South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 March 19, 2012

Current attack one of South Africa's best - Domingo

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Which captain in world cricket would not want to be Graeme Smith? The South Africa captain seems to have it all - a team that has performed to match its reputation of being cricket's best travelling bunch, a clutch of experienced players who come to the party more often than not, youth that sprouts up at every corner and most of all, a bowling attack that is unquestionably dynamic, explosive and effective.

"He's said that he is probably more happy with this attack than he ever has been," Russell Domingo, South Africa's assistant coach, said of Smith. "He's got all facets covered. He's got Vernon [Philander] who is skilfull and controlled, he's got Dale [Steyn] who is aggressive, he's got Morne [Morne] who brings a different dimension, he's got a lesgpinner [Imran Tahir], he's got the experience of [Jacques] Kallis."

Having all those things would not matter much if Smith did not know how to use them. So far, his management of the attack has been exceptional as he has alternated their roles as aggressors and containers shrewdly. "A captain is generally going to be as good as the players are, or as good as your bowlers are. At the moment Graeme's got a really good bowling attack to work with," Domingo said.

"He can set fields according to plans because they are skilled enough to execute those plans. Maybe when the bowlers aren't that skillful or mature or experienced, it's not that easy to stick to a plan." Smith has had the luxury of, for example, being able to put a man at deep square leg to wait for a Brendon McCullum pull and being able to instruct his bowlers to bang it in short to him.

The other most distinct individual attack Smith has led was the one with the new ball-pairing of Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini through the mid 2000s. The pair was also a good mixture of accuracy and attack but did not have a key third element that Smith's seamers today have - a spinner who does more than hold up an end. "As a unit, this is probably one of the top bowling units that South Africa has produced in a while because there is no bowler that you can target because everybody is at you all the time. Everybody knows what is expected and has got the skills to execute it," Domingo said.

While Tahir has not had the success he has been craving, there is an unsung heroism about his presence in the side. South Africa simply know they have another wicket-taking option. Their belief in Tahir has resulted in him being willing to change certain aspects of his game and learn to play a more defensive role if needed. "Ultimately he's doing his job," Smith said, after the Hamilton win. "I'm hoping that when we get on that real turner he'll come to the party then and pick up some crucial wickets. But for the moment I think he's doing a good job and we all still have a lot of faith in him and we're comfortable with where we sit with him."

Wickets have mostly fallen in the direction of Vernon Philander, which has left the rest of the attack with very little to fight over. Philander's extraordinary success - 45 wickets in six Tests at an average of 13.6 - has been a key part of South Africa's overall ascendency. Domingo said although Philander's numbers have belied belief at times, they are not all that unexpected. "He has been an outstanding bowler in domestic cricket for three years so it's no surprise that he has done so well," Domingo said. "He's got an unbelievable amount of skill, really good control, can bowl a good bouncer, is up mid 130s and a lot of self confidence which is a great recipe for fast bowler. He has got controlled aggression which is great."

New Zealand's batting line-up has also made the South African attack's job easier. With only five specialist batsmen and a heavy reliance on at least two of them, McCullum and Ross Taylor, batting has emerged as New Zealand's weaker suit. "We do think that if we make early inroads we can put their lower order under pressure with the pace," Domingo said. "We see it as a perceived weakness that we can exploit. There's a lot of pressure on three or four of their batters to put in big performances and it is an area we can exploit."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pratchett on March 22, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @rawcrickettalent - I agree! Akram was the king, Younis was brilliant, Ahktar was a little haywire though. My best lineup post 1990 would be Akram, McGrath, Warne... The fourth is impossible to choose... Damn. If the wicket was spinning then obviously Muralitharan. If not... Then... er... I'd go with Pollock, because he could bat as well. But it would be nice to add some pace i.e. Younis, Donald or Lee...

