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Du Plessis hails Bavuma and De Kock for 'making the impossible very possible'

Faf du Plessis was effusive in his praise for Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock after South Africa staged a remarkable turnaround.

South Africa - cropped
South Africa celebrate a wicket against New Zealand in Wellington

Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock's half-centuries helped South Africa recover from a precarious position to seal a dominant victory over New Zealand inside three days, prompting captain Faf du Plessis to hail the contribution of the obdurate pair.

De Kock made 91 and Bavuma 89 in a 160-run partnership for the seventh wicket during the Proteas' first innings in Wellington, helping the tourists recover from 94-6 to post 359 all out.

They then dispatched the Black Caps for just 171 before reeling in the target with ease at Basin Reserve on Saturday, leaving the skipper to reflect with pride on his side's grit.

"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," Du Plessis said. 

"Lunchtime yesterday 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.

"And it was the way they played… to counter-punch and put the pressure on the opposition was remarkable."

Inclement conditions on the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island did not help South Africa's cause with the ball in hand, particularly for spinners, but Keshav Maharaj (6-40) defied the elements to decimate New Zealand's batting line-up.

"It was a challenge for us. What we asked for this morning was real hard cricketers," Du Plessis said of the conditions and the situation the team found themselves in ahead of the start of play on day three. 

"Mentally we needed to be very strong, to be ready to be challenged and pushed to extremes because it's not conditions we are used to. 

"There were no excuses; the wind and the cold were never going to be excuses. Just real, hard Test cricket and that's what they produced."

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