Faf expects hard grafting from bowlers

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis expects a grinding and patient assault from his bowlers on day three of the second Test against New Zealand at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Du Plessis batted for over six hours en-route to his fifth Test century, and says the deteriorating conditions will be a big factor with some early signs of variable bounce during his mammoth knock.

He said: “In hindsight it looks like a good toss to have lost. It looks like the cracks are going to play a role. If our bowlers can be relentless on hitting that fourth stump back of a length with a few bouncers, it’s going to be challenging.

“We are expecting it to be tough, we aren’t expecting to just come in and get wickets. We want to work hard for our wickets and if they come our way a little bit easier that will be great.

“We are expecting a grafting day with the ball to set it up for the following two days.”

The 32 year-old has been known to grind out long patient performances over his 31-match Test career, and says his innings is what was needed for the team with three days still to play in the match.

His century put an end to an 18-month spell without a century, a relief after months of frustration despite feeling confident in the nets.

Du Plessis added: “I have been feeling like I have been hitting the ball quite nicely in the build-up to this Test match.

“All of the batters are in good form so for me it was a case of making sure I knuckle down in my game plan, which was for me to be patient and to wait for the bowlers to bowl in my area, that’s when I play my best Test cricket.

“When I do score big runs in Test cricket it is when I play those gritty innings’ where I almost mentally tire the opposition out, and when I get the opportunity to score a lot quicker I look to do that.

“According to my game plan that is exactly how I wanted to put my innings together.”