PROTEAS WRAP UP THE SERIES IN BLOEM
Standard Bank Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, says the 2-0 Sunfoil Test series win against Bangladesh is a timely confidence boost ahead of a tough summer featuring inbound tours against India and Australia. The Proteas were convincing in both matches – winning by an innings- particularly the contributions from the batsmen, who dominated in docile conditions.
Du Plessis admits that the squad is far from the finished product, with injuries to some of their key fast bowlers and the continuous search for a winning combination in the batting line-up among the setbacks. The win is the first hurdle ahead of seven confirmed Test matches, which will be the litmus test for the squad as they challenge for the No.1 spot on the ICC Test rankings.
“First of all confidence,” he said of the positives from the series in Bloemfontein on Sunday. “ We had good targets leading into this series of what we wanted to achieve as a team; not just as a batting unit, and we achieved those goals hands down. The confidence from this series ahead of two big series at the end of the year, we appreciate that.
“From this series there is nothing that we could have done better,” he said. “ Everyone scored runs, there were big hundreds and many hundreds, there were also some important partnerships. We are not the finished article, we understand that we are a team that needs to get better. If we get better, we will challenge for the No.1 position again.”
Du Plessis says he ‘expected a bigger fight’ from the No.9 ranked Bangladesh team, who came into the series following a drawn (1-1) series against Australia at home. While the victory will be celebrated, the captain will look ahead to having a full-strength team to pick from for the battles that lie ahead later this season.
“I expected a bigger fight,” he admitted. “ I didn’t expect them to win the series, but I expected us to go through some sessions where we would need to absorb a lot of pressure because of the skill in their team. With that, you have to say that our team did it better. When they tried to put some sort of pressure on us we responded positively and aggressively like we spoke about in the team meeting. Five or six overs after that we were back and dominating the game.
“India and Australia are going to be a lot tougher,” he said. “Bangladesh didn’t have the fire-power that we thought they would have in these conditions. We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves thinking that we are the finished article. We still have a lot of work to do to try and be the team that we want to be.”
The focus shifts to the three-match Momentum One-Day International (ODI) series starting at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Sunday. The ODI squad will assemble in Kimberley on Thursday and details of the training and media schedule will be announced shortly.