Faf: Smith absence like losing two players for Aussies
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis believes the absence of Steve Smith will be a very big loss for Australia in the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers.
The ICC banned Smith for the series finale after the Australia captain admitted that he and a “leadership group” tried to alter the condition of the ball in the third Test at Newlands.
Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera trying to tamper with the ball, was given a three demerit points and fined 75 per cent of his match fee for his part in the offence.
Although Smith has not been at his best with the bat in the first three Tests, he remains the premier batsman in world cricket in the longest format with more than 6 000 runs at an average of 61 after 64 games.
When asked about not having to bowl to Smith in the final Test, du Plessis said: “That is very comforting.
“He is a very good batsman and somehow we’ve managed to keep him quiet.
“It’s almost like losing two players in one because he’s such a strong batter. I do believe that his leadership is also good for the team, so he will be a big loss for them.”
With the Proteas 2-1 up going into the final Test, they have a chance to make history as the first team to beat the Aussies on home soil in a Test series since re-admission.
Du Plessis acknowledged that the hosts have spoken about that particular stat as several players from the home team will not have another opportunity of playing against their great rivals again.
The SA skipper said: “It was one of the things we spoke about it.
“We know it’s our last crack at it. We’re probably not going to play against Australia again, even away, so this is the Test series that we as South Africans enjoy the most.
“We’ve worked really hard to get here and I’m looking forward to the last one. There is still a lot to do but if we manage to do that it will be great.”
The fourth and final Test starts in Johannesburg on Friday.
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