Report Cards: South Africa in Colombo

Blog Opinion

The second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka and Colombo ended in a draw, with Sri Lanka falling two wickets short of a win and the Proteas battling hard with the bat all match after falling behind the pace early on.

The second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka and Colombo ended in a draw, with Sri Lanka falling two wickets short of a win and the Proteas battling hard with the bat all match after falling behind the pace early on.

It was not a pretty draw, but it gave SA the series win and returned them to the top of the Test rankings. Here's how they fared, individually.

<b>Alviro Petersen</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 2 and 0<br><b>Rating:</b> 2 out of 10

We'll give him the same rating as the runs he scored. The opener's position is tenuous, even thought it's tough to think of who could replace him. He was one of the few batsmen who didn't eat up time, and one has to say that the Proteas were in trouble in the first place because the openers both failed in both innings. He's now rivalling Alastair Cook for lack of tons as an opener, spanning nearly 18 months and now 21 innings. He also dropped a catch, so.

<b>Dean Elgar</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 1 and 13<br><b>Wickets:</b> 0<br><b>Rating:</b> 3.5 out of 10

Elgar's innings were far from melodic, shall we say. He scores better than Petersen because he stayed at the crease for much longer, though that's not saying much. The first innings was hampered by being two down for 13 and on an increasingly turning deck, the Proteas barely recovered. Elgar's second dig was as ugly as everyone else's and he lasted an hour, so there is that.

<b>Faf du Plessis</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 36 and 10<br><b>Rating:</b> 5.5 out of 10

This is tricky. Faf didn't make a bunch of runs in the game, but he batted very well for his runs. In the first innings, he stuck with Amla for 30 overs, blocking nearly everything, to help steady the innings and get the Proteas out of an even bigger mess than they ended up with. His second knock, on day five, was on a minefield, and he ate up an hour in the evening.

<b>Hashim Amla</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 139 not out and 25<br><b>Rating:</b> 9 out of 10

South Africa would have lost the match with a day to spare if not for Amla's mental fortitude. He batted for nearly three days in total, and his first innings alone spanned eight hours in the middle. He was cool, composed and unflustered against a high-class spin trio, and he single handedly avoided the follow on. While some other batted around him for middling scores, Amla led from the front and was the only SA batsman to pass a half century in the game. He ended the series with an average over 65, and faced the most deliveries in a Test by an SA captain (541). The Mighty # indeed.

<b>AB de Villiers</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 37 and 12<br><b>Rating:</b> 6 out of 10

The vice-captain played as a pure batsman as he didn't want to aggravate his lower back by keeping. Like much of the order, he was frustratingly good at using up deliveries, but without making many runs. His first innings was counter to his usual free-flowing style as he worked to help save the knock, using up three hours for his 37 runs. His day five knock was less impressive, lasting just half an hour as Sri Lanka bowled their overs at a frightening pace.

<b>Quinton de Kock</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 0 and 37<br><b>Rating:</b> 6 out of 10

The young keeper was part of the reason the Proteas struggled in the first innings with the bat, but he definitely did his job with the gloves. He took four catches and stumping in the first two days, and two more catches in the second dig. Like everyone else, he battled hard at the death to make up for his previous failure, and it's interesting to note that he did it from number three, having been sent up the order. If he gives the gloves back to AB, could he be used as an opener, given he is one?

<b>JP Duminy</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 3 and 3<br><b>Wickets:</b> 2<br><b>Rating:</b> 5.5 out of 10

Again. Tricky. Duminy made just six runs in the game but batted for 58 and 65 balls per knock, over two hours. Aside from Amla, he was the guy on day five he probably made sure of the draw, batting till late in the evening alongside Vernon Philander. It's quite baffling to give a decent rating to someone who made so few runs, but the deliveries he ate up, again, helped in both innings. He also took two wickets in the first Sri Lanka knock, that of Silva and Mathews.

<b>Vernon Philander</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 9 and 27 not out<br><b>Wickets:</b> 2<br><b>Rating:</b> 6.5 out of 10

Tricky: Repeat ad nauseam. Philander made sure of the draw and the series win, ending not out having faced 98 balls at the death, batting for nearly two hours. He protected his tail-enders and hit a four every now and again too. This doesn't negate the fact that he didn't get as many wickets as he'd have liked, just two in the first innings, though he was economical compared to the others. The deck wasn't made for pace, to be fair.

<b>Dale Steyn</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 30 and 6<br><b>Wickets:</b> 4<br><b>Rating:</b> 5 out of 10

See above. Steyn's two wickets in the first innings should have put the Proteas in a good position as they were cheap and early, but then Mahela arrived, and the pitch stopped helping. He did his part with the bat too, with his 30 tail-end runs ensuring the follow-on was avoided. He batted for over an hour then, and on day five used up half an hour in the evening as the spinners raced through their overs. Still, it wasn't vintage Steyn with the ball.

<b>Imran Tahir</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 15 and 4 not out<br><b>Wickets:</b> 3<br><b>Rating:</b> 267 out of 10

Just kidding. We'll give him a six out of 10, but it should be more, purely for his acting performance on day five. His bowling was average, his wickets came via pies, and he was expensive, but like most of the tail, he came to the party with the bat. In the first innings he batted for an hour for his 15 runs, and in the second, he blocks with massive strides forward. His tour de force though was when he lay on the ground in the final over, claiming cramps. It was a spectacular piece of time-wasting that had even Kumar Sangakkara in hysterics.

<b>Morne Morkel</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 0 and DNB<br><b>Wickets:</b> 5<br><b>Rating:</b> 5 out of 10

Morkel took four wickets in the second innings, which was very good for sure, but the first innings was when the bowlers struggled, Morras included. He wasn't overly expensive then though, so not worthy of censure, while his second innings bowling was at nearly five to the over. Unlike the rest of the bowlers, did didn't up his points with the bat, making a duck off five balls.

Average, right?

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>