South Africa would go on to win the series, with a massive victory in the third and final Test the following week
Faf du Plessis and the Adelaide Oval – it’s a rich history, colourful and controversial, that started with him nearly falling flat on his face.
“I love coming to Adelaide it’s one of my favourite grounds, I’ve got some extremely good memories here,” Du Plessis said ahead of today’s second One-Day International between South Africa and Australia.
“This and Newlands are my two favourite grounds,” he added.
For Du Plessis it’s a special venue where some career highlights were achieved. It started with his Test debut there in 2012, which featured the embarrassing episode of him stumbling down the stairs of the Bradman Pavilion as he made his way out to bat.
“My foot almost came out of my shoe, I was trying to get the shoe back on and almost kneeling in front of the crowd who started giving me a good few sentences,” Du Plessis recalled. “I remember telling myself, ‘well it can’t get much worse’.”
He went onto score 78 in his first Test innings, and followed that up with a more memorable unbeaten 110 in the second innings, in which he had to put up with some choice words from the Australian players as he spent over seven hours at the crease to save that match.
South Africa would go on to win the series, with a massive victory in the third and final Test the following week.
Four years later, the third and final Test between the two teams was no less memorable. South Africa had already won the series, but Du Plessis and his team arrived amidst a brouhaha over a mint, saliva, a cricket ball and video showing Du Plessis shining the ball which went viral: “My character was tested through that week.”
The captain, having been greeted by a cacophony of boos as he walked to the crease, went on to make what the cricket fraternity described as one of the great “f&*# you” hundreds of all time.
This time there is less attention on Du Plessis and more on Australian cricket, which this week has seen more resignations at board level in the aftermath of various reports on a bad culture.
“The last few series against Australia I’ve felt there’s been more to it than just cricket and then as a team you have to make the shift and make the focus about cricket,” Du Plessis added.
Which is exactly what Du Plessis will hope happens today. A win gives SA the series, and will make for another happy memory for Du Plessis at the Adelaide Oval.