SACricketmag.com rates the Proteas players’ performances after their 3-1 Test series defeat to England.
Dean Elgar – 6
291 runs @ 36.37, HS 136
The Proteas’ best batsman in terms of runs in this series, as he once again displayed the maturity required at this level to succeed. His stint at captain will go down as a failed plan, but without those responsibilities he scored at least a fifty in each of the three remaining Tests.
Heino Kuhn – 3
113 runs @ 14.12, HS 34
This could well be his first and last series for the Proteas. It wasn’t just the consistently low scores he produced, but it was the various manners in which he was dismissed too. There were numerous problem areas, which indicates a failure to be able to step up to the highest level. Showed signs of maturity as a Test opener for his 34 at The Oval, but at 33, he might well run out of opportunities as the Proteas desperately search for someone who can score consistently at the top of the order.
Hashim Amla – 7
329 runs @ 41.12, HS 87
A pair of fifties in the second Test proved vital to the cause as the Proteas were able to level the series, but the big score was lacking from South Africa’s No 3 as he failed to capitalise on his form. The following Test saw him score five and six as debutant Toby Roland-Jones had his number. Had fans dreaming of a record chase with his 83 in the second innings at Old Trafford, but he’s got to go down as the leading culprit of the fact that Elgar has been the only one to score a century in the last seven Proteas Tests.
Temba Bavuma – 8
257 runs @ 32.12, HS 59
His series average, reminiscent of his average throughout his career, isn’t particularly flattering, but his contributions go far beyond his numbers. He was the one batsman in that top six who looked up for the fight in every single match, and it didn’t matter where he batted. Whether he was at No 4, 5 or 6, he was genuinely difficult to get out, and look more organised and more confident of his game plan than anyone else.
Faf du Plessis – 5
171 runs @ 28.50, HS 63
The team was galvanised as soon as he returned to the side in the second Test as his leadership was missing from the opener. But more was required from him with the bat with a high score of 63, as he was dismissed for 0 and 1 in the third Test, shouldering arms only to be out lbw on both occasions. Arguably needs to take more responsibility with the bat, displaying a clear unwillingness to move up to No 4.
Quinton de Kock – 5
185 runs @ 23.12, HS 68
19 catches, two stumpings
A disappointing series by his standards, but the selectors have to have a fixed position for him to build from, for he’s to good to get messed around. Bar the one error behind the stumps in the first innings of the fourth Test, he was exceptional behind the stumps and became the second quickest to 100 wicketkeeper dismissals in history.
Theunis de Bruyn – 4
60 runs @ 15.00, HS 48
You can argue that De Bruyn has been messed around a bit in the batting order, but you can’t deny that he hasn’t been able to step up to the opportunities handed to him. He looked good for his 48 in the first Test, but he looked all at sea in the fourth, scoring 11 and 0, when the Proteas really needed him to show some resilience.
Keshav Maharaj – 8
17 wickets @ 30.35, BB 4-85
Shaun Pollock went as far as to say that Maharaj is as good a spinner as the Proteas have ever had, and you can understand why after another solid series in England. Not only was he efficient at tying up an end – especially in the fourth Test – but he was a constant attacking threat too, only going wicketless in one innings throughout.
Kagiso Rabada – 7
16 wickets @ 28.43, BB 4-91
Struggled to control the swing of the Duke ball at times, but an absolute workhorse throughout the series, averaging more overs bowled per match than any other bowler. He was always in the wickets and has made a name for himself for having a particularly lethal yorker in his armoury.
Morne Morkel – 9
19 wickets @ 26.36, BB 4-85
One of Morkel’s finest series in a Proteas shirt, all at the age of 32 and off the back of a career-threatening injury. Bowled his trademark uncomfortable, short lengths, but he also got the ball fuller than usual and he became the man the Proteas relied on the most to take the wickets, especially in the absence of Philander.
Vernon Philander – 8
10 wickets @ 23.40, BB 3-24
177 runs @ 44.25, HS 54
The only reason he loses marks is because he was an injury liability and dropped a yard of pace at times, but when he played, viral infection and all, he was in superb form with both bat and ball. What was particularly pleasing was that he scored 54 and 46 when he was tasked with batting at No 7 in the second-Test victory.
Duanne Olivier – 6
Seven wickets @ 27.57, BB
A mixed series for Olivier, who didn’t impress as Rabada’s replacement in the second Test, but found his lengths in the fourth Test and deserved his three wickets in the second innings.
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