South Africa Test series report cards
Wonderful reading for Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers, while Alviro Petersen and Dale Steyn would have wanted better.
<b>Graeme Smith</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 255 runs @ 42.50, 1×100, 1×50</i><br>Smith will be the first to admit this wasn't a great series with the bat, but few can begrudge the captain regardless. The size of his 84 in Perth was ultimately upstaged by Amla and de Villiers' centuries, but the brisk rate – and significance – at which it came won't soon be forgotten. <b>C365 Rating: 7/10</b>
<b>Vernon Philander</b><br><i>2 matches, 4 wkts @ 49.75, BB: 2/41, 4 inns, 56 runs @ 28.00</i><br>Sidelined from the second match by a back injury, Philander made an unspectacular return in Perth. Certainly not the performance fans have come to expect from the prolific right-arm seamer, but a grounding series after his meteoric rise will do his long-term future some good. <b>C365 Rating: 6/10</b>
<b>Morne Morkel</b><br><i>3 matches, 14 wkts @ 28.50, BB: 5/146</i><br>The series top wicket-taker, Morkel cast off his status as Steyn and Philander's second fiddle, instead stepping to the fore with the consistency his fellow fast bowlers were unable to muster. Adelaide's eight-wicket match haul was a particular favourite. <b>C365 Rating: 8/10</b>
<b>AB de Villiers</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 276 runs @ 55.20, 1×100, 8xct, 1xst</i><br>Putting to bed questions over his role as wicketkeeper-batsman once and for all, de Villiers was particularly impressive in his primary role en route to an outstanding century in Perth. His post behind the stumps affords the Proteas the luxury of a specialist number seven, really setting them apart from the rest. <b>C365 Rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Faf du Plessis</b><br><i>2 matches, 4 inns, 293 runs @ 146.50, 1×100, 2×50</i><br>A latecomer in the wake of Duminy's injury, du Plessis grabbed his opportunity with both hands. After some fine form for South Africa A, his graduation to the biggest stage was only fitting. Test cricket won't see a replica of his tour de force in Adelaide soon. <b>C365 Rating: 9/10</b>
<b>Hashim Amla</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 377 runs @ 62.83, 2×100, 0x50</i><br>Third only to Australia's Michael Clarke and England's Alastair Cook in Test cricket's run-scoring charts this year, Amla conquered a veritable final frontier in Australia. His manipulation of the bowlers en route to 196 at the WACA was unrivaled, and it was always going to take something special – a brilliant return catch from Mitchell Johnson – to prevent Amla from reaching 200. <b>C365 Rating: 9/10</b>
<b>Jacques Kallis</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 339 runs @ 56.50, 1×100, 1×50, 2 wkts @ 24.50, BB: 2/19</i><br>In a similar boat to Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, playing a non-bowling Kallis was worth far more the risk than the one fluffed by the home camp. Equally at home down the order as up it in Adelaide, the prolific veteran will soon be free to surpass the retired Ponting as Test cricket's second-highest run-scorer. <b>C365 Rating: 8/10</b>
<b>Alviro Petersen</b><br><i>3 matches, 6 inns, 200 runs @ 33.33, 0x100, 2×50</i><br>Petersen failed to convert a string of good starts, but continues to average nearly 50 alongside Smith at the top of the knock. His lack of big scores will be forgiven, only because the rest carried him, but he'll quickly need to rectify his wrongs against New Zealand. <b>C365 Rating: 6/10</b>
<b>Jacques Rudolph</b><br><i>2 matches, 4 inns, 74 runs @ 18.50, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>It has been a long time coming, and Elgar's selection for the series decider has probably spelled the end of Rudolph's second coming. Initially picked as an opener upon his return, and a recently accommodated in the middle-order, the Proteas can no longer afford his shoddy form. <b>C365 Rating: 2/10</b>
<b>Rory Kleinveldt</b><br><i>2 matches, 4 wkts @ 60.75, BB: 3/65</i><br>Critics hoped for a Philander-esque debut series for the right-arm fast bowler, but it wasn't to be. Taken to the proverbial cleaners on debut, he was only saved the axe by his Cobras team-mate in the second match. The meager nature of South Africa's next opposition should allow him another chance later this year, though. <b>C365 Rating: 4/10</b>
<b>Robin Peterson</b><br><i>1 matches, 6 wkts @ 28.50, BB: 3/44, 2 inns, 31 runs @ 15.50</i><br>Underestimated throughout his career, Peterson regularly offer his doubters appropriate response – and did so again in Australia. Not a gamble, but a firm business decision, the Proteas reaped the reward of his selection ahead of Tahir in Brisbane. Getting rid of the veteran Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke in the same spell is no mean feat. <b>C365 Rating: 7.5/10</b>
<b>Dale Steyn</b><br><i>3 matches, 12 wkts @ 30.83, BB: 4/40</i><br>The planet's top-ranked fast bowler was relatively quiet through the warmup fixtures and first two Tests, but insisted he would come the to party in Perth. That he did, walking the talk with superb results, to justify his pre-match insistence that 'South Africa didn't come to Australia to draw.' <b>C365 Rating: 6/10</b>
<b>Dean Elgar</b><br><i>1 matches, 2 inns, 0 runs @ 0.00, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>His selection ahead of Rudolph was very much merited, but he failed to deliver. The victim of a fiery spell from Aussie pace ace Mitchell Johnson, Elgar endured a pair on debut – the 10th South African to suffer the ignominy. The New Zealand series, however, should present a second chance. <b>C365 Rating: 1/10</b>
<b>Imran Tahir</b><br><i>1 matches, 0 wkts @ -, BB: 0/80</i><br>Without wicket and expensive, Tahir duly got the chop – perhaps forever. South Africa have persisted long and hard with their adapted leg-spinner, but the results are not justifying the faith. Not a strike bowler nor able to perform a holding role, the time is now to look elsewhere. <b>C365 Rating: 1/10</b>
<b>JP Duminy</b><br><i>1 matches, 0 inns, 0 runs @ 0, 0x100, 0x50</i><br>Cricket's latest victim of a friendly game of warmdown football, Duminy copped the full effect of a ruptured Achilles heel. Sidelined from this series and, indeed, the affairs against the Kiwis and Pakistan, it will be a while before he can challenge du Plessis for his berth back. <b>C365 Rating: -</b>
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