The Proteas struggled to deal with the collective team effort put forward by England as they slipped to a 3-1 Test series defeat. WADE PRETORIUS grades the squad.
Quinton De Kock, Anrich Nortje – B+
De Kock ended the series as the leading run-scorer, which is a remarkable feat as he continually ran out of partners. He will need to find a way to significantly improve his Test average which is a shade under 40 – by either getting his captain to promote him up the order or scoring even faster when batting with the tail. One option sounds much simpler. Nortje, who ended as the leading wicket-taker with 18, was a shining light in an attack that struggled to contain the English batting lineup. He never gave up, though, and ran in at top speed throughout. And let’s not forget his contributions with the bat, too.
Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada – C+
Van der Dussen, who ended with 274 runs to his name, showed that he has enough in his game to become a constant in both red- and white-ball cricket. Time will heal the wounds of missing out on a maiden century at the Wanderers. Rabada let his team down with a needless demerit point and thus receives a lower rating despite his 14 wickets in three games.
Keshav Maharaj – C
His reputation fluctuated with each Test before being left out in favour of an all seam attack in the fourth run. He bowled well and showed his ability to first, hold up an end and, secondly, to take wickets. Most frustrating about the spinner is that he is yet to rid himself of the tendency to lose control – with both bowl and bat.
Pieter Malan, Vernon Philander – D+
Malan’s numbers don’t make pretty reading (84 runs at 26) but he showed he has the grit to possibly keep his place in the side for a few seasons. He will need to work hard on his shot selection with the ball outside off tempting him too often. A nightmare farewell series for ‘Big Vern’, who notched just eight wickets all tour. His effort with the bat – average 22.85 – was commendable, though, and spares him a lower rating.
Dane Paterson, Dwaine Pretorius, Dean Elgar – E
Paterson was handed the new ball in Port Elizabeth but was quickly found out. He ended with four wickets in three innings in what is likely to be a short Test career. Pretorius bowled tidily for his seven wickets but didn’t trouble the batsmen enough; his top score of 37 in Joburg formed the chunk of his 83 from six knocks. His batting offered little resistance as he missed out on nailing down his spot in the lineup. Unlike Malan, there’s no improved rating on future potential for Dean Elgar. He is supposed to be the mainstay at the top but he struggled throughout the tour. Opening in South Africa is a thankless task but gave his wicket away far too many times. Managed to scrape a series average of a fraction of 30, though.
Faf du Plessis, Zubayr Hamza – F
Du Plessis struggled at the toss, with bat in hand and on too many occassions with decisions in the field as his exit from the Test side accelerated with each passing session. An average of 18.87 for the series is drastically low for a player of his calibre. Hamza was dropped after adding just 78 runs in six innings. He has a future at this level, but only after going back to the franchise system and proving himself once again.
*Aiden Markram, Beuran Hendricks and Temba Bavuma were not rated after just one Test
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