First Test report cards: South Africa

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Vernon Philander endured a forgettable match, Dean Elgar answered the country's call, Imran Tahir remains in limbo – and more.

<b>Alviro Petersen</b><br><i>34 and 32</i><br>Remains the most questionable fit at the top of the order, but won't be in real jeopardy until Elgar is entirely settled and de Kock as an opener becomes a genuine option. <b>Cricket365 rating: 5/10</b>

<b>Dean Elgar</b><br><i>103 and 12, 0/25 and 0/1</i><br>Opportunity knocked in the wake of Graeme Smith's resignation, and Elgar was quick to oblige, reaping the experience gained across numerous 'A' tours to the sub-continent. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8.5/10</b>

<b>Faf du Plessis</b><br><i>80 and 37</i><br>Charged with the coveted number three position after Jacques Kallis' retirement and Amla's move one notch down the order, du Plessis has always had the temperament and technique to succeed here. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>

<b>Hashim Amla</b><br><i>11 and 22</i><br>A triumphant start to Amla's tenure as captain will negate a twin failures with the bat. Too soon to tell if the additional responsibility of the leadership will take its toll on his primary role as a batsman. <b>Cricket365 rating: 5/10</b>

<b>AB de Villiers</b><br><i>21 and 51</i><br>The victim of an aboslute peach of a delivery from Suranga Lakmal in the first innings, de Villiers rectified the status quo by blitzing an entertaining half-century to afford a prompt declaration in the second. <b>Cricket365 rating: 7/10</b>

<b>Quinton de Kock</b><br><i>51 and 36, 8 ct, 1 st</i><br>Entirely safe behind the stumps and studious in the middle order, de Kock did enough to be retained – even if a fit-again de Villiers is able to keep wicket in Colombo. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>

<b>JP Duminy</b><br><i>100 not out and 8 not out, 1/47 and 2/38</i><br>With Smith and Kallis gone, the time is now for Duminy's importance as a senior batsman to be recognised – especially by himself. Two top-order wickets, too, showed his role with the ball is quickly burgeoning. <b>Cricket365 rating: 8/10</b>

<b>Vernon Philander</b><br><i>0/31 and 0/34, 27</i><br>Wicketless in a Test match for only the second time, Philander will want to forget this one quickly, largely due to accusations and guilt of ball-tampering. <b>Cricket365 rating: 4/10</b>

<b>Dale Steyn</b><br><i>5/54 and 4/45</i><br>Now statistically greater than greats of the game like Dennis Lillee and Imran Khan, Steyn defied conditions primed for batsmen and turn with a remarkable display of reverse swing. Deservedly Man of the Match. <b>Cricket365 rating: 9.5/10</b>

<b>Morne Morkel</b><br><i>3/49 and 4/29</i><br>Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis – most great fast bowlers operate in pairs, and Morkel's combination with Steyn is certainly not an exception. <b>Cricket365 rating: 9/10</b>

<b>Imran Tahir</b><br><i>1/75 and 0/64</i><br>Rather predictable and ineffective, Tahir didn't blow hot nor cold, but found that uncomfortable, average middle ground that will leave fans and pundits alike undecided. <b>Cricket365 rating: 4.5/10</b>

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