  • 4cricketluv on March 21, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    This article is about South Africa's current bowling line-up and refers to past bowlers in South African cricket. I noticed a few subscribers referring to "choking" when the article has nothing to do with temperament at big tournaments. This makes me think of someone who uses racial slurs in an argument or bring up old events because he/she has lost the debate and has run out of credible arguments. Oh and by the way, I agree that one day cricket is definitly not the pinnacle of cricket! People who think so are probably not old enough to know!

  • surfking on March 21, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    i think SA will win eng series steyn is currently best bowler in the world vern is looking amazing morkle with his bounce. also smith has an exceptionable record against england AB is great against any team rudolph has experience in english conditons and then kallis and amla!!! you don't get a better team then that.

  • gazzafanatic on March 20, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    The main problem South Africa faces is in the balance of their team. Our batting line-up (top 6)is in fact stronger on paper (and our bowling line up probably on par, if not slightly less experienced- but more complete than the prior attacks). Our problem is that we now field 6 specialist bastmen, a keeper who is short of runs, and 4 specialist bowlers versus a lineup that used to bat down to 9 (with our number 9 having a test match century to his credit). So our batting looks short because expectations are higher when you have a top5 including Smith, Kallis,Amla & Devilliers - and dont have the Pollock's, Symcox's, and Hall's/Klusener's to put on an extra 150 for the last 4 (it would be interesting to look at the proportion of runs scored by top6 vs bottom 5 for SA in 90s vs current). The weaklinks are no 6 (Rudolph needs time) , no 2, and Boucher (sadly). Bringing in Botha for Tahir could add more balance when we are playing on non turning tracks

  • Pratchett on March 20, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    @andy - all comments are subjective! Steyn isn't better than Donald. No way dude. Rudolph better than Rhodes? Never in a milliion years mate! Also, Klusener could bat. Philander is still a newbie. Lance is better (for now).

  • Andy1102 on March 20, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    @Pratchett: very subjective analysis, for instance: Kirsten>Petersen; Gibbs<Smith; Cullinan<Amla; Kallis>Kallis; Cronje<AB; Rhodes<Rudolph; Boucher>Boucher; Pollock>Morkel; Klusener<Philander; Elworthy<Tahir; Donald<Steyn On my count that's 7 to 4 in favour of the current team.

  • on March 20, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    I thought I should break the news to everyone.. NZ has more storms and we will have rain across the ENTIRE COUNTRY this weekend... There will probably be no cricket - we may get a day or 2 if we are lucky!! nice work NZC, move all our tests to the middle of autumn / start of winter! Even if we only get 2 days, Im sure its enough time for Philander to take another 5 for

  • rawcrickettalent on March 20, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    I think Pakistan's bowling attack in the late 90's was probably the best ever...Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis,Shoaib Akhtar at his best and 2 awesome spinners in Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq(the creater of Doosra) ...how many of you agree with me.......

  • Wallaroo on March 20, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    What surprises me is that the Saffa's forget Kallis when talking about bowling but only mention him in batting. Kallis is without a doubt an exceptional batsman but also an economic wicket taker. Most of my countrymen will disagree but I don't care. IMHO Kallis is the greatest cricketer of all time. Bradman the greatest batsman, Warne the greatest bowler, Rhodes the greatest fielder but Kallis has it all. I certainly think that SA cricket is extremely blessed at the moment and deserve the accolades it receives.

  • on March 19, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket - fact! Cannot wait for a Test tournament to be established - SA are ace... BOKKKKKKKKKKKKKKE

  • Pratchett on March 22, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @rawcrickettalent - I agree! Akram was the king, Younis was brilliant, Ahktar was a little haywire though. My best lineup post 1990 would be Akram, McGrath, Warne... The fourth is impossible to choose... Damn. If the wicket was spinning then obviously Muralitharan. If not... Then... er... I'd go with Pollock, because he could bat as well. But it would be nice to add some pace i.e. Younis, Donald or Lee...

  • 4cricketluv on March 21, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    This article is about South Africa's current bowling line-up and refers to past bowlers in South African cricket. I noticed a few subscribers referring to "choking" when the article has nothing to do with temperament at big tournaments. This makes me think of someone who uses racial slurs in an argument or bring up old events because he/she has lost the debate and has run out of credible arguments. Oh and by the way, I agree that one day cricket is definitly not the pinnacle of cricket! People who think so are probably not old enough to know!

