Cricket 8.11.2018 04:11 pm

Why Faf simply loves Adelaide

Faf du Plessis of South Africa looks on during a South Africa ODI training session/press conference at Park 25 on November 7, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Faf du Plessis of South Africa looks on during a South Africa ODI training session/press conference at Park 25 on November 7, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

If you had a history with a ground like the Proteas captain has ahead of Friday’s second ODI against Australia, wouldn’t you too?

After Newlands, Faf du Plessis very eagerly admits that Adelaide is his favourite ground to play cricket on.

It’s little wonder he’s excited for Friday’s second ODI against Australia, given his history at the impressively revamped venue.

TEST DEBUT –  2012

Faf du Plessis of South Africa receives treatment in the last few overs of the day during day five of the Second Test Match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 26, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

This was the setting for one of South Africa’s greatest escapes in their history.

Set a mammoth 430 to win on a wearing pitch, survival was the name of the game.

Du Plessis, on debut, made 78 in the first innings, but the highlight was his epic, unbeaten 110 in 466 minutes in the second dig to help his side stave off defeat.

“That Test was memorable for my nerves,” he said on Thursday.

“I fell off the stairs walking out to bat and how my shoe fell off my foot. I really struggled to get it back on. I almost had to kneel down properly to get it back on … and risk some words from the crowd!

“I remember telling myself things couldn’t get worse than how it started. It was a great debut in the end.”

THE ULTIMATE RESPONSE TO ‘MINTGATE’ – 2016

Faf du Plessis of South Africa celebrates after scoring a century during day one of the Third Test match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 24, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With a memorable Test series win in the back, the Proteas went to Adelaide with the aim of claiming a 3-0 whitewash.

But the build-up was dominated by “mintgate”.

Du Plessis had been charged and found guilty of applying saliva from a mint on the ball during the previous Test in Hobart.

The South African captain maintained his innocence throughout and even appealed the decision, which was eventually unsuccessful.

Du Plessis was vilified in some quarters and caused a media stir.

Striding out to bat in the Proteas’ first day-night Test ever, he delivered the ultimate response: a magnificent, unbeaten 118 out of total of 259/9.

“That was definitely a different way of handling pressure,” said Du Plessis.

“There were a lot of eyes on me. My character was tested that week and just getting through that was great. I learned a lot about my resilience.”

AND FRIDAY…

“It’s now about me being mentally switched on. The context is different once again,” said Du Plessis.

“I want to fall back on those past successes and hopefully it will inspire this team too.”

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