South African pacer Chris Morris credited captain Faf du Plessis for turning around the team’s mentality after their crushing defeat in the first Test against England. South Africa lost that match by 211 runs but they have bounced back to take a commanding position in the second Test. “It’s quite easy for everyone to say how good Faf is,” Morris is quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“It’s just his character. He lives for playing for the Proteas and is what a Protea should be,” said Morris, “He lives for the team and he leads by example. He puts his body on the line and he doesn’t mind batting for three days to save a Test. When a guy leads from the front, a lot of guys will follow.”
Du Plessis managed his bowlers perfectly to ensure that England were bowled out on Day 2. He brought in Keshav Maharaj when he saw that Duanne Olivier and Morris weren’t able to find their rhythm and that subsequently created pressure on the hosts. “Faf is solid and quite clear with his plans and speaks a very good language with the team. He’s an excellent leader,” Morris said.
Morris then came back to take wickets off consecutive balls and that was part of a collapse that saw England go from 143/3 to 205 all out. “On this wicket, you are quite happy with guys coming at you. There is just enough in this wicket for fast bowlers to be excited, and with overhead conditions, with the ball swinging and the way the Duke moves around, we don’t mind guys coming at us,” Morris said. “Another day Joe [Root] is going to get 190, and another day he will get what he got today. It was a great counterpunch by Joe but we don’t mind it.”
Root scored a counter attacking 78 off 76 balls but his was the last act of resistance from England as his departure triggered the collapse. South Africa are now in the driver’s seat and their lead has now crossed 300-run mark. When asked how much would be enough on this pitch Morris said, “800? I have got absolutely no idea. The wicket is playing a little bit. It’s got a bit of juice in it. Whatever overhead conditions are… 200 could be enough on the right day. Obviously we’ll try and bat as long as we can, and whatever decision Faf takes that we think will be possible to defend. That number, I don’t know. It’s my third Test. I just do the job and let the captain make the decision.”