  • surfking on March 21, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    i think SA will win eng series steyn is currently best bowler in the world vern is looking amazing morkle with his bounce. also smith has an exceptionable record against england AB is great against any team rudolph has experience in english conditons and then kallis and amla!!! you don't get a better team then that.

  • gazzafanatic on March 20, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    The main problem South Africa faces is in the balance of their team. Our batting line-up (top 6)is in fact stronger on paper (and our bowling line up probably on par, if not slightly less experienced- but more complete than the prior attacks). Our problem is that we now field 6 specialist bastmen, a keeper who is short of runs, and 4 specialist bowlers versus a lineup that used to bat down to 9 (with our number 9 having a test match century to his credit). So our batting looks short because expectations are higher when you have a top5 including Smith, Kallis,Amla & Devilliers - and dont have the Pollock's, Symcox's, and Hall's/Klusener's to put on an extra 150 for the last 4 (it would be interesting to look at the proportion of runs scored by top6 vs bottom 5 for SA in 90s vs current). The weaklinks are no 6 (Rudolph needs time) , no 2, and Boucher (sadly). Bringing in Botha for Tahir could add more balance when we are playing on non turning tracks

  • Pratchett on March 20, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    @andy - all comments are subjective! Steyn isn't better than Donald. No way dude. Rudolph better than Rhodes? Never in a milliion years mate! Also, Klusener could bat. Philander is still a newbie. Lance is better (for now).

  • Andy1102 on March 20, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    @Pratchett: very subjective analysis, for instance: Kirsten>Petersen; Gibbs<Smith; Cullinan<Amla; Kallis>Kallis; Cronje<AB; Rhodes<Rudolph; Boucher>Boucher; Pollock>Morkel; Klusener<Philander; Elworthy<Tahir; Donald<Steyn On my count that's 7 to 4 in favour of the current team.

  • on March 20, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    I thought I should break the news to everyone.. NZ has more storms and we will have rain across the ENTIRE COUNTRY this weekend... There will probably be no cricket - we may get a day or 2 if we are lucky!! nice work NZC, move all our tests to the middle of autumn / start of winter! Even if we only get 2 days, Im sure its enough time for Philander to take another 5 for

  • rawcrickettalent on March 20, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    I think Pakistan's bowling attack in the late 90's was probably the best ever...Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis,Shoaib Akhtar at his best and 2 awesome spinners in Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq(the creater of Doosra) ...how many of you agree with me.......

  • Wallaroo on March 20, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    What surprises me is that the Saffa's forget Kallis when talking about bowling but only mention him in batting. Kallis is without a doubt an exceptional batsman but also an economic wicket taker. Most of my countrymen will disagree but I don't care. IMHO Kallis is the greatest cricketer of all time. Bradman the greatest batsman, Warne the greatest bowler, Rhodes the greatest fielder but Kallis has it all. I certainly think that SA cricket is extremely blessed at the moment and deserve the accolades it receives.

  • on March 19, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket - fact! Cannot wait for a Test tournament to be established - SA are ace... BOKKKKKKKKKKKKKKE

  • Meyer_Lanski on March 19, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    This S African attack is indeed the best in the world when one judges them holistically on a variety sense.

    Next best is England, which makes this summer's England vs S Africa test series a mouthwatering prospect.

  • Pratchett on March 19, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    So. Once again I'm going to make this point. Are cricketing standards dropping? How many of the current teams in the world are actually better than they were 10-13 years back? (I can only think of two - Eng and B'desh) Let's look at SA: Kirsten > Smith. Gibbs > Petersen. Cullinan < Amla. Kallis > Kallis. Cronje > Rudolph. Rhodes < AB. Boucher > Boucher. Pollock > Morkel. Klusener < Philander. Elworthy < Tahir. Donald = Steyn. That's 6 for 1999 vs 4 for 2012 and 1 draw.

