Francois du Plessis has a bright future, says Dominic Cork
Dominic Cork hailed Francois du Plessis after his epic innings denied Australia in the second Test.
Last Updated: 26/11/12 4:43pm
Another double ton from Michael Clarke and centuries from David Warner and Michael Hussey in the first innings put the hosts in charge in Adelaide and after bowling South Africa out for 388 and then adding 267 to their total in quick time it seemed Australia were poised to go 1-0 up in the series.
However, South Africa survived five sessions with Du Plessis - who scored 78 in the first innings - the rock around which the tourists built their resistance and go into the third and final Test in Perth with every chance of snatching a series win.
"You could see in his interview at the end of the match how tired he was physically, mentally as well," the former England man told Sky Sports.
"Australia tried everything to get into his head: they bowled different ways at him, bowled different bowlers at him.
"But all in all you've got to look at this man here and think 'why hasn't he played more Test cricket up until now?'. If he can do this on his debut against an Australian side who had momentum and really should have won this game, you look at Du Plessis and think 'what a bright future for him', even though he's not a young guy."
Cork also praised Du Plessis for altering his aggressive style to a more defensive approach and secure the draw.
"It was all about time at the crease," he said.
"It's easy to say 'I'm an aggressive batsman' and go out there and just hit the ball or say 'I'm an aggressive bowler so you have to accept I'm going for four an over'. But as a cricketer you have to change for the circumstances.
"Du Plessis had to bat time today and frustrate the opposition. He knew if he could set it up with partnerships with AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis it would shelter and protect that tail end, which did look a little delicate as Peter Siddle was running in at the end."
Former Australian all-rounder Ian Harvey was equally impressed with Du Plessis' efforts and predicted he would become a fixture in the South African side for years to come.
"He got his opportunity through a little bit of bad luck for JP Duminy in that first Test in Brisbane but he's come in and really made the most of it," Harvey said.
"That shows character but also so does the way he played in his second innings and the way he adapted to the circumstances. In the first innings he came out and played his shots but in this innings it wasn't about runs, it was about spending time in the middle and he did that.
"He looks like he's got a big future in that middle order for South Africa."