Abu Dhabi report cards: South Africa

Blog Opinion

Jacques Kallis didn't celebrate his 38th birthday in style and JP Duminy slipped seamlessly back into the XI, but perhaps South Africa can't afford a specialist number seven in Faf du Plessis after all.

<b>1. Graeme Smith</b> (15 and 32)<br>A couple of unfulfilled starts left questions hanging over Smith's fitness after ankle surgery. Regardless, the stalwart has seen it all before and will use even the shortest time out in the middle to his benefit. <b>C365 Rating: 4/10</b>

<b>2. Alviro Petersen</b> (3 and 17)<br>A little less time promoting his website and more time honing his batting skills would have been preferred. Perhaps these twin failures have given Dean Elgar a sniff at the opening berth. <b>C365 Rating: 3/10</b>

<b>3. Hashim Amla</b> (118 and 10)<br>With the impending birth of his child weighing heavily on the mind, Amla stuck to the task at hand. Pity his team-mates didn't bring enough support, though. <b>C365 Rating: 8/10</b>

<b>4. Jacques Kallis</b> 5 and 0, 0/44)<br>No runs, no wickets and a dropped catch in the slips – not the best way for the veteran all-rounder to celebrate his 38th birthday. Perhaps that five-month break away from the game was a tad too long. <b>C365 Rating: 4/10</b>

<b>5. AB de Villiers</b> (19 and 90)<br>De Villiers, true to character, fought hard – but to no avail. His second-innings half-century afforded the Proteas an outside chance, and hopefully engendered the response needed in Dubai. <b>C365 Rating: 7.5/10</b>

<b>6. JP Duminy</b> (57 and 0, 2/68)<br>Duminy fitted seamlessly back into the XI after a long layoff due to injury, and his part-time spin will play a consistent part in the Gulf. Admittedly, his second-innings duck was only due to a very questionable lbw decision. <b>C365 Rating: 6.5/10</b>

<b>7. Faf du Plessis</b> (1 and 9)<br>Perhaps South Africa can't afford a specialist number seven after all. The heroics performed in Australia are gradually taking a back seat to du Plessis' overlying flaws. <b>C365 Rating: 3/10</b>

<b>8. Robin Peterson</b> (0/111 and 0/14, 5 and 47*)<br>Wicket-less, but still a better bet than Imran Tahir. These sorts of conditions are going to require quicker turn, though. With the bat, Peterson remains a welcome number eight. <b>C365 Rating: 6.5/10</b>

<b>9. Vernon Philander</b> (3/84 and 2/11, 3 and 10)<br>Stock-standard consistency with the ball from Philander, but South Africa have to start asking more of him as an all-rounder. <b>C365 Rating: 7.5/10</b>

<b>10. Dale Steyn</b> (3/88 and 1/7)<br>A shoddy opening spell on the first morning set a shaky precedent, and Steyn and South Africa never really recovered. Pakistan refused to pander to the mind games of facing the world's greatest fast bowler. <b>C365 Rating: 6/10</b>

<b>11. Morne Morkel</b> (1/35 and 0/12)<br>A 50th Test cap would be Morkel's only milestone in Abu Dhabi, where he proved entirely economical – but economy is not what fans want from a strike bowler. <b>C365 Rating: 5/10</b>

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