Updated: July 13, 2021 3:58:34 pm
As Faf du Plessis celebrates his 37th birthday on Tuesday, we look at the strong career of the South African and his remarkable journey that began during an unforgettable debut that defined him as a batsman and a leader.
The right-handed batsman made a confident start in his International Test career when he scored 78 and 110 not-out on debut against Australia, becoming and remaining the only South African to have scored a half-century and century on Test debut.
The first South African man to score a century in all three formats of international cricket 🏏
Happy birthday Faf du Plessis! 🎂 pic.twitter.com/cehC97OV3e
— ICC (@ICC) July 13, 2021
His match-saving 110* in the fourth innings of that match also remains the longest a South African has batted in the fourth innings of a Test match, at 466 minutes.
Du Plessis took over Test captaincy from the charismatic AB de Villiers back in 2016 and led the side in 36 matches before letting go of the leadership in January, 2020.
Du Plessis, who is the only South Africa captain to record both home and away series wins over Australia, ended his career with 4163 runs in the longest format, scored at an average of 40.02, involving 10 centuries and 21 fifties. He announced his retirement from Test cricket in February, 2021. Announcing his decision to quit the longest format of the game, Du Plessis said he wanted to focus on the shortest format for the next two years.
Happy Birthday to the man I admire the most on and off the field . I’m not just an ardent fan, he’s more like a family. he’s everything to me. 🥺
— Faf Du Plessis Fan Club 🦁 (@TrendsFaf) July 12, 2021
The Pretoria-born right-hander produced one of his finest innings for South Africa as recently as December, 2020 when he scored 199 in their first of the two-match series against Sri Lanka at his home ground in Centurion. The knock was his highest score in the format.