  • Highflyer_GP on March 19, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    Some of you people obviously can't read. This article is about TEST matches.

  • dariuscorny on March 19, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    once again i wud say all goes in vain when you choke in the first match of the knockout phase of an ICC event.i mean these bowlers also tend to shiver.Tahir is ordinary ,harris seems to be a better bet

  • Romenevans on March 19, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    SA will always look like a formidable side, but i don't why and what happen to them and they choke when it comes to bigger occasions. Otherwise they are class team.

  • on March 19, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    South Africa & Australia both need to find a decent spinner before they can claim to be the best attack.Lyon & Tahir are fair but they still have a long way to go. Even Bangladesh & West Indies have better spinners. @ least England has Swann as well as Monty who seems to be making a comeback If Pakistan can get Gul & Amir together & firing along with Rehman, Ajmal & Hafeez then it would be difficult for any bowling attack to stand up above them.

  • on March 19, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    I'm still not impressed by Tahir. He's been average at best in the games I've seen him play. I personally rate Botha over him.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 19, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    @Posted by on (March 19 2012, 14:33 PM GMT), when has Broad 'thrown a hissy fit' in the last 18 months, the last one I remember was against pakistan at edgbaston, but since he got fined and told off by the match ref hes let his bowling do the talking. since 1st Jan 2011, hes taken 46 wickets at 21.78, and 25 of those were against the self acclaimed best batting line up in world cricket (India), and 13 on the 'dead' pitches in the UAE.

  • SnowSnake on March 19, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    Too early to say. SA has been playing on seamer friendly tracks for last 2 years. They don't have any bowler that can bowl six balls over 145 KMPH. Steyn bowls mostly in higher 130s and Morkel in low 140s. I still think Pollack and Nitni was a better bowling attack than the current one. The best days for Steyn & Morkel seem over. Philander is impressive but still untested in sub-continent.

  • almeda_riddle on March 19, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 - I don't think that you understood the article, she's asking if any captain could be happier with their attack than Smith, not saying that Smith would be wanted by any country. (And, incidentally, how exactly did Smith choke in ICC tournaments?) Lastly, saying that ICC one-day tournaments are the pinnacle of cricket is a matter of opinion, most people with a knowledge of the game regard test matches as the pinnacle.

  • on March 19, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    I still cannot see why everyone rates Broad so highly. Yes hes a good bowler when conditions suit him and when hes feeling good. As soon as he's targeted he throws a hissy fit and acts like a 6 year old. No way would broad compare to Steyn/Philander/Morkel. Anderson and Swan are both brilliant, Finn is still a little rough around the edges but looks really good. Id have the current SA bowling lineup instead of Englands anyday of the week.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 19, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    @bliksempie, have to agree with you, both England and SA have very strong bowling line ups, and they also have some depth with good second choices. I'd possibly put Englans a hairs length ahead of SA due to the additional depth in spinners. However I wouldnt rate australia as the 3rd best, Pakistan has a very good bowling unit and its improving which possibly pushes australia down to 4th.

  • rahulcricket007 on March 19, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    FIRDOSE , I M AN INDIAN & WE DON'T NEED A CAPTAIN LIKE GREAME SMITH WHO HAS CHOKED 4 TIMES IN ICC TOURNAMENTS ( WC2007 , WC2011 , CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2006 , T20 WC 2009). WE R HAPPY WITH DHONI ( DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE HAS NO LOST 8 CONSECUTIVE MATCHES OVERSEAS ) WHO HAS WON TWO WORLD CUPS FOR US WHICH IS THE PINNACLE OF CRICKET .

  • veli2012 on March 19, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    You can't argue that South Africa got the best attack and a great bunch of players, but I still believe we could be better if only AB can take the gloves for test as well. Maybe with Boucher retiring after England he will consider it. Imagine adding Able Morkel or Dumminy maybe Pieterson on that line up. All three players can bowl and are very good batsman.

