Du Plessis Century Steers South Africa To Battling Draw
Francois du Plessis batted throughout the final day of the second Test in Adelaide, scoring an unbeaten century to ensure South Africa and Australia drew.
His unbeaten 110 occupied 376 deliveries and along with heroic efforts from AB de VIlliers and Jacques Kallis, South Africa kept Australia at bay, closing on 248 for eight in their second innings.
They had been set a nominal target of 429 but once they slipped to 45 for four on the penultimate day, their chief objective was simply to avoid defeat.
Du Plessis on debut, helped them manage that despite a gutsy performance from Australia, led by Peter Siddle, who took four for 65 including the late wickets of Dale Steyn and Rory Kleinveldt that ensured a tense finale.
Resuming on 77 for four, de Villiers faced 220 balls in making 33 before he was bowled by Siddle, having put on 89 with du Plessis for the fifth wicket but more significantly, used up 68 overs in doing so.
Kallis was batting down the order due to the hamstring strain that rendered him unable to take the field and he made 46 in 110 balls as he and du Plessis shared a 99-run stand for the sixth wicket, although their runs came quicker.
When Nathan Lyon had Kallis caught by Ed Cowan, Australia sensed victory with du Plessis then left with the bowlers for company, although time was running out.
Not many teams would survive 20 more overs with six wickets down and only one recognised batsman at the crease but the Proteas managed it.
Du Plessis brought up his hundred from 310 balls and Steyn registered a 28-ball duck, becoming Siddle's third wicket when he was caught by Rob Quiney. Siddle summoned up all of his strength to bowl Kleinveldt for three but they were unable to get the wicket they really needed, that of du Plessis.
Morne Morkel struck a couple of boundaries in the final over of the game, although Australia were happy to let him have the runs to keep him on strike. In the end though, it didn't matter and du Plessis had played one of the great rearguard knocks his side has ever seen.
The opening Test in Brisbane was also drawn, albeit in slightly less dramatic circumstances.
© Cricket World 2012
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