South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 2nd day

Du Plessis' pain before his gain

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the second day in Port Elizabeth

Firdose Moonda at St George's Park

January 12, 2013

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A

Faf du Plessis took a painful blow on the second morning, South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 2nd day, January 12, 2013
Faf du Plessis took a painful blow on the second morning © Gallo Images
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Pain of the day
Again, New Zealand's bowlers began the day with a bit of oomph, this time the painful kind. Doug Bracewell was the protagonist again but he was aiming lower down than yesterday, when he pinged Graeme Smith on the head. His fifth ball of the morning had some extra bounce and nipped back into Faf du Plessis to hit him on what the ball-by-ball commentary on these pages described as his "special place."

The agony was immediately evident. Du Plessis crouched down in pain while Bracewell reacted with more toughness than he did with Smith and did not even offer an apology. A smile crept over Brendon McCullum's face and only after du Plessis did not return to his feet for a few moments longer than expected did Martin Guptill decide to enquire about his health. In the dressing room, Dean Elgar and Jacques Rudolph winced at the replay while Hashim Amla, who was hit by Chris Martin in the same place last March could only sympathise from the other side.

Contrast of the day
In completely the opposite fashion to the first over of the day, the first over after lunch was owned by du Plessis. He played five patient overs before the break but came out with no more time to wait. He gave Jeetan Patel the charge as soon as he was given the strike and launched the ball over long-on to bring up his second Test century and first at home with a flourish. Always one to enjoy the attention, du Plessis saluted the crowd as the band burst into song.

Message of the day
When du Plessis was dismissed and the south-easter began blowing a little bit more energetically, South Africa's declaration seemed imminent. Robin Peterson came out and went down swinging, leaving Elgar on 73. Dale Steyn joined him and after two overs of scratching around, the 12th man came out with a bat that was never handed over and a message. It seemed to say that Elgar would have until tea to get to his century even though he was only on 83 at the time. Elgar responded with a six off the first ball of the over that followed but only managed to add two more singles before the break and was allowed to resume batting after that in the quest for his maiden hundred.

Drop of the day
Jacques Kallis very rarely puts down catches and it's even more scarce that he puts down such simple ones. Martin Guptill's horrible series continued when he pushed at Dale Steyn's fourth ball, with feet rooted to the ground, and got an edge. Kallis only had to collect the ball at knee height and got hands to it but then let it slip out. Steyn only turned and walked away with nothing to say to the most experienced player on the field, Kallis pursed his lips in irritation and stood unmoved for a few seconds to contemplate his mistake. It cost nothing though as Guptill nicked off two overs later without adding a run.

Ball of the day
South Africa's attack showed no mercy and Rory Kleinveldt took his role as Vernon Philander's replacement seriously. He got swing and seam movement and coaxed the ball into spitting its way through. His nastiest was the delivery that claimed Dean Brownlie, an unplayable one that straightened after pitching off a shortish length. Brownlie tried to jump out of the way but gloved it to AB de Villiers who took a good catch to deepen New Zealand's woes.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (January 12, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

Faf always looks pretty relaxed and confident, home or away and regardless of the match situation. I've never seen him look overawed. I'm sure having played a lot of cricket outside of SA and achieving success with this has a lot to do with it. Wonderful addition to the Proteas.

Posted by ballonbat on (January 12, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

SurlyCynic, agreed. The comment is unnecessary. Faf certainly brought up both his 50 and his 100 in grand style, but his own demeanour in contrast is a modest one. But perhaps Firdose could explain her comment? She hangs around the squad all the time and no doubt knows the players well. Maybe she knows of another side to Faf that she can tell us about.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 12, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

What does this mean: "Always one to enjoy the attention, du Plessis saluted the crowd as the band burst into song."?

Faf always strikes me as quite a down-to-Earth and humble character, haven't seen him milking too many celebrations. Is this comment necessary?

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