Faf du Plessis remained not out on 51* at end of Day 3 © Getty Images
Faf du Plessis remained not out on 51* at end of Day 3 © Getty Images

After a horrible run in 2015, there was some good news in store for South Africa in the second Test against England at Cape Town. It all started with captain Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, and ended with Faf du Plessis as the trio registered the much-needed double and triple-digit scores. Amla ended on the day unbeaten on 157 not out while de Villiers missed out on a century by 12 runs, getting out on 88. Du Plessis remaining on not-out on 51. Vishal Mehra takes a note of how du Plessis’s homecoming will only hold good for South Africa going into the remainder of the series. Live Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs England, 2nd Test at Cape Town

Faf du Plessis, who was presented with the ICC T20I Player of the Year Award 2015 for his spectacular innings of 119 off 56 balls against the West Indies at the Wanderers Stadium, had a rather lowly affair in the longest-format of the game with a home series and away tours to Bangladesh and India respectively. Du Plessis started with 122 balls 68 against West Indies in 3rd Test at the very same ground he now stands at 51 not out .i.e Cape Town. Live Cricket Score: South Africa vs England 2015-16, 1st Test, Day 4 at Cape Town

Du Plessis’s next best came in a rain-marred first Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong, were he made 48 runs off 122 balls before getting out leg-before wicket (lbw) to Shakib-al-Hassan. This trend continued in the India tour more so in Tests with his seven innings resulting in only 60 runs at a pitiable average of 8.37 with best of 39 runs. What was more staggering was that all his dismissals were at the hands of the spinners, with Ravindra Jadeja dismissing him four times in four matches. ALSO READ: Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis guide South Africa past 350 at stumps on Day 3, 2nd Test at Cape Town

But this was last year. Fast forward to January 4; Faf played a persevering innings on Day 3 with South Africa needing more 361 runs to gain a lead over England’s total of 629. More so as South Africa required more than 120 runs to avoid follow-on.  Du Plessis who came in after AB de Villiers’s mammoth 183 run-stand with Amla, and was able to build an unbroken 85-run stand along with Amla.

Du Plessis looked startlingly comfortable against Stuart Broad, Steven Finn  James Anderson and Ben Stokes, scoring 42 of the 51 runs in his innings off the pacers. Against the spin duo of Moeen Ali and Joe Root, du Plessis employed a rather calmed and unhurried approach making only eight runs. The No. 4 batsman played around 115 balls, hitting six boundaries in contrast to his 56-ball 119 last year. ALSO READ: Dean Elgar, Dane Piedt: Knights among men for South Africa

As we move on to Day Four, Du Plessis will look to get a big century in order to get prove his cynics wrong, who only deem him worthy of T20 style cricket. With more 2 Tests remaining in the series and perhaps a batting opportunity in the second innings in this match Du Plessis would feel more tranquil and reassured about himself with a unbeaten 51* on Day Three.

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, and plays cricket once a white moon. His twitter handle is @vishal_oxyjinn)