The spin duo of Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer gutted Bangladesh, but Wiaan Mulder’s Test future is now in doubt. RYAN VREDE rates the Proteas after their Kingsmead demolition.
Dean Elgar – 9
Mr Consistency contributed 67 and 64 in the Test, providing the platform his team needed to put the tourists under pressure. Has become one of Test cricket’s pre-eminent opening bats and his value to his team can’t be overstated. Was decisive and intelligent in his captaincy, which was as instrumental as his runs in this victory.
Sarel Erwee – 4
Failed in the second innings, but looked good for his 41 in the first, and appears to have all the makings of a very good Test opener. Will have to find a measure of consistency quickly.
Keegan Petersen – 6
Was brilliantly run out by Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the first innings when he looked set at the crease. Then had a brain fade in offering the short leg a catch, despite being in complete control on 36. He rarely doesn’t get in (he has only one single-figure score in his 11 innings, and got out between 15 and 40 seven times in those 11 innings) and will have to improve this facet of his game if he wants his average to reflect his immense talent.
Temba Bavuma – 8
Bavuma averages nearly 54 through his last 16 innings. He has found a method that works for him. His first-innings 93 helped the Proteas take control of the Test, and they never relinquished that control. From being a target for quota-related criticism to one of Test cricket’s most reliable middle-order batters, Bavuma has transformed his career.
Ryan Rickelton – 6
Made a strong impression on debut. Looked organised and clear in his gameplan. Played the shot of a rookie to get out in the first innings, but showed excellent application in the second innings to finish unbeaten on 39.
Kyle Verreynne – 4
Showing the inconsistency you’d associate with a Test rookie. He never looks overawed by the occasion, but you never feel like he is in complete control of his mind. This was evidenced when he got stuck on his crease and trapped lbw in the first dig. In the second, he seemed to crumble under the pressure of some excellent bowling. His go-to pressure release was a reverse sweep but he got out somewhat unfortunately when he hit the ball into his pad, only to have it pop up to silly point. He is good enough to average in the high 30s in Test cricket and must show his class in Port Elizabeth.
Wiaan Mulder – 2
I feel for Mulder. His confidence is completely shattered and it’s showing. He got a first baller in the first innings, then was dropped twice on nought in the second. He scratched his way to 11 but looked like a shadow of the player he is. To compound matters, he bowled just four overs in the Test, conceding nearly six runs per over for just one wicket. It may be time to hit a pause on his Test career and allow him to remedy the shortcomings that have plagued him throughout his nine Tests.
Simon Harmer – 10
If anyone earned a Test recall, it’s Harmer. He has taken 491 first-class wickets between Test appearances and exhibited every bit of that experience in decimating Bangladesh. He finished with match figures of 7-124, and also contributed 38* in the first innings to help set an imposing total.
Keshav Maharaj – 10
All the talk will be about Maharaj’s second-innings seven-for, but it would be remiss to reduce his contribution to that. His unfailing consistency in the first innings allowed Harmer to capitalise on the pressure that was created. Harmer repaid that favour in the second dig, allowing Maharaj to showcase his immense value to the Proteas. The delivery that got rid of Yasir Ali – which pitched on middle and hit off stump – was made in left-arm orthodox spin heaven.
Lizaad Williams – 6
Strong Test debut. He bowled with appreciable control and unrelenting accuracy, which contributed to his three-wicket haul. Getting rid of Litton Das in the first innings contributed significantly to the Proteas’ success.
Duanne Olivier – 5
Olivier hasn’t carried his excellent domestic form into Test cricket. The Kingsmead wicket had something in it for seamers with the new ball, but he never truly exploited that. He also seems down on speed, which is concerning. He will likely get another crack in Port Elizabeth, where conditions will suit him better. With the pace quartet of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje missing, the team needs Olivier to make marked improvements quickly.