Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2012/11/25/wardrobe-gaffe-nearly-stumbles-faf

Wardrobe gaffe nearly stumbles Faf

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:58PM AEST | by Steve Barrett, Omnisport

Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis says he will never forget his fine 78 on debut, one which helped South Africa escape disaster on day three of the second Test against Australia at Adelaide Oval.

It will forever be etched in du Plessis' memory banks, not just for the gutsy 93-run eighth wicket union he shared with legendary team-mate Jacques Kallis.

Nor solely for the way he showed poise under fire with middle order wickets crumbling around him before adding some controlled aggression to his partnerships with the tail, while helping his side avoid the follow-on in an entertaining 36-run stand with No. 11 Imran Tahir.

The fact is du Plessis nearly didn't make it onto the arena when he was next man in at No.6 to replace skipper Graeme Smith - who compiled a fine 122 - following an embarrassing 'wardrobe malfunction'.

"I had an absolute shocker going down the stairs (out of the dressing room)," he said. "My boot kicked one of the stairs and my whole foot came out (of the shoe).

"I had to kneel in front of the whole crowd while they were abusing me from both sides.

"My shoelaces were tied and my pad was in the way so I couldn't get my foot back in.

"I was thinking I might get timed out here unless I do something," he said.

Understandably by the time du Plessis finally staggered out to take guard, he was a bundle of nerves, even more than when he was tensely awaiting the DRS verdict on Smith's dismissal.

"My foot slipped in three quarters of the way (into the boot) and I said I'll just have to run on with my boot like this and I'll sort it out when I get there," du Plessis said.

"Then my first step beat another step and I almost tripped so the crowd gave me some nice abuse.

"And I was abusing myself when I was tripping down the stairs.

"When I got in I said it can't go worse than that.

"I was very nervous before I went out to bat, probably more nervous than (when) making my one-day debut, playing the first time for South Africa.

"I was sitting there waiting to bat because Graeme got (requested) the (decision) review.

"It takes a couple of minutes while you sit there and don't know if you're going to go in."

Du Plessis prevailed over that brief personal humiliation and his side's dire 4-233 state - which quickly became 7-250 - with tremendous resolve and a fine temperament evident in his self-deprecating sense of humour.

His partnership with Kallis, who batted way down the order at No. 9 due to a hamstring injury, saved the Proteas from total embarrassment.

The debutant relished the chance to bat with the greatest all-rounder of the modern era, despite having to modify his own approach due to Kallis's severely restricted mobility.

"The nice thing was the experience he brought for me in my first Test," du Plessis said. "I had a few questions I threw his way today, which he was great in helping me.

"It was quite tough because I couldn't just get singles all the way ... I'd already thought of his injury and (the fact) he can't sprint too much.

"That was a challenge in itself. It felt for me at one stage it was either a dot ball or a boundary.

"It was actually quite nice to just be strolling between the wickets because normally I run around like a fool - it was nice to take a chill pill."

The pair's gutsy partnership, along with some superb bowling late in the day from paceman Rory Kleinveldt (3-13), who triggered a pivotal 5-26 flurry, has given South Africa a faint chance of securing victory.

Such hopes seemed all but lost when Kallis joined du Plessis in the middle shortly before lunch and even more so when the home side cruised to 77 without loss in its second dig prior to the collapse after tea.

"I think what we did tonight in this last session is exactly what we needed to still have a sniff in the game," du Plessis said.

"We're still in with a big chance which is great.

"If they just went at four-and-a-half runs an over with no wickets, we would have been under massive pressure.

"At the moment we're still in this."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 25 November, 2012 7:06AM AEST

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