference between us and India is there’s more batters contributing to that partnership."
"So that’s going to be once again very much a key factor in conditions like that. As a batter, if you do get in, you try and string together a nice partnership. Both teams have been taking 20 wickets, and I assume that that will happen again. We’ve got a strong bowling attack on conditions that will suit them. The onus will be on the partnerships in the batting department," he added.
Faf had publicly expressed his displeasure concerning the Centurion pitch, which was pretty much akin to the subcontinent. And now it seems that the Johannesburg curator is not willing to offend the Proteas skipper.
Talking about the pitch in Johannesburg, Du Plessis said: "We’ve moved on now to Wanderers which looks more like the conditions we’re used to. But once again, we haven’t asked for anything that’s over the top, we’ve just asked for a wicket that’s got good pace and bounce. And it looks like hopefully we’ll get that. "
The 33-year-old South African skipper also revealed that they are still uncertain about their playing XI considering the nature of Wanderers pitch. Since the all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo also among the scheme of things, spinner Keshav Maharaj might miss out.
"It’s an option. It was an option in Centurion as well. The ball doesn’t spin there regularly as well and then we find that it was the opposite! We just have to make sure we keep options open. The wicket looks like it should be a normal Wanderers wicket, but even tomorrow morning, just see what the pitch looks like and if there is the same amount of grass on it. Kesh is an extremely talented spinner and we are very lucky to have him. So if we do think of leaving of him out, you have to be 100% sure that you want to leave him out."
"Between Andile and Theunis. Whether you go for an allrounder to give you that option from a batting and bowling point of view or generally what you can do is to play seven batters and four seamers. That’s the three combinations we are talking about from a selection point of view," concluded du Plessis.