Faf du Plessis says SA have to be stronger in building partnerships against England
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has said that they must put up a good first innings score to put themselves in a position to beat England in the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers on Friday.
SA go into the match trailing 2-1 and a series defeat would be costly as they would drop Cricket Championship points and attract heavy criticism from the public.
Over the three matches at SuperSport Park‚ Newlands and St George’s Park‚ SA have failed to score more than 300 runs in an innings as batsmen struggled to put together partnerships.
“The challenge for us as a team is how strong we are‚" he said.
"We know that we haven’t scored enough first innings runs and that is the basic of Test cricket.
"If you look at England as a blueprint‚ they have constructed the first innings with the top three making sure that they set up the innings for the rest of the guys.
“That is something that we have spoken about and as a unit we want to make sure that we are stronger in building partnerships.
"We also have to make decisions on game plans and there is not enough time to change techniques and stuff like that after a quick turnaround.
"The secret weapon in this type of situation is to try and make sure that you are strong emotionally and mentally to overturn what was an average performance in Port Elizabeth.”
Du Plessis added that despite the quick turnaround from the last Test match‚ they have prepared very well and worked very hard to avoid defeat as it would have a negative impact on the side's Cricket Championship standings.
“You get confidence from prepping well in the nets and doing the right things‚" he said.
"We have trained well and we are learning.
"You are speaking of a batting line-up that is extremely young and with that you throw some of us with experience and we have not scored the runs as we should.
“What happens usually in a batting line-up is that you have the top three guys who are bankers and consistently pump up the runs all the time.
"And then you have the young guy who comes into the team and floats under the radar to find his feet.
"Unfortunately we have not scored a lot of runs and we are guilty of that as senior players.
"We need to put runs on the board and England are a good example of that.”
Du Plessis also confirmed that Temba Bavuma would play in the place of Zubayr Hamza.
Rassie van der Dussen will bat at number three but a decision has not been taken as to who will replace suspended Kagiso Rabada.
“Rassie (Van der Dussen) will go down to three‚ that is what we have decided‚" he said.
"On the bowling front‚ if Beuran (Hendricks) becomes a selection possibility‚ that is the discussion that needs to take place.
"We feel that we need to strengthen the bowling unit a little bit because of the loss of KG (Rabada) or do we need an all-rounder.”