  • Robster1 on March 19, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    And Kallis can still bowl at over 140 kmh plus de Lange is waiting in reserve. Not entirely convinced yet about Tahir. Stronger line ups then the Kiwis will be a true test for him.

  • syammohantr on March 19, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    DON'T RATE PHILANDER THAT MUCH .COME TO SUB CONTINENT HE WILL BE SORTED OUT .STEYN AND MORKEL IS REAL CLASS

  • I_Perfectionist on March 19, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @ Andre117: Please donate M. Morkel to India....

  • almeda_riddle on March 19, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    @priceless1 - exactly what relevance does a series from nearly 6 years ago have? Does it somehow mean that SA are not good travellers today? Presumably it's just an embarrassing attempt to get Sri Lanka mentioned.

  • stormy16 on March 19, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    Any team which cannot find a spot for a debutant who gets 7 wickets in his first innings had a problem - too much talent! The Steyn-Morkel combo backed by Kallis & co was already thought to be one of the best and now with Philander the freak and a decent leg spinner this is one serious attack. Eng probably run close to matching this attack but the big difference is Englands attack requires some decent bowling conditions to be lethal where else this SA attack I think will be lethal even in batting friendly conditions. All will be revealed this summer in Eng I guess. On captaincy, yes would be an easy job with this attack backed by a batting line up which is also one of the best around (Ind and Eng can debate this) so who is the better captain? Smith with an overflow of talent or Taylor with not much to play with?

  • bliksempie on March 19, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Aus have the best bowling attack in the world? That must be a typo, surely. I'd say it is a toss up between SA and England at the moment, although England's attack is certainly more formidable at home than when traveling. England have quality seamers, but no real destroyer, and an excellent spinner, while SA has more firepower that can demolish line-ups, but can be temperamental, with a developing spinner. Aus is a clear third, with young, promising, but untested seamers (and Ryan Harris, who is made of glass), and no spinner to speak of. No way Aus is the best in the world.

  • wanatawu on March 19, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    I won't get so ahead of myself they only playing New Zealand who are 28th(?) best test team in the world so the real test will be England the current number one. Black Caps actually looks very good, despite there ranking

  • Andre117 on March 19, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @priceless1. After losing 2-0 to SL in 2006 we have won 5 and drawn 2 away series with no losses, so I think that qualifies us as the best traveling bunch.

    I'm not a big Morkel or Tahir fan. Morkel 38 tests, 133 wickets (3.5 per game), avg 30.8, 4 x 5 wicket hauls and no 10fers. Philander 6 tests, 45 wickets (7.5 per game), avg 13.6, 5 x 5 wicket hauls and 2 x 10fers. Other than Steyn and Philander we don't have much in bowling power so I'm a bit concerned about our visit to England. I think De Lange should replace Morkel in the 3rd test.

  • usernames on March 19, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Absolutely. Their attack is the best in the world. Add to that some world class players in Kallis, Amla and De Villiers and you see why they are the current best team in the world, irrespective of what the rankings say.

  • Saffalicious on March 19, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    @mikey76, the only reason England have performed so well at home is because Saffa players play well away from home!! The english batting unit have not yet had to contend with a lineup like the one they will face playing SA. They do have the advantage of some decent bowlers in their net sessions with Flynn, Anderson, Broad etc but facing a unit like SA in a test with the confidence level where it is right now is a different proposition alltogether. The question will be if England can put the same level of pressure on the SA batting. The question here will be answered by the second opener. SA need to send Rudolph back to the top and bring Dean Elgar back into consideration. I also wouldnt mind having someone like Faf in at 6 in tests. The batting lineup will also be strengthened when the new keeper comes in as all those lining up for Bouchers job average much higher than he does.

