Captain Faf du Plessis finds consolation in the performance of fast bowler Anrich Nortje, after the Proteas fell to a 3-1 Test series defeat by England at the Wanderers on Monday.
The hosts won the first Test in Centurion, but lost the next three in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
Fast bowler Anrich Nortje’s 18 were the most wickets in the series, ahead of teammate Kagiso Rabada and England seamer Stuart Broad’s 14 each.
His success was particularly impressive for a Proteas unit navigating the Test retirement of fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
‘We did play well in that first Test. Right through the series, England were a little bit better than us in every compartment – consistent with the ball, and putting big runs on the board with the bat,’ said Du Plessis.
‘Anrich came through shining for us in this series. We need pace in SA, to fill the shoes of Morkel and Steyn. He’s landed the ball in the same area, so he’s got pace and control.’
Veteran all-rounder Vernon Philander retired from international cricket after this series. He leaves the longest format as South Africa’s seventh highest-wicket taker, behind Steyn, Morkel and other illustrious names.
‘Thanks to Vernon for his services to the Proteas. I’m also very sad that this game wasn’t the fairytale ending that he deserves. We’d like to sit in the dressing room and cherish this moment, and celebrate his career for South Africa. Ten-plus years away from family, that’s a lot of time away and a lot of dedication for South African cricket,’ concluded Du Plessis.