‘This is my best ever hundred’

Faf du Plessis, motivated by the events of his controversial ball-tampering case, ranked his unbeaten century in South Africa’s pink-ball Test with Australia on Thursday as the best of his career.

The Proteas skipper hit an unbeaten 118 and then caught the Australians off-guard with a surprise declaration at 259 for nine to have the tourists in a good position at the end of the opening day of the third Adelaide Test.

Australia, who were unable to use David Warner to open the innings over the time he sought off-field treatment, got to stumps at 14 without loss.

It had been a tumultuous few days for du Plessis, who was found guilty of ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council after he was caught on camera sucking a mint and rubbing saliva into the ball during last week’s second Test against Australia in Hobart.

Given all the drama from his much-publicised appearance at the hearing it was a remarkable effort of concentration and will for du Plessis to conquer the Australian bowlers and post his sixth Test century, one he rates as his best.

“My best. Everything. What was required to get to this point now. Surprisingly, technically, I was the best this whole series. I felt really good, but in the context of everything else, (it was) the best,” he told reporters.

“I was really motivated. I felt it needed a character test, and the only way I could do it was by scoring runs.”

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