South African skipper Quinton de Kock lavished high praise on senior batsman Faf du Plessis while highlighting the need to find the balance between youth and experience. South Africa had a relatively young bowling attack for the first Test with the likes of Ngidi, Nortje, Mulder and Lutho Sipamla.
After getting whitewashed by Sri Lanka last time they toured South Africa and with the visitors at 284 for 4 under 66 overs on day one, South Africa must have had their hearts in their mouth with a young bowling attack. But then Sri Lanka managed 396 only after a great start and injuries to their players helped South Africa batsmen post up a big first-innings score. Led by Faf du Plessis who made a colossal 199 - his career-best - Proteas plundered 621 after which there was no coming back for Sri Lanka as they lost the Test on the fourth day itself by an innings and 45 runs.
After the game, Quinton de Kock praised his former skipper for standing up in pressure situation and also stated that there needs to be a proper balance in the side.
"You need to find that balance (between youth and experience) and Faf came out and showed his leadership qualities. He has been in a lot of pressure situations and there is no better player in the team for that," De Kock was quoted as saying by Reuters in the press, reported TOI.
The seam attack of South Africa was missing Kagiso Rabada and had an inexperienced bowling attack comprising the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder and Lutho Sipamla with only 12 Test appearances between them in the first Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion. All-rounder Wiaan Mulder put up a great show as he took five wickets in the game and also made 36 with the bat and was rightly appreciated by the skipper.
"(Mulder’s) results speak for themselves, any team with an all-rounder that can add value with the ball and the bat is always key. It was great to see a youngster come out and bowl with maturity and intent," De Kock said.
Sipamla after struggling for consistency in his opening spell on day one, did well to finish with six wickets in the Test. Kock felt the youngster showed a lot of character after initial struggles.
"It was just Test match debut nerves. We spoke to him and he came back really nicely," De Kock said. "He showed great character and it was great to see his fight."
South Africa have taken a 1-0 lead and will play Sri Lanka in the second Test in Johannesburg starting on January 3, with a fit-again Kagiso Rabada set to play the game.