South Africa must improve mentally after their resounding series defeat in India, says skipper Faf du Plessis.

India hammerings caused South Africa 'mental scars', says Du Plessis


Faf du Plessis admits South Africa's humiliating Test series in India exposed plenty of "mental scars" for the Proteas.

Things started badly for the tourists in a 202-run hammering in the opening contest, before they were battered by an innings and 137 runs in the second match.

India showed absolutely no let up in Ranchi and took the final two wickets they needed on Tuesday to win the third and final Test by an innings and 202 runs.

Only five of South Africa's 16-man squad had previously played in India and Du Plessis feels a lack of experience was clear.

"When we play in the subcontinent, our style of bowling is not successful. You have to adapt your style to the style that is required," he said. 

"Obviously, someone like Dale Steyn was effective in the subcontinent because he has a similar skill set. He is a skiddy bowler off the pitch, hits the stumps, whereas if you are missing the stumps a lot or bouncing it over the stumps, it's not as effective here.

"Seam bowling is one area; spin they were better than us and from a batting unit, exceptional ruthlessness in the way they put massive scores on the board. 

"That's one of the reasons why mentally we were so weak towards the end. Obviously, they did bat first every time, which made it easier but they still put on 500, 500, 600 and the scoreboard pressure, the effect that it has on you mentally as a batting line-up, it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of toll. 

"You just feel like there's no opportunity or no moment in the game when you can hide. Your body is tired, your mind is tired and then you make mistakes.

"Our next journey is to try and make sure we get a lot stronger as a cricketing team mentally. As you can see, a tour like this reveals that there is a lot of mental scars that can happen and then obviously it's difficult to come out of the hole. 

"We played our best match in the first match and the consistent pressure that was on us made us weaker with every Test match that we played. 

"It tells me we are not mentally strong as a team and that some work is required in that department."

South Africa have lost a lot of experience, with Steyn and Hashim Amla among those to retire in 2019.

But Du Plessis, 35, will not relinquish his captaincy and is determined to unearth the next generation of Proteas leaders.

"How I see my journey unfolding with this team is to help with the transition period," he added. 

"That's something we spoke about before that wasn't necessarily the case before. Graeme Smith was a successful captain for a very long time and then after that, it was like, 'what now, who is going to captain the side, what's going to happen?' 

"This period is to try and make that process a bit smoother, identifying the next leaders, identifying the next captains, working with them, and then when that time is right, that time will be right."



Bavuma not cross with Morkel

I felt for him! Bavuma not bitter at missing ton due to Morkel duck

Morne Morkel was left hugely frustrated after his golden duck denied Temba Bavuma the chance to make a century against Australia.


England strengthen grip on Test

England strengthen grip on second Test against New Zealand

Stuart Broad, Mark Stoneman and James Vincent impressed as England reached 202-3 at stumps on day three of the second Test on Sunday.


Warner is 'seriously struggling'

Warner 'seriously struggling' after ball-tampering scandal, says wife

Candice Warner has said she blames herself for her husband's part in the ball-tampering scandal during Australia's tour of South Africa.


Bad break for Paine in fourth Test

Paine to play through the pain in fourth Test

Australia have confirmed Tim Paine suffered a hairline fracture during day two of the series finale against South Africa.


Thorpe: Cook is still hungry

Thorpe backing 'hungry' Cook despite lean tour of New Zealand

Despite scoring just 23 runs in the two-match series against New Zealand, Alastair Cook remains hungry to play Test cricket for England.