CAPE TOWN – “Sometimes you’ll still lose by improving.” That was the sentiment from Proteas captain Faf du Plessis in the aftermath of the 189-run defeat to England in the second Test at Newlands.
South Africa fought valiantly on the final day, having started Tuesday with the daunting task of 312 more runs for victory, or batting out 90 overs to draw the match with eight wickets in hand.
They nearly got there, coming up 8.2 overs short in the end, when Vernon Philander gloved a vicious delivery from Ben Stokes to Ollie Pope at slip to conclude a thrilling finish late on day five.
Du Plessis himself admitted to a “mental error” when on 19 – and less than half-an-hour before lunch – he played a full-blooded sweep off the bowling of off-spinner Dominic Bess, which went straight to Joe Denly at square leg.
Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock lost concentration in similar fashion in the final session when, having reached his half-century, he pulled a long-hop from Denly to Zak Crawley at midwicket.
In the video below, Du Plessis tried to explain where the match was lost by his team, as well as his views on four-day Tests as opposed to five days, after Cricket South Africa stated that their “official policy” was to support four-day matches.