Proteas captain Faf du Plessis raises his arms in delight after reaching his hundred against Pakistan at Newlands. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Faf du Plessis is a man for the big occasion. And they don’t come much bigger than the New Year Test at Newlands.

Du Plessis lapped up the festive atmosphere here on the second day of the second Test on Friday to stroke a masterful ninth century, mixing grit and courage with sublime artistry.

His efforts were certainly appreciated by the knowledgeable Newlands crowd, as they rose in unison to applaud the skipper all the way back to pavilion when he was eventually dismissed by Shaheen Afridi (3/112) for 103 off 226 balls (13x4).

Du Plessis found an able partner in Temba Bavuma as the pair shared a 156-run partnership for the fifth wicket to power South Africa to 382/6 at stumps.

Bavuma (75) had benefited from two decisions that were overturned by the third umpire, with firstly the television replays once again ruling in favour of the batsman when a slip catch was initially given the soft signal of ‘out’, and then later an lbw appeal.

The DRS showed that the ball was actually going over the top of the stumps.

But despite the good fortune, Bavuma could once again not convert a promising half-century into a three-figure score, with his lone Test century coming against England at the same ground three years ago almost to the very day.

Pakistan’s pain continued, though, with Quinton de Kock striking a rapid half-century off just 59 balls, which leaves the visitors trailing by 205 runs and the daunting prospect of avoiding defeat in this Test and the series.


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