The recent history between the two teams has been filled with acrimony; from Du Plessis being caught sucking a mint sweet in the second Test in Hobart in 2016, to the Kingsmead stairwell incident earlier this year, followed by the shoulder “barge” between Kagiso Rabada and Steve Smith, and then most dramatically the ball-tampering affair at Newlands in the third Test.
Asked what kind of reception he was expecting when the team land in Sydney today, Du Plessis, pictured, replied: “Nice and hostile.”
The last Test series between the two teams played in SA earlier this year was more akin to a soap opera than a cricket series with memories of the Proteas tour to Australia two years ago still fresh. Du Plessis endured the “mintgate” saga after Australian TV caught him sucking on a sweet and shining the ball in the second Test of that series which led to a bizarre incident at Adelaide airport where Wadee pushed a local TV reporter who was trying to shove his microphone into the faces of the SA players.
Du Plessis is aware that his team will arguably be more closely monitored by the Australian media over the next three weeks than at any time previously.
“It’s a poker game also ... we expect them to try and unsettle us as team in the media. Having been at the forefront for quite a bit of it, we see it as part and parcel of playing in Australia,” said the SA captain.
“I think this time around there might be one or two more traps for the players to try and stay away from.”
SA will play three one-day internationals and a one-off T20 match against the Australians and Du Plessis said he’d be telling his younger players not to be put off by the raucous Australian crowds. “It’s not an easy place to travel. The crowds do play their part, they are like a 12th man.”