Faf recollects each detail of Sunday rescue

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Batsman Faf du Plessis has detailed the various stages of Sunday's lengthy vigil, which saw South Africa force a draw on day five of the first Test against India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Batsman Faf du Plessis has detailed the various stages of Sunday's lengthy vigil, which saw South Africa force a draw on day five of the first Test against India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Du Plessis and AB de Villiers scored superb tons as the hosts came within a veritable whisker of reaching a mammoth 458-run target.

De Villiers and du Plessis' departures in reasonably quick succession and the left-handed JP Duminy's early fall, however, left all-rounder Vernon Philander and tail-ender Dale Steyn to assume a largely defensive approach.

The hosts ended on 450 for seven, a mere eight runs shy of achieving the highest successful fourth-innings run chase in the history of Test match cricket.

"The first challenge was to get to the new ball. Myself and AB wanted to get through that, so I was really pleased with the way we did that," said du Plessis.

"I started to think about the win when myself and AB started getting some momentum and were scoring four runs an over quite regularly. Our plan was to bat until the last 10 overs. From there, we'd try and get anything.

"Then I just wanted to bat the innings through. When JP got out, I knew I had to stay in because if I got out, we would be in trouble. Vernon came in and made it closer.

"I just wanted to stay there. Until the last five overs, I just wanted to be there. I was very defensive, very tight. Then I wanted to join the party."

The right-handed du Plessis, after a fighting 134, which spanned all of 395 minutes and 309 deliveries, eventually succumbed to a run-out at the non-striker's end. Mid-off fielder Ajinkya Rahane struck with a direct-hit.

"In hindsight, I should have hit that ball over his head for four. When you get out, your concentration levels just go out. I just went back to the changeroom and lay on my back and stared at the television," he added.

"But I'm very satisfied that we pulled it through. A lot of people wrote us off. I was really happy with the way I played, constructed my innings and left the ball. I was very good until I got a 100. A lot of emotion comes through your body then."

The Proteas, meanwhile, are waiting on the fitness of fast bowler Morne Morkel. The lanky right-armer twisted an ankle while fielding – and did not bowl for the bulk of the second innings. He remains in doubt for the second and final Test, which will get underway at Kingsmead on Thursday. The Durban-based Kyle Abbott has been called up as cover.

"The diagnosis Brendon Jackson, the physiotherapist, has given is that he is 20 percent ready for Durban, which Morne believes is 80 percent. At the best of times, he struggles to control those legs. We missed him in our second innings. Let us hold thumbs, but I don't think the prognosis is great," concluded captain Graeme Smith.

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