Johannesburg – Proteas captain Faf du Plessis stunned the Wanderers crowd on Saturday with a catch at second slip that simply shouldn’t have happened.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, on 10 at the time, slashed at a wide one from debutant Duanne Olivier.
The delivery found the outside edge, flew off the bat and looked almost certain to fly to the fence for a one-bounce four.
But then, out of nowhere, Du Plessis plucked the ball out of the air with a one-handed ‘reverse grab’.
Replays showed just how quickly Du Plessis had launched himself into the air, and by the time he was done with the catch he had his back to where the ball had come from.
Speaking after the Test on Saturday, which South Africa won by an innings and 118 runs to win the series 3-0, Du Plessis said that he had practiced such catches at training.
At first it seemed like he was joking – you can’t practice catches like that, can you?
But, it turns out you can.
“I’ve been practicing that. I do try and jump up with one hand and catch reverse cup (at training),” Du Plessis confirmed.
“It was funny. We were standing in the slips … myself, Dean (Elgar) and Hashim (Amla) and Quinny (De Kock) and I was saying that with the bounce in this wicket there was going to be one that would fly and I’m calling it.”
At that point Du Plessis turned to Elgar, who was standing in the corner at the press conference.
“What do we call them at training?” the skipper asked.
“A ‘Dupie’ special?
“It happened about 10 or 15 overs later, but I can claim it.” And it might not be the last time we see the ‘Dupie Special’.
“I do practice them, so hopefully I can pull off few more in the future.”