Revisiting Faf Du Plessis’ herculean effort on Test debut at Adelaide

Faf Du Plessis scored a superb century against Australia on test debut to draw the game.

Faf Du Plessis’ Adelaide classic in 2012

Despite scoring a career best 199 recently, Faf Du Plessis has decided to retire from test cricket. Faf Du Plessis played 69 tests in total and gave us some memorable knocks but the one that stands out amongst them is his herculean innings in Adelaide on debut in 2012.

Debut: SA tour of Aus, 2012

Faf Du Plessis wasn’t first choice to play at Adelaide but an injury to JP Duminy paved the way for Faf’s debut. The Australian skipper, Michael Clarke, won the toss and chose to bat first. The South African bowlers toiled hard as the Aussies raked up a huge score of 550 in the first innings. David Warner, Clarke and Hussey all making tons.

In reply, the Proteas posted a respectable 388 all out. Faf Du Plessis scored a remarkable 78 and was the last man to fall.

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The uphill task

The Aussies declared their second innings with South Africa needing 430 runs and four and half sessions left in the test. South Africa were reduced to 45/4 when the debutant joined AB De Villiers, his childhood friend.

The resolute partnership between the two kept the Aussies at bay for the rest of the session and South Africa at stumps were 77/4, both AB and Faf unbeaten.

If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captained the side, I wouldn’t have believed them. I stand in a place of utmost gratitude for a Test career full of blessings bestowed on me

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 26: Faf du Plessis of South Africa poses with the player of the match award after play on day five of the Second Test Match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 26, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

On the fifth day, ABD & Faf started in a similar fashion to where they left off – defiant and resolute in their approach. AB De Villiers was the first to fall after a marathon 68 overs partnership with Du Plessis to keep South Africa in the hunt for a draw. 

The Aussies had 59 overs remaining in the day to take the last 5 wickets. With the injured Kallis, Faf stitched a partnership worth 39 overs. Kallis’ departure meant that Faf was left with the tail to battle out the remaining 20 overs.


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The final flourish

Steyn, Kleinveldt and Morkel provided ample support from the other end to ensure Faf’s marathon innings didn’t count for nothing. Faf Du Plessis also completed his ton in the process after spending an eternity in his 90s, unfazed by his personal ambitions over the collective goal of the team.

South Africa finished at 248/8 from 148 overs. Their debutant scoring a gritty 110 not out off 376 to defy Australia a certain win. For any batsman such an effort would have been a fairy tale but for a debutant; it was ridiculously good.


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