Report Cards: South Africa at Centurion

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South Africa lost the first Test against Australia by 218 runs on Saturday, with only AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn doing anything remotely positive. Needless to say, the report cards reflect an epic fail.

South Africa lost the first Test against Australia by 218 runs on Saturday, with only AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn doing anything remotely positive. Needless to say, the report cards reflect an epic fail.

<b>Graeme Smith</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 3<br><b>Runs</b>: 10 and 4

The Proteas skipper lost a lot of points for putting the visitors in to bat, as it turned out to be one of the more disastrous toss wins for him. After a first session that saw three wickets fall, the Proteas sucked for the rest of the game.

Biff himself was dire with the bat, and gave his wicket to Mitchell Johnson twice, unable to formulate any answers to the paceman's short deliveries. And he dropped a catch. Still, we're not one of the 'Off with his head' brigade. Yet.

<b>Alviro Petersen</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 2<br><b>Runs</b>: 2 and 1

The opening batsman failed to score more than 30-odd in 11 out of 14 innings in 2013, and he continued that trend here, falling to Johnson both knocks. He was caught behind by Brad Haddin both times, re igniting the 'Quinton de Kock to open!' flames. And he dropped a catch.

<b>Hashim Amla</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 5<br><b>Runs</b>: 17 and 35

It's physically painful to give one of the most beloved batsmen in the world less than at least seven, but it has to be done. While he managed to reach double figures in both knocks, and used up as much time as he could, he didn't look comfortable at all. Though he did hit some lovely back foot drives in the second stand, so regained a point.

<b>Faf du Plessis</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 4<br><b>Runs</b>: 3 and 18

There was a lot of pressure on the Titans batsman to recreate the two-day stand he performed in Australia in 2012, but it was not to be as he fell victim to Johnson and then Peter Siddle. He looked ok in the second innings, before becoming the victim of variable bounce, trapped LBW by a skidder.

<b>AB de Villiers</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 8<br><b>Runs</b>: 91 and 48

The ODI captain was by far the best Proteas batsman, also on his home ground, and resisted manfully in both innings. He played some beautiful strokes, even against Johnson, but could not withstand the pressure of doing it all alone.

He batted for nearly three hours in the second innings, and spent the most time on the park of anyone else in the game. He also played through a hand niggle picked up late on day three, saying it was his previously fractured finger playing up.

<b>JP Duminy</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 4.5<br><b>Runs</b>: 25 and 10<br><b>Wickets</b>: 1

Look, he tried. The second innings saw him use up 60 deliveries for 10 runs, batting alongside AB as they tried to pull off a miracle. But his place in the side must surely be in question, even if his part-time spin did result in the wicket of Alex Doolan.

<b>Ryan McLaren</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 4<br><b>Runs</b>: 8 and 6<br><b>Wickets</b>: 2

The all-rounder was chucked into the game and labelled 'the new Jacques Kallis' which is enough pressure to kill a horse. But the fact remains that despite surviving a MiJo bouncer rather manfully, he still only scored 14 runs. To be fair, his bowling was the focus… and even that was average.

He went at 3.6 to the over in the first innings and took two wickets, while the second knock saw him go at nearly five and wicketless. The Aussies were not bothered by him at all, and he'll not be shocked if he's replaced by Wayne Parnell in PE.

<b>Robin Peterson</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 4.5<br><b>Runs</b>: 10 and 21<br><b>Wickets</b>: 3

The state of spin bowling in South Africa was a big talking point during this game, as Peterson's innocuous 'spin' failed to trouble the batsmen. BUT! He got Brad Haddin out for a duck, something England failed to do, so we were going to give him 5. But he dropped a catch, and an easy one too.

<b>Vernon Philander</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 4<br><b>Runs</b>: 15 and 26 not out<br><b>Wickets</b>: 1

Blimey, it's not often Big Vern walks away from a Test match in South Africa, or anywhere, with just one wicket. That's not to say he was bad, just wasn't excellent, and didn't make the Aussies play enough, aside from on day one. His batting was good (ish) though, if that helps?

<b>Dale Steyn</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 7<br><b>Runs</b>: 7 not out and 3<br><b>Wickets</b>: 6

When Dale Steyn struck early in the morning on day one, and went red-faced with joy, everyone expected a rip-roaring match. While he took four wickets in that innings, it was not a vintage performance as Johnson made the critically-claimed bowler look pedestrian.

Still, he played on day one having suffered from a stomach bug the night before, and bowled through injury later on. Because he is a machine.

<b>Morne Morkel</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 3<br><b>Runs</b>: 0 and 1<br><b>Wickets</b>: 1

Again, feels a bit rubbish to give Morras such a low score, but while he did play through a shoulder niggle, he was ineffective and unthreatening. He didn't bowl much in the second innings due to an ankle injury, so the hosts will hope he's ok for PE.

<b>12th Man: Dean Elgar</b><br><b>Mark out of 10</b>: 0<br><b>Dropped catches</b>: 1

Elgar was on the park for mere minutes, with Steyn getting some quick treatment for a tricky tummy, and he dropped the Aussie danger man David Warner, on 26. He went on to make a century, and while Smith and Petersen dropped him too, Elgar's was the easiest of the lot.

<b>Linday du Plessis</b>

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