JON CARDINELLI rates the Proteas’ performances in the four-Test series against England.
The ratings below take all four matches in the series into account. England finished the series with a 2-1 victory. The first and third matches were won convincingly by England (by 241 runs and seven wickets respectively), the second was drawn, while the fourth was won by South Africa (by 280 runs).
DEAN ELGAR: 6/10
Contributed with a determined 118 not out in the first innings at Kingsmead. Failed to capitalise on some good starts thereafter.
STIAAN VAN ZYL: 3/10
Van Zyl’s most meaningful contribution was the 3-20 showing with the ball in the second innings of the first Test. Continued to struggle as an opening batsman (averaged 13.8), and was dropped for the fourth Test.
STEPHEN COOK: 7/10
Why wasn’t Cook backed sooner? Provided some much-needed stability in the fourth Test. Looks to be the long-term solution at the top of the order.
HASHIM AMLA: 7/10
Amla was the top run-scorer in the series with 465 runs. Scored a fine 201 at Newlands, and nearly recorded a pair of centuries at Centurion (109 and 96). What brings his rating down is his poor captaincy and batting performance in the first Test. Wasn’t at his best in the third, either.
AB DE VILLIERS: 4/10
Apart from the 88 scored in the second Test, De Villiers battled to make a meaningful contribution and averaged a mediocre 30. The captaincy didn’t improve matters. Since taking on the responsibility, De Villiers recorded scores of 36, 0, 0 and 0. Made some questionable tactical decisions in the third and fourth Tests.
FAF DU PLESSIS: 4/10
Like De Villiers, Du Plessis weighed in with one score of 80-odd and not much else. He was dropped after the third Test.
TEMBA BAVUMA: 6/10
Bavuma left his mark on the five-day game with a fine 102 not out at Newlands. He may have added a second century to his record if not for the untimely downpour on day four at Centurion. Showed good temperament at the crease, and took some sharp catches at short leg.
JP DUMINY: 4/10
Duminy’s struggle is far from over. Was dropped after a disappointing showing in the first Test. Got two starts with the bat in the fourth Test, but didn’t crack on. His bowling was just as underwhelming.
DANE VILAS: 5/10
A late replacement for Quinton de Kock in the third Test, Vilas did a solid job behind the stumps. Got to 26 in the first innings, and had a real opportunity to push on and make a claim for a permanent position. Did not take it.
QUINTON DE KOCK: 7/10
Played two Tests. Missed out in Cape Town, but cashed in at Centurion. De Kock’s 129 off 128 balls, his maiden century, boosted the Proteas’ first innings score in the fourth Test to 475. That total put England under pressure. De Kock did miss a couple of opportunities behind the stumps, though.
DALE STEYN: 5/10
Dale Steyn began the series well, taking 4-70 in the first innings in Durban. Sadly, injury limited his involvement in the second innings, and eventually ruled him out for the rest of the series.
MORNE MORKEL: 5/10
Morkel played in all four Tests. His best performance as far as wicket-taking was concerned was the 4-76 display in the first innings at Kingsmead. Thereafter, he battled to contribute with the big hauls. More was expected from Morkel after Steyn was ruled out of the series.
KYLE ABBOTT: 3/10
Was disappointing in the first Test in Durban. Missed the second and third Tests, and then battled with a hamstring injury in the fourth.
KAGISO RABADA: 8/10
Played in three of the four Tests, but still managed to take more wickets (22) than the next best bowler Stuart Broad (18). Was the Proteas’ highest wicket-taker on a flat deck in Cape Town. Achieved his best Test figures in Johannesburg (5-78), and then bettered that showing in both innings at Centurion (7-112 and 6-32). Rabada is only 20 years old. According to experts like West Indian great Michael Holding, Rabada will be an even greater force in the years to come.
CHRIS MORRIS: 4/10
Played in the second and third Tests, and made more of an impression with the bat than the ball. The 69 in Cape Town and the 28 in the first innings in Johannesburg showed that Morris is a capable lower-order batsman. If he’s to be considered a genuine all-rounder option in future, however, he need to work on his bowling.
DANE PIEDT: 5/10
Made an impression with his 5-153 performance in the second innings of the first Test. Also contributed with 3-38 in the second innings of the second match. Easily the Proteas’ best spin option at present, and will be more of a factor when the side plays on turning tracks.
HARDUS VILJOEN: 3/10
Began with a bang in the third Test and ended with a whimper. Viljoen will be remembered for dismissing England captain Alastair Cook with his first ball in Test cricket. The dismissal was significant, and compensated for the quality of the ball (a loosener down the leg side that Cook gloved to the wicketkeeper). Viljoen bowled quickly, but with very little control in his debut Test. Was dropped for the fourth match.