England vs South Africa: Faf du Plessis asks batsmen to raise their game to end the tour on a high

AFP, Aug, 03 2017

Manchester: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis wants his batsmen to raise their game as they look to finish their lengthy tour of England with a flourish in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

The Proteas head into the match with only a share of the spoils available to them after a thumping 239-run defeat in the third Test at The Oval left then 2-1 down with just one to play.

File photo of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis. AP

File photo of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis. AP

A tour that started back in mid-May has already seen South Africa lose one-day international and Twenty20 series to England, with the Proteas suffering a disappointing first-round exit in the Champions Trophy as well during their time in England.

But victory at Old Trafford would at least ensure South Africa maintain a proud away Test record.

In their past 19 series they've won 13, drawn five and lost just one — in India in 2015/16.

But if they are to triumph at Old Trafford — a ground where their lone Test win in eight visits came back in 1955 — they will surely need an improved showing from their top order.

For all that South Africa were handicapped at The Oval by the stomach illness suffered by key seamer Vernon Philander, being bowled out for just 175 in their first innings put them at a disadvantage they were never able to overcome in the rest of the match.

They did make a better showing in the second innings, with opener Dean Elgar making their first hundred of the series in a total of 252.

England still won by 239 runs but du Plessis believes left-handed opener Elgar's innings has set a timely example.

"Hopefully the batters can respond well because he showed us how you need to bat in Test match cricket," he said.

"We will try to make sure that we can do exactly what he did in the last Test," added du Plessis, who played at Old Trafford for county side Lancashire.

South Africa will look to Hashim Amla for a big contribution after the star batsman twice fell cheaply to England debutant seamer Toby Roland-Jones in south London.

England off-spinner Moeen Ali ended that match in spectacular fashion with the first hat-trick in The Oval's 100-Test history.

Published Date: Aug 03, 2017 | Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4717 115
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115