Wessels praises gritty Proteas

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Jaques Kallis helped see Faf du Plessis (right) through the 'nervous nineties'.

Johannesburg – Former Proteas captain Kepler Wessels believes South Africa's fightback in the second Test against Australia will propel the tourists to victory in the third and final match starting in Perth on Friday.

Wessels, who played 24 Tests for Australia in the 1980's, said on Tuesday the Baggy Greens would be “devastated” after settling for a draw in Adelaide.

“They threw everything at South Africa and still didn't get the result,” he said.

Wessels, an analyst for broacaster SuperSport, believed South Africa could only get better.

“I'm not being critical, but the Proteas still haven't played their best yet.

“I expect the bowling to take a step up and conditions in Perth should suit SA.

“Unless Australia are clever in bringing fresh bowlers in, they will struggle to bowl them out twice. The key is to start well, which I expect SA will do.”

Wessels said the second Test, which saw debutant Faf du Plessis making an unbeaten century to save the match on the final day, embraced all that was good about Test cricket.

“I've always said it's the true test of a player's mettle. There's nowhere to hide,” he said.

“South Africa scrapped and scrapped... the last day was a miraculous effort. Hanging on like that is as good as it gets, especially as not many gave them a chance.

“Going into day five, with four wickets down, I had faith, particularly as the Aussie attack is a modest one and the pitch didn't deteriorate as people thought.”

Wessels said Du Plessis deserved all the credit he received in the wake of his defiant century under supreme pressure.

“Having been in similar situations, the pressure is enormous. Sometimes, from a batting point of view, you get into a bubble of concentration where you aren't aware of anything but the next delivery.

“All else is shut out. It's very difficult to get into that zone, but he was in and never wavered.”

Wessels believed South Africa would be in a better frame of mind going into the Perth fixture, needing at least a draw to retain top spot in the International Cricket Council's Test Championship.

“It's set up perfectly for them. This is a good side; they deserve a result and I expect they'll get it.” – Sapa


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