Faf likens SA v Oz series to 'soap opera'
As Australian cricket continues to seek answers following a ball tampering saga that has plagued their national team’s tour of South Africa, the Proteas go into the final Test in Johannesburg 2-1 up in the series.
A 322-run win in Cape Town was South Africa’s biggest win, in terms of runs, over Australia since re-admission.
This Test, however, will be remembered as the one that saw Australian captain Steve Smith admit to coming up with an intricate plan to tamper with the ball.
Smith has since been banned for a Test and was stood down as captain for the remainder of the third Test at Newlands, but things could get significantly worse for him in the coming days.
Cricket Australia are conducting their own investigation into the matter, and it doesn’t look good for Smith with the outcry from back home coming from former cricketers to the Prime Minister.
Certainly the biggest scandal to have rocked the series so far, the ball tampering at Newlands was hardly the first.
David Warner’s tunnel altercation with Quinton de Kock in Durban spiralled out of control, Kagiso Rabada’s shoulder bump in PE did the same and then, in Cape Town, Australian coach Darren Lehmann labelled South African fans “disgraceful” after their alleged abuse of Australia’s players.
Throughout the whole series, in fact, there have been little side stories that have had little to do with cricket dominating headlines.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis simply can’t believe the nature of the series so far.
“It has been bizarre, crazy, ridiculous,” he said after his side’s win in Cape Town.
“We joke about it, but it’s literally like a soap opera.
“There is something happening every day and it is a shame because this has been an incredible series. Apart from probably today, it’s been a very evenly matched series and it’s been amazing to watch.
“There are far too many things happening away from the game that have taken the shine off.”
Du Plessis said he was pleased with how his side had stood up against the off-field controversy in the series so far.
“I feel that we as a team have been very calm under pressure,” he said.
“There have been times in the matches where we have handled it really well and got through some difficult times.
“Today (Sunday) the pressure was getting to them.”
The fourth and final Test of the series will start at the Wanderers on March 30. ― Sport24