NEWDEHLI, India (Reuters) – South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is hoping for a fighting reaction from his beleaguered team as they go into the final test against India at Ranchi on Saturday seeking to avoid a series whitewash.
South Africa suffered their heaviest loss to India in the second test, going down by an innings and 137 runs in Pune last weekend.
They were also clobbered in the first test at Visakhapatnam by 203 runs.
“It’s important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses,” Du Plessis told a news conference on the eve of the first day.
“We can’t expect things just to happen. They won’t happen, because India is a very powerful team at the moment. Their record at home is amazing.
“So for us, it’s just about trying to keep doing the things well, keep practising hard, keep doing the processes as well as you can, and then hopefully it’s just a matter of time and you start winning again.”
South Africa, who host England in December and January, have lost their last four tests – two at home to Sri Lanka in February and the first two of the tour to India.
“It is tough. It is tough when you’re losing,” he added.
“For us, we’re very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who have stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.”
Cricket South Africa’s top officials have been blaming the retirement of the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn for the slump.
But when they were at their peak, India also proved a tough destination for the South Africans, added Du Plessis.
“We came here last time with a very experienced international team that did very well overseas, the best record abroad, and we still found it challenging,” he said.
“There’s an obvious reason that people who come to India find it tough to beat them at home.
“So it’s not all doom and gloom for me in that aspect. It’s about trying to improve as players.
“There are a lot of young guys in the team, and they need to make sure that whatever they get out of this experience, when they come back in three or four years’ time, they’re better and stronger for it.”
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)