Du Plessis: Colombo was one tough pitch

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South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis, famous for his ability to stay at the crease for long stretches, says batting against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club was one of the toughest tests the side has faced.

South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis, famous for his ability to stay at the crease for long stretches, says batting against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club was one of the toughest tests the side has faced.

The Proteas had to bat out more than a day to secure a draw, and managed it with two wickets in hand to win the series, but they scored very few runs and Du Plessis said that as the game progressed, it was nigh impossible to hit shots.

Du Plessis himself made 36 and 10, but batted for over three hours, while Hashim Amla's first innings century came over the course of eight hours in the middle, while his second innings 25, on the last day, lasted for three hours.

Du Plessis wrote on <i>supersport.com</i>: "It really was an incredible performance, batting out that final day, and it's difficult to put into words just how difficult it was to survive on that wicket.

"It was dry and turning square, particularly out of the rough created by the seam bowlers.

"What makes the Sri Lankan spinning unit – led by Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera – so remarkable is their accuracy and control. They just never bowl a bad ball and are so consistent in hitting a good length.

"So, what they do is change their line of attack, either coming over the wicket or around, and they'll bowl the exact same ball – one will spin big and the other will go straight on. So, it's so difficult to just play the ball, you need a bit of luck and you need to be solid in your defence."

He continued, commenting on the run rate: "There was actually significant rough outside both off and leg-stumps in the final innings.

"So, as a spinner, all you need to do is run up, bowl at decent pace through the air, and make sure you hit the rough patch, because from there the ball can spit up at the batsman and go almost anywhere. It's a very challenging situation to be in.

"Every guy will have a different form of defence, but what's also important to note is that it's incredibly difficult to score against, as well. That's what the Sri Lankans managed to achieve in the first innings, giving us nothing to score from, and as a result you saw our run rate dive.

"Fortunately, we managed to bat for a fair amount of time in that first innings, even though we didn't score much. Ultimately, that time spent at the crease played a part in us saving the game."

With the Proteas unbeaten on the road since 2006, Du Plessis added that the side was difficult to beat because they never gave up, and worked so well together as a unit to make sure that when one part failed, another part picked them up.

He added: "The thing that stood out for me in Sri Lanka was that it was a collective effort, particularly that final innings in Colombo. I've spoken before about how tough this team of ours is to beat, and this performance was another reminder of that.

"There have been times when we've been on top of other teams and they have folded under the pressure, but this team has something about it that refuses to give in.

"It's the sort of character that will stand us in good stead for tough times in the future, but right now it makes us a very difficult team to beat, and that's a great quality to have."

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