After humiliating Australia in the second Test of the ongoing three-match series, Proteas stand in skipper Faf du Plessis has asserted that the Steve Smith-led side had made a mistake by sending an under-strength team to South Africa for a five-match ODI series in September and October.
Proteas’ pacemen tore through Australia’s last eight wickets before lunch on Day Four to complete a humiliating innings and 80-run defeat on Tuesday and seal the three-match Test series with a game to spare.
Kyle Abbott, who replaced pace spearhead Dale Steyn, was adjudged Man of the Match after taking 6-77 in the second innings to go with the match figures of 9-118.
Vernon Philander, who laid the platform for victory with five wickets in the first innings when Australia were bundled out for 85, however, went wicketless. Meanwhile, Kagiso Rabada took the remaining four wickets in the second innings to cause a major collapse to the Steve Smith-led side.
Du Plessis said Aussie selectors made a mistake by opting to tour South Africa without their two best fast bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
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“I definitely think so… We came across here with a lot of confidence, we did expect a really tough challenge because it’s a different team and a full-strength team with two key players in Starc and Hazlewood (returning),” the 32-year-old was quoted as saying by Sport24.
“Certainly, not facing them is better than facing them,” he added.
The ODI series in South Africa preceding the Test series was comprehensively won by the Proteas wherein the whitewashed the Aussies 5-0.
“The confidence from coming over five-nil has helped us a lot and I think it will be the same case going into that last Test match,” he said.
“We’re a confidence team and making sure we do the basics well and if we do that we’ll keep pressure on the Australian team,” he added.
The Proteas have now won their last three series in Australia, following victories under Graeme Smith in 2008 and 2012.
Smith is currently top-ranked batsmen in the world, with 15 centuries to his name in 45 Tests, but his role as a captain has been under the scanner following five successive Test defeats that also saw Australia slip to third from first in the team rankings.
Australia will further slip to fifth if they fail to stop South Africa from completing series whitewash in the third and final Test in Adelaide, starting November 24.