  • Spelele on March 19, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    I don't agree with the views expressed here. Save for having an attacking spinner that can wrap up the tail/finish things of on Day 5, this SA attack is not ahead of past attacks that SA has had. It is Smith's defensive captaincy over the last few years which has prevented SA from becoming world beaters. How many times have we seen edges going through 2nd/3rd slip (or in between the wiki and a wide slip: a really baffling slip position in my view)? Despite having the likes of Pollock, Ntini, Steyn, Morkel, Donald etc., SA captains have been too defensive. Which other country has had this sort of pace quality? Aus only had Macgrath, but the others (such as Kasprowics, Gillespi, Lee) were nowhere near the SA attacks. I guess Warne was the counter-balancing figure. This attack only looks more menacing because Smith seems to be learning from AB and getting on with the attacking program. Even in this series though, we've had some unjustifiably defensive fields. Why not back your bowlers?

  • mikey76 on March 19, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    It makes the upcoming England-SA series all the more mouthwatering. We will then see who is truly No1 and who has the best bowling attack. I personally still think England just edge it. We have a much superior spinner and I think Morkel is overrated, he doesn't make the batsman play enough. Anderson-Broad-Finn in English conditions will really test this SA batting line up which has been proven to be vulnerable against a very average NZ attack. It will be a close series.

  • Jazman on March 19, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    Maybe NZ should consider preparing a cabbage patch for Wellington. Play Vettori and Nethula with Nicol handy as a part timer. Choosing the sixgun as weapon when duelling Billy the Kid is brave but silly.

  • SeanoN on March 19, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    South African cricket is on the rise.... Can't wait for the Riley Rossouws and the Colin Ingrams to start dominating the Domestic scene and pushing for top honours....

    Our fast bowling cabinet is bulging with enough talent coming through... at one point SA had no options but with Tstotsobe and De Lange banging on the doors we are well stocked....

    I think that JP should get a look in ahead of Alviro in the next test but I guess the selectors will persevere with Alviro in keeping with the chances they had given Rudolf...

  • NazimIsmail on March 19, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    certainly smilth is blessed with 5 wicket taking bowlers, but dont forget the talended and consistent batting line up of, Smith, Hashim Amla, ABD and Kallis. well supported by others. While jack kallis is a legend, Hashim Amla is getting better and better and is scoring tons of runs every time. This is a wonderfull team and well supported by their coach, gary and bowling coach donald.

  • RandyOZ on March 19, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    South Africa are easily the second best bowling attack in the world, behind Australia, with England a very distant third. Really looking forward to seeing these guys in England. The house of cards English batting lineup will be skittled for double digits more often than not!

  • priceless1 on March 19, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    "a team that has performed to match its reputation of being cricket's best travelling bunch"- really ? didn't hear that before but i remember they got white wash in SL when last time they toured there

  • Bruce_Robinson on March 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Can't argue with any of this. Add Marchant de Lange waiting in the wings and you have to say that the Proteas have a formidable attack.

  • Smithie on March 19, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Firdose why is Cricinfo not allowing comment on your Majola ban story? Too much Woolf ammunition ?

  • Meety on March 19, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    ATM - the Saffas attack is comfortably the best in the world. I don't think they quite have the depth of Oz & England, but Philander & Steyn are awesome. It is quite surprising then that their results haven't been too great. They lead 1nil against NZ, but really struggled for much of the series, & dropping a home test to SL wouldn't be a proud moment. It is not like they don't have the batting to support the bowlers, with Kallis, Smith, Amla & AB, that is a pretty strong batting line up. Despite all this, I think both Oz & England will fancy their chances in up coming series. It should be fascinating stuff!

  • ProteaMan on March 19, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    I find it strange that Allan Donald, the bowling couch, name never get mentioned. Surely he has the luxury of working with the best bowlers, but surely he must play a significant role in their performance and development. Keep them going AD

  • johnathonjosephs on March 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    The attack IS the best. Steyn, Philander, Kallis, Morne, and De Lange. Not to mention Tsotsobe and Parnell waiting on the sides. Then you have Imran Tahir. What other attack other than the West Indies one of the 80's was better?

  • Pablo123 on March 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Yip, I'd say this is SA's best bowling attack ever. To think they can emulate the greats like Donald, Pollock, Klusner, Schultz, Ntini etc. - this is a great time for SA cricket, we must all enjoy it while it lasts.

