The Proteas’ struggles with bat and ball continued in Port Elizabeth as they slumped to an innings and 53-run defeat before lunch on day five of the third Test. WADE PRETORIUS rates the players.
Dean Elgar – 4
Looked to be well set in the first innings but left for 35 and then departed for just 15 in the second dig after playing all around a Mark Wood delivery. Has passed 50 on seven occasions in his last 40 opportunities, dropping his average to under 40.
Pieter Malan – 4
Shared a 50-wicket stand in the first innings before providing Dom Bess with the simplest of return catches. Was Joe Root’s first victim which started the slide towards defeat. He will get another go, but must stick around a lot longer in Johannesburg if he wants to cement his place at the top.
Zubayr Hamza – 1
10 and 2. Hard to think of a case for his inclusion in the next Test after another dismal outing and Temba Bavuma being recalled to the squad. The manner of his second-innings departure will be questioned as he left ‘strangled’ down the leg side for a second time in the series. Batting at three in South Africa is one of the hardest jobs and doing it in the top order’s current struggles has unfortunately placed a burden on the young strokemaker. He will be back, no doubt, but when is the question.
Faf du Plessis – 3
The Proteas captain is facing the finishing line in his career. His once-proud reputation is being tainted with a number of poor decisions in the field and with bat in hand. Has failed to stamp his mark on the series as one of the premier batsmen and paid the price for his tentative approach. 8 and 36 are simply not good enough.
Rassie van der Dussen – 3
A return of 10 and 24. Will be looking to get up to the Highveld where spin won’t, or at least shouldn’t, be a factor.
Quinton de Kock – 6
When will he be moved up the order? Sure, he played a wild stroke to a very good Sam Curran ball in the first innings but he was once again on the verge of running out of partners. The best with bat in hand in the team by a considerable margin, he needs to bat four.
Vernon Philander – 3
Wicketless and used the least on a track that did not favour him. Batted with care and skill in the first knock before his wild, ill-timed drive had him castled by Broad as England took control. His farewell tour is not going according to plan, but there’s no reason to doubt his class and ability to produce one (or two) more match-winning spells. Roll on Joburg for his finale.
Anrich Nortje – 6
The wickets column hurt his rating a little because that is after all his main task. One of the few players that will end the series with an enhanced reputation as his fight and determination – with both bat and ball – continue to be impressive.
Keshav Maharaj – 6
I guess the frustrating thing with Maharaj is his ‘Jekyll and Hyde’-like displays. So good doing the hard yards on day one of the Test, but then he lost his way the next day and got belted to all parts. So terrible with his dismissal in the first innings and then so good in showing application and stroke making in the second innings. One of the few players from this squad who you can say without doubt will be around for many years. Now, he needs to shake off the rash batting and the ill-disciplined bowling moments that have bugged his game.
Kagiso Rabada – 2
Harsh but fair rating for the ‘leader’ of the attack. One wonders what the internal sanction will be for the paceman’s costly outburst when getting rid of Joe Root. His demerit point, under the current laws, was justified and what adds insult to injury is that it came on the same ground where he caused so much consternation with the Steve Smith dismissal when Australia toured the country. Branding him a ‘slow learner’ is kind, to lose the series’ leading wicket-taker ahead of a defining Test match has punished the team severely.
Dane Paterson – 3
A day-five cameo with the bat cannot mask his failings to bring something new to the team’s bowling lineup. His speed is nowhere near that of Mark Wood or even regularly in the 140km/h zone. Would be shocked if he’s given a run in the Wanderers Test and that’s factoring in the absence of Rabada and the possibility of Maharaj sitting out. One and done? I’d think so.
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