It’s pretty hard not to believe that Faf du Plessis has a magical effect on the Proteas when he’s the skipper.
South Africa continued their resurgence since his return as they ended the second day of the second Test against England in Nottingham in a commanding position.
Heino Kuhn’s (8) iffy start to his Test career continued after he was dimissed early in the visitors’ second batting dig but from there on the progress was pretty serene.
The Proteas ended on 75/1 as Dean Elgar (38*) and Hashim Amla (23*) drove home their advantage after they took a 130-run lead.
That advantage has swelled to 205 runs.
Starting the day on 309/6, the Proteas didn’t add much to their overnight score as the evergreen and classy Jimmy Anderson’s 5/72 limited them to 335.
It seemed like a wasted platform before they responded well to dismiss the home side for 205.
Their bowlers started brilliantly after Vernon Philander (2/48) and Morne Morkel (2/45) had England limping at 3/2.
However, they actually lost the plot for a bit after that as English captain Joe Root, fresh off a 190 at Lord’s, played a magnificent hand.
He cracked 12 fours in a 76-ball 78 as the hosts decided to attack.
But Root’s enthusiasm got the better of him when he edged Morkel behind to Quinton de Kock.
That signalled a change.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj got in on the act when he had the dangerous Ben Stokes (0) caught behind off a rebound before producing a stunner that turned away from Jonny Bairstow (45) and castled him.
Chris Morris, who endured a difficult start, returned after tea to mop up the lower order.
He finished with 3/38 as Maharaj deserved claimed another scalp to brag with figures of 3/21.
The Proteas can now calmly build with plenty of time left.