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Du Plessis wants to turn the screws on England

Du Plessis wants to turn the screws on England

Pranta Deb Emon
Published Date: 27 Jul 2017 | Update : 27 Jul 2017
Faf du Plessis suggested on the eve of the third of four Tests against England, starting at The Oval on Thursday (July 27), that South Africa could be on the verge of another away series win if they managed to maintain their recent form against the opposition. South Africa, who head into the match all square at 1-1 following a thumping 340-run win in the second Test at Trent Bridge last week, have a proud away Test record. In their past 19 series, they have won 13, drawn five and lost just one – in India in 2015-16. Their record under du Plessis is as good, with just one defeat in 12 Tests. Du Plessis’s successes as a Test captain include the 2-1 series win in Australia in 2016-17, with the lone loss coming when South Africa were already 2-0 up. “The situation felt very similar,” said du Plessis ahead of what will be the 100th Test staged at the South London ground. The defeat in the second Test at Trent Bridge led to England being subjected to some scathing media criticism, particularly from several former captains, and du Plessis said it had been a similar story when South Africa were in Australia. “There was quite a bit of press against the Australian cricket team, and then we stepped our game up even more in the second Test,” he recalled. “Then after that, it was a free-for-all – and you could see the Australian team were feeling a bit of pressure.” Du Plessis wanted his side, bolstered by the return of Kagiso Rabada after serving a one-Test ban, to turn the screws even further at The Oval. “I see it as a nice thing for us to be in as the opposition,” he said. “All teams don’t want to feel the pressure, and you do feel the pressure when you don’t play your best cricket – that’s part of the game.” As for Rabada, du Plessis said, “I assume he’ll be raring to get that ball in his hand.” England will field at least two debutants on Thursday in Tom Westley, the top-order batsman, and Toby Roland-Jones, the fast-medium bowler. Westley made a century for the second-string England Lions against South Africa in Worcester a few weeks ago – a match where both du Plessis and Vernon Philander were absent. “Well done to him for getting a hundred, but I can promise you the intensity of a warm-up game versus a Test match … he will play against a different attack tomorrow,” said du Plessis of the challenge awaiting England’s new No. 3. AFP

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