  • HadleeCrowe on March 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Yes this is a quality Yappie attack, no question about that esp considering Le Lange is waiting in the wings. As a long suffering blk cap fan it is disheartening to see us roll over though. Thank the cricketing gods that Nichol has been dropped, pity he was even given a second test, he was woefully out of his depth and that was obvious after the first test.. ducking into short pitched stuff is no 10 batsmanship. The four quicks is a good option but not with our extended tail starting at 9 really ...

  • Tjoeps on March 19, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Nice article Firdose. Great to hear the views of Russel, the silent partner so to speak, of the Protea team. This is a good bowling unit and with Dale also picking up wickets now, they would even be better! Have a great last one and bring us some silverware home, boys! Go the Proteas!

  • sasi on March 19, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    australian attack of the 00s rode prety much on warne and mcgrath sometimes gillispi and mcgill, english attack of 04and 05 were prety gud to, but didnt have a gud spinner. for SAs attack to be better than both of them Morkel has got to step it up, or be replaced by de lange soon. i think tahir has played too much of T20 domestic cricket hence is not an effective test bowler. every reason to belive that this attack will better the previous ones soon.

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  • sasi on March 19, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    australian attack of the 00s rode prety much on warne and mcgrath sometimes gillispi and mcgill, english attack of 04and 05 were prety gud to, but didnt have a gud spinner. for SAs attack to be better than both of them Morkel has got to step it up, or be replaced by de lange soon. i think tahir has played too much of T20 domestic cricket hence is not an effective test bowler. every reason to belive that this attack will better the previous ones soon.

  • Tjoeps on March 19, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Nice article Firdose. Great to hear the views of Russel, the silent partner so to speak, of the Protea team. This is a good bowling unit and with Dale also picking up wickets now, they would even be better! Have a great last one and bring us some silverware home, boys! Go the Proteas!

  • HadleeCrowe on March 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Yes this is a quality Yappie attack, no question about that esp considering Le Lange is waiting in the wings. As a long suffering blk cap fan it is disheartening to see us roll over though. Thank the cricketing gods that Nichol has been dropped, pity he was even given a second test, he was woefully out of his depth and that was obvious after the first test.. ducking into short pitched stuff is no 10 batsmanship. The four quicks is a good option but not with our extended tail starting at 9 really ...

  • Pablo123 on March 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Yip, I'd say this is SA's best bowling attack ever. To think they can emulate the greats like Donald, Pollock, Klusner, Schultz, Ntini etc. - this is a great time for SA cricket, we must all enjoy it while it lasts.

  • johnathonjosephs on March 19, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    The attack IS the best. Steyn, Philander, Kallis, Morne, and De Lange. Not to mention Tsotsobe and Parnell waiting on the sides. Then you have Imran Tahir. What other attack other than the West Indies one of the 80's was better?

  • ProteaMan on March 19, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    I find it strange that Allan Donald, the bowling couch, name never get mentioned. Surely he has the luxury of working with the best bowlers, but surely he must play a significant role in their performance and development. Keep them going AD

  • Meety on March 19, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    ATM - the Saffas attack is comfortably the best in the world. I don't think they quite have the depth of Oz & England, but Philander & Steyn are awesome. It is quite surprising then that their results haven't been too great. They lead 1nil against NZ, but really struggled for much of the series, & dropping a home test to SL wouldn't be a proud moment. It is not like they don't have the batting to support the bowlers, with Kallis, Smith, Amla & AB, that is a pretty strong batting line up. Despite all this, I think both Oz & England will fancy their chances in up coming series. It should be fascinating stuff!

  • Smithie on March 19, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Firdose why is Cricinfo not allowing comment on your Majola ban story? Too much Woolf ammunition ?

  • Bruce_Robinson on March 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Can't argue with any of this. Add Marchant de Lange waiting in the wings and you have to say that the Proteas have a formidable attack.

  • priceless1 on March 19, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    "a team that has performed to match its reputation of being cricket's best travelling bunch"- really ? didn't hear that before but i remember they got white wash in SL when last time they toured there