- The Proteas to order batsmen have all chipped in at some point of the ongoing
four-match Test series against Australia.
AB de Villiers is the leading run
scorer in the series having been in sublime touch, Dean Elgar's marathon knock
set up a win in Cape Town, Aiden Markram has a 50 and a 100 to his name and
Quinton de Kock has started to rediscover form too.
Even Hashim Amla, who has had a
poor series by his standards, contributed with a valuable 56 in Port Elizabeth
that helped get the Proteas into a winning position there.
The one area of concern for South
Africa in the batting department, though, comes in the form of skipper Faf du
In three Tests so far, Du Plessis
has batted six times, though one of those innings saw him finish 2* as the
Proteas got over the line in PE.
Du Plessis' series numbers do not
make for good reading.
In six innings, he has scored
just 55 runs at an average of 11.
It is a return nowhere near mirroring
the high standards that the skipper sets for himself.
In the second innings in Cape
Town, Du Plessis looked like he might be getting over his slump. He showed good
concentration and application to get to 20 - his highest score of the series -
before he was trapped LBW by Nathan Lyon.
The 33-year-old acknowledged
before the Newlands Test that he needed to start contributing on the
scoreboard, but even after two more failures coach Ottis Gibson is not losing
any sleep over the form of his skipper.
"It’s not a concern. He is
our leader. Of course, we would like him to make runs and I’m sure he would
like to make some more runs, but his job goes far beyond making runs for
us," Gibson told local media this week.
"Runs are important, don’t
get me wrong, but his leadership is crucial to the way we play our cricket as
Gibson added that there were a
couple of players, including Du Plessis, who could do with a break following
the completion of the series.
South Africa are 2-1 up with only
the Wanderers Test to come, and if they avoid defeat there they will become the
first Proteas side since re-admission to beat Australia on home soil.
"It’s been a long summer and
we’ve had a lot of injuries," Gibson said.
"There are still quite a few
broken bodies on the field. Faf is being held together, AB’s fingers are still
dodgy … we’ve got a few niggles that we need to get sorted out."
The fourth Test starts on Friday.