Combating Mitchell Starc is the key, says Faf du Plessis
The preparations for the first Test of the Australia-South Africa series have been pretty intense over the last few days and both the teams will be looking to make a mark in the series right from the first game. The war of words is usually common when it comes to a series involving Australia and it holds true to this series as well. While several players have already begun their mind games, Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said that countering Mitchell Starc will be the key in his team's quest for a third consecutive Test series victory Down Under.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, du Plessis said that he and his players will be looking to negotiate the 'Starc factor' during the Test series. He said, "It's important how we play him. If we are going to win this series, it's going to be how well we have played him."
The stand-in skipper said that he and his team are aware of what Starc is capable of and hence will be looking to counter-attack the Australians. "He is a fantastic bowler, a guy that swings the ball and bowls quick. Any captain would say that is someone they want in the team. It's important for us to make sure he doesn't get his tail up and doesn't get wickets – that means we have put a big threat for Australia aside," du Plessis was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Earlier, skipper of the Australian team, Steven Smith, had said that he would be looking to use Starc in short spells just how Mitchell Johnson was used a couple of years ago. Reacting to which du Plessis said that his team was mentally prepared and would be looking to survive through those short fiery spells of Starc.
With the weather forecast stating the next few days to be bright and sunny, du Plessis said that the idea will be to bat as long as possible and make the opposition tired. "That's the plan. The plan is to bat for as long as possible," du Plessis said.
However, the right-hand batsman seemed to disagree with the statement of South African batsmen having an edge over the Australian bowlers due to lack of preparations by Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. Faf du Plessis also said that the previous results here would count for little and said he would consult injured skipper AB de Villiers and former captain Graeme Smith, who led the Proteas to victories in 2008 and 2012, for advice before play.
The first Test is scheduled to start on the 3rd of November in the WACA at Perth. The second and the third Test will be held in Hobart and Adelaide respectively.