duanne olivier
Duanne Olivier (second from left) celebrates after dismissing a Pakistan batsman (AFP Photo)

After beating Pakistan inside three days of the first Test in Centurion, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said that he backs the tracks that are more pace friendly than batting even though it makes the lives of their batsmen tough.

South Africa boast of one of the best seam bowling attacks in the world currently that comprises Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi among others. And they continue to churn out top pacers as Duanne Olivier showed, finishing with 11 wickets in the match that included two five-wicket hauls.

“The wickets that we want to play on are the ones that assist our seam bowling attack,” Du Plessis was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “We have the best seam bowling attack, statistically, in the world. It would be stupid to not to make the use of that. So, if that makes our lives, the batters, a little bit tougher and as long as we are winning matches, I will be smiling at the end. We joke about it all the time that you rather be wanting to bat as an opening batsman in Australia as Dean [Elgar] would often say. But for me it is about winning matches. So we are preparing wickets that are not flat, but the ones which will assist seamers.”

The Centurion pitch was termed as bowler’s paradise by Pakistan captain Safraz Ahmed with just one wicket going into the kitty of a spinner (Yasir Shah of Pakistan). Although, Pakistan seemed to have adjusted to the conditions well in their second dig when they had reached 101/1 after being bowled out for 181 in their first innings on Day 1.

But their age-old propensity to capitulate in the second/fourth innings came to the fore yet again and they folded for 190, setting the hosts 149 to win.

“Pakistan batted brilliantly in the second innings,” Du Plessis said. “They were 100 for 1 and we expected them to set us a higher target than they did with the pitch becoming good for batting. The seam movement did go away. This morning it was overcast. There was rain last night which made the moisture come back up again. We were back to almost day one pitch. So, a lot of different things have happened to this pitch over the course of the match. And, this is what you want in Test cricket: to play in different stages and adapt to them.”

Du Plessis and Sarfraz created an unwanted record when both the captains were failed to score in either of the innings. They thus became the first captains to be dismissed for a pair in the same Test.

“Fantastic Test match! Certainly it will go down as my one of the best,” Du Plessis quipped. “In the first innings, the ball bounced a bit. Thankfully, Theunis [de Bruyn] gave me the opportunity to make sure I get a pair. Thankfully, it is a part of a record. So as long as I am breaking records I am happy.”