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'Surprised' Du Plessis Confident of Squaring Series in Port Elizabeth

"We're very proud about our record - we have made sure that we've made our home a fortress"

Cricketnext Staff |February 20, 2019, 10:41 PM IST
'Surprised' Du Plessis Confident of Squaring Series in Port Elizabeth

Faf du Plessis admitted he was left "surprised" by Kusal Perera's 153* blitzkrieg that handed the hosts a one-wicket defeat in Durban but hopes that familiar conditions in the second and final Test in Port Elizabeth starting Thursday (February 21) will help his side stage a comeback in the series.

"They (Sri Lanka) surprised us with the way they played in Durban, but here there will be bit of sideways movement," said du Plessis ahead of the second Test. "In Durban, there's not lot of that. Kingsmead always has a five-wicket-haul for spinners."

Sri Lanka had come into the series with a pretty poor record in 2018 and were given quite a few chances against South Africa, who have been rock solid at home in the last few years. However, an all-round show coupled with the Perera madness in the end has ensured they cannot lose the series.

Du Plessis said that his side was disappointed with the result in the first Test but is confident of squaring the series come the second Test.

"We're very proud about our record - we have made sure that we've made our home a fortress," du Plessis said. "For the last two years or so, I don't think we played a bad game against Sri Lanka at home. But we need to be better to beat them.

"Yes, the guys were very disappointed. I felt we were in control pretty much most of the Test match and then something brilliant took it away from us. There are areas we want to improve on for this Test match but we also understand that there were not a lot of mistakes made in the first game. It's a disappointing thing with a short series and we obviously only play two matches. For us it's about making sure we can square up the series."

Du Plessis will further draw confidence from South Africa's record at St. George's Park which has largely been a happy hunting ground for them. They have won four out of the last five encounters at the venue while drawing one. Sri Lanka have played just one Test here which they lost by 206 runs in 2016.

The South African captain hoped there would be some sideways movement for the pacers.

"It looks a normal pitch for me. It has looked like this for the last two years. We have played Australia and Sri Lanka here in the last two Tests. The grass tends to look a bit thick a day or two before the game, but the wind, when it blows like today, dries it quickly," he quipped.

"So the groundsman tends to keep most of the moisture before the Test match and then take a decision on the morning of the match. Hopefully there will be some sideways movement for our seamers."

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