Francois du Plessis said reaching his first century for Lancashire was like breaking through a ceiling. The South African, who has made no secret of his desire to reach three figures, believes he is now primed for a few more this summer.
The 24 year-old Pretorian helped to book Lancashire’s place in the quarter finals of the Friends Provident Trophy with an eye catching 112 off just 86 balls against Derbyshire in front of the television cameras last week.
It was his 50th innings for the Red Rose county, spanning two summers, and the closest he had come previously was an unbeaten 93 in a one-day friendly against Bangladesh A at Alderley Edge last July.
“To get your first hundred is always the hardest step. It won’t be downhill, but a lot easier,” said a delighted Faf. “I always believe that once you have got the first one, it is like breaking through a ceiling.
While his one-day form was never in question last summer – he also hit a sparkling 77 not out to help confirm a Friends Provident Trophy win against Yorkshire at Old Trafford just over a year ago – his form in the County Championship was perhaps a little sketchy.
He struggled to adapt to the seam and swing movement, something which he eluded to last night: “I just need to get the ball to stop swinging in the Championship,” he chuckled.
On the conditions at Derby, he continued: “There wasn’t much seam movement, which helped me to let my hands go a bit more. When I saw there wasn’t much seam movement, I knew that I could play more aggressively.
“I haven’t felt pressure on me because I have been feeling better about my batting. The other one-day games I have come in to finish things off, so it was nice to go in with a bit of time to play attacking.
“It was a big milestone for me. One of my biggest challenges this season was to see how many centuries I could knock up. When I scored it, it wasn’t so much a weight off my shoulders, I really felt that of all my innings I have played it was a good time to get it.
“I didn’t want to over celebrate. I was really calm and composed in relation to what was going on inside. Hopefully better things are to come.”
Lancashire’s qualification for the last eight, to be played next Saturday, has been assured. But they need to keep winning to ensure they will get a home tie as reward for topping Group D. Lancashire’s last game is against trophy holders Essex at Old Trafford next Wednesday and looks set to decide the group winners.
Du Plessis added: “We want to keep winning, we want to keep building this momentum before the quarter finals. There are still a few things we can improve on.”
Photos: John Riding & Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC