Olivier, playing in only his fifth Test, bowled 10 overs unchanged at the start of the day on Sunday and troubled the tourists’ batsmen with his hostile pace and bounce.
That spell set the tone for the Proteas as they ran through the Tigers’ batting order to dismiss them for 172 and wrap up an innings and 254-run win inside three days.
Although Olivier only had one wicket to show for his efforts – with Kagiso Rabada taking 10 in the match – Du Plessis hailed the Knights paceman who was playing on his home ground.
Du Plessis said of Olivier after the game: “That’s what you want to see from young bowlers. You want to see improvement, that they can learn quickly at the highest level, because the guys that can learn, you can stick with them,”
“The way he bowled today was a fantastic effort. To bowl 10 overs on the trot of short-ball work takes incredible effort, so I have to take my hat off to him. He was our best bowler today.”
The 25-year-old Olivier, who has taken 17 wickets in his five Tests, was only playing because of injuries to Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.
Du Plessis said it was important for the Proteas to create depth in the seam bowling department and that the younger players have the quality to step up when they are needed.
The Proteas skipper continued: “There is a difference in our top four seamers, they are world class, best-in-the-world kind of bowlers. So if you judge guys according to them, there would be a gap.