South African batsman Faf du Plessis, believes a that a good performance with the bat is exactly the confidence booster the hosts needed. However, he maintained that the hard work was far from over as they still need 77 to avoid the follow-on against England.(Amla Leads Fightback)
"We were behind the eight ball from day one, England played extremely well," du Plessis said while addressing the media after a fighting 51 not out.
"It needed a really resilient performance from us to try and get back into the game and that's what we did today. We didn't score as quickly as England did but for us it was just to get back into the Test match, that was all we could do. To lose one wicket in the day is an extremely good effort from the batting unit. I'm really proud of Hashim (Amla), to get a big score like he did today, the team is proud of him."(Amla, De Villiers Join Elite List)
Currently a result is not the top priority for the Proteas as they will look to keep England on the field for as long as possible. Du Plessis confessed that they would not rest on their laurels and continue the good work on Tuesday. He hoped the youngsters would also get a go out in the middle.
"We are not a team that will sit here and say everything has changed and we are on top of the wave," Du Plessis admitted.
"We know that there is a lot of hard work still to be done. Consistency in batting is what we have achieved as a Test team over a long period of time so the only way we can quieten the critics is to be consistent. We still have a few young guys and it's unfair to expect the world from them. They are new to Test cricket and they are going to learn. Hopefully we can be in a position tomorrow where guys like Temba and Quinton can come in and play their natural game without much pressure and once they are in a position to play their own game they can play with freedom which will be a lot easier," he added.
Du Plessis nevertheless did say that if a situation cropped up where South Africa were in the driver's seat they would certainly try and push for victory.
"I think with England scoring such a big score in the first innings and at the rate that they did, it put us under a lot of pressure," he said.
"For me tomorrow will just be about batting and batting at a rate that AB and Hashim batted at, just over three runs an over. The English bowling attack is experienced so you have to acknowledge that, I don't think you can expect to go at five or six runs an over. Our plan will be to bat as long as possible and pick up the rate, if the Test match turns into a situation where we can do something to win then we will take it from there."
Hashim Amla (157*) and AB de Villiers (88) had put on 183 runs for the third wicket on Monday.