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Faf du Plessis’ wind-ups don’t care about Dominic Sibley as opener helps England dominate third day

Faf du Plessis’ wind-ups don’t care about Dominic Sibley, as opener helps England dominate day three against South Africa in Cape Town

  • Dominic Sibley hit 85 unbeaten when England dominated South Africa over Newlands
  • The opener showed calm during a monumental concentration of concentration
  • Hosts resorted to a range of tactics to try to upset the Warwickshire man

It’s not common for South African teams to meet their game when it comes to bloody exhaustion, but Dominic Sibley had his buddy on Newlands.

It was a monumental display of concentration and he handled considerably more than just bowling.

Proceedings on the field became thorny as the home team resorted to all possible tactics to break the 73-run score between Sibley and Joe Denly and then the 116-run partnership between the Warwickshire opener and captain Joe Root.

England opener Dominic Sibley showed exhaustion against South Africa in Cape Town

England opener Dominic Sibley showed exhaustion against South Africa in Cape Town

Not since their own Jacques Kallis slammed into a lead-wrapped bubble, the Proteas have come across a player so clearly insensitive to any minus or sting, verbally or otherwise.

Faf du Plessis placed a fielder, Rassie van der Dussen, directly in front of Sibley when he reached the end of the non-striker. Not only did he say nothing, he didn’t seem to notice. He believed that it was the job of the referee to intervene and indeed, Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena duly had a word with the fielder.

Sibley was reminded that he was one-dimensional and unable to play through the offside. He hardly blinked but flinched. He blocked another half dozen overs and then drove with Kagiso Rabada for four and cover spinner Keshav Maharaj for another frontier.

The Warwickshire batsman produced a major 116-run collaboration with Captain Joe Root

The Warwickshire batsman produced a major 116-run collaboration with Captain Joe Root

The Warwickshire batsman produced a major 116-run collaboration with Captain Joe Root

His club spoke of everything necessary. The more the home side pushed sticks into his cage in search of a response, the calmer and less disturbed he seemed to get.

Sibley’s resistance may have contributed to Du Plessis’s decision to return to negative cricket surprisingly early.

After dominating an unwell team in England at Centurion last week and causing two hits, the South Africans had reason to believe that the application of defensive pressure could work again – especially after a terrible scorecard in the first innings here with three 30’s and a 40 among the top five batsmen.

Captain Faf du Plessis from South Africa had to resort to desperate tactics to upset Sibley

Captain Faf du Plessis from South Africa had to resort to desperate tactics to upset Sibley

Captain Faf du Plessis from South Africa had to resort to desperate tactics to upset Sibley

But this time was different. Bowling dots and girls to Sibley was like feeding dead branches in a shredder. For the first time in seven days of this increasingly exciting series, the home team looked empty, tired and uninspired.

A kind word of warning to anyone who believes, however, that a victory in England will be a formality from this position of tremendous strength. Once or twice a decade, a test competition field ‘dies’ in South Africa. It happened to the Wanderers in 1995 when Michael Atherton didn’t bring his epic 185 out of the closet to save the test.

It also happened on Newlands. Cool weather is forecast for the remaining two days, meaning that deterioration of the playing surface is unlikely. The bowlers of England will last for a long time. They will undoubtedly know that.

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