There is a distinct reason which makes South Africa such a successful Test side. It lies in the fact that the Proteas are profusely efficient in adapting to overseas conditions and find themselves at ease in all situations. Barring their series defeat to India (in India) in 2015, the Proteas have enjoyed success in Tests away from home.
The Wellington Test against New Zealand was just another instance of their resilience in desperate measures. After being reduced to 94/6 at one stage, the South Africans came back out of nowhere to gain a first innings lead. Then on the third day, thanks to an inspiring spell from Keshav Maharaj, the visitors dismissed New Zealand cheaply and in return chased down the target (of 81) with eight wickets still intact.
Post the win, skipper Faf du Plessis lauded his team for a fine performance.
“It’s happened a few times this season where we’ve been in impossible situations and then there’s one or two guys putting their hand up and making the impossible very possible,” Faf said.
“Lunch time (on Saturday) felt like not too long ago, and now we’ve won a Test match so just that shift in pressure was really well handled.”
“We’ve found this ability to have a lot of faith in our batting line-up, whoever they are, to stand up to pressure situations. Quinton and Temba hadn’t been in massive run-spells these last couple of games, so for both of them to do it at a critical time says a lot about them mentally,” du Plessis said.
“And it was the way they played that was impressive. To counter-punch and put the pressure on the opposition was remarkable.”
Du Plessis, in particular, mentioned his elation for the role played by JP Duminy in the series so far.
“What was really good for me was the way JP bowled in this match,” du Plessis said.
“That confidence from the bowling was something I was looking for. We gave him a little bit more responsibility and he got through it really well. He didn’t score a hundred in the second innings but the way he played looked really good. It’s the way he plays at his best with positive body language.”