Gillette ODIs v South Africa

Faf seeks to mint new memories

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has mixed emotions about a return to Adelaide following scandal in 2016

Cricket Network

08 November 2018, 08:27 PM

Got to keep foot on the gas: du Plessis

The last time Faf du Plessis was in Adelaide, he was public enemy number one. The first time he was in Adelaide, he almost bumbled his Test career before it began.

This time he's in Adelaide, du Plessis says it feels much more relaxed than two years ago when he arrived in midst of a ball-tampering furore.

In November 2016, the South African captain lobbed in the South Australian capital after television cameras captured him applying saliva to a ball with a mint in his mouth during the previous Test match in Hobart.

His every move was tracked before, during and after he was found guilty of ball-tampering by the ICC.

"It was a lot different to this. A few more cameras around," du Plessis told a small media gathering at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Du Plessis was fined his match fee but allowed to play in the Adelaide Test – he ignored jeers from the crowd and made 118 not out, a knock he treasures.

Sweet success as du Plessis mints a century

"There was a lot of build-up towards that Test match with the mint-gate," he said.

"There was a lot of eyes on me ... it was more (my) character that was tested through that week.

"Just getting through that personally was great for me.

"It showed me a lot of resilience for my own character which was something that was really good to learn about my own personality."

Four years before "mint-gate", in November 2012, du Plessis made his Test debut in Adelaide.

Du Plessis drops a catch on his Test debut in 2012 // Getty
Du Plessis drops a catch on his Test debut in 2012 // Getty

He was coming down the grandstand stairs to bat for the first time in a Test when a shoe came off.

Du Plessis knelt amid the Adelaide crowd, copping abuse, while struggling to get his shoe back on and fearing his Test career would start by being timed out.

"I got a few good sentences from the crowd," he said.

"And then walking out and actually saying to myself 'it can't go worse than it already started'."

Du Plessis celebrates a Test century on debut // Getty
Du Plessis celebrates a Test century on debut // Getty

He made 78 on debut. Then 110 not out in the second innings.

Du Plessis averages 159 in Tests at Adelaide Oval, where he will play his first one-day international on Friday.

"I love coming to Adelaide, this ground is probably my favourite in the world when it comes to playing cricket," he said.

"I have got some extremely good memories here ... it's mixed memories, but it's all really good outcomes."

Australia v Proteas, Gillette ODI series, November 2018

First ODI: South Africa won by six wickets

Second ODI: Adelaide Oval, November 9

Third ODI: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, November 11

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.