South Africa have started year 2019 in grand fashion as they sealed their seventh consecutive series win at home when they defeated Pakistan by nine wickets in the second Test at Newlands Cape Town. Chasing a mere 41 runs, South Africa lost Theunis de Bruyn cheaply but they coasted home to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after winning the Centurion Test by six wickets in three days. However, the celebrations were marred when the ICC announced that Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis was banned for the final Test in Johannesburg. In a statement released by the ICC, du Plessis has been suspended for one Test and fined 20 per cent of his match fees, while his players have been fined 10 per cent of their match fees, for maintaining a slow over-rate in the Newlands Test. ICC match referee David Boon imposed the suspension on du Plessis after South Africa were found to be one over short after time allowances were taken into consideration.
Du Plessis was last fined for a slow over-rate during the Centurion Test against India in 2017 which South Africa won and according to Article 2.2.1, which relates to minor over-rate offences, a second minor over-rate offence within a 12-month period results in a one-match ban. For du Plessis, the suspension is a culmination of a roller-coaster series. The South Africa skipper, along with Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, became the first set of captains to be dismissed for a pair in the same Test during the game in Centurion. The skipper roared back with a brilliant century in Newlands and admitted that he was under pressure heading into the game.
“However experienced you may be, if you don't score runs in one game, you still feel the pressure in the next game. I felt last year I batted the best in a long time, but to go through a pair and all of a sudden the mental game starts coming in. A few doubts, a few negative thoughts. For me before the start of this game, I wanted to block out that noise. I wanted to be in a good mental space. You think the experienced players are untouchable when it comes to things like these, but we also humanly go through thought patterns like that. For me it was a true test of my character,” du Plessis said.