Australia in South Africa 2013-14

De Villiers and Steyn to the fore

ESPNcricinfo marks the South African players out of 10 following their second series defeat in eight years of Test cricket

Firdose Moonda

March 6, 2014

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A


Dale Steyn takes a celebratory leap, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 4th day, February 23, 2014
Dale Steyn's menacing reverse swing helped South Africa square the series at 1-1 in Port Elizabeth © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of South Africa
Teams: South Africa

AB de Villiers

South Africa's best player was the man who could be their next captain and the good news is he enjoys additional responsibility. De Villiers was their top scorer by some distance with 341 runs at 56.83, took the record for the longest streak of fifties in consecutive Tests (12) and his century at St George's Park set South Africa up to level the series. It also ushered JP Duminy back to form. He also rightly asked for a review for a catch off Duminy's bowling which proved correct. He batted within himself for five hours and 26 minutes to try and save the last Test.

Dale Steyn

Even with nothing in his stomach, Steyn was able to run in for more overs and take more wickets than any of his team-mates in Centurion. Even on one leg, he was able to hold his own at the crease for an hour and a quarter, face 44 balls and not get frustrated by the single run to his name. In between that he produced one of the most breathtaking spells of reverse swing in recent memory to ensure South Africa beat Australia and the weather inside four days in Port Elizabeth. Illness and injury stopped him from being at his best in the first and third but, with 12 wickets in the series, he was still better than anyone else in his team.


Morne Morkel

South Africa's scariest bowler does not have the wickets to explain the damage he caused but he deserves credit. Morkel was the quickest and the most miserly of the home pack and put his energy into working over the opposition captain. He hit Michael Clarke on the elbow, chest, glove and helmet at Newlands but he did not get him out. Morkel still does not mix as many full deliveries into his short-ball barrage, so he often butters up batsmen for others to get out.


Hashim Amla

With his duck in the first innings in Port Elizabeth, Amla went seven innings without a half-century and there was worry he was stuck in the doldrums. He shot out with a beautifully composed century in the second and helped South Africa set the victory target. He also formed the first line of defence in the second innings at Newlands, pushing the match into the fifth day.

Faf du Plessis

The rescue-artist was in his element because South Africa often needed salvaging this series. Du Plessis partnered Dean Elgar in Port Elizabeth and pulled South Africa up from 11 for 2. At Newlands, he top-scored with 67 in the first innings and threatened a repeat of his Adelaide exploits in the second. He also provided one of the most entertaining sub-plots of the series when he compared Australia's fielders to a pack of dogs and they promptly howled him off the field when they dismissed him.

JP Duminy

His development into a genuine all-round option grew when he contributed with bat and ball - 223 runs and seven wickets - to allow South Africa to operate without a specialist spinner for the two-thirds of the contest. Duminy helped build the foundation of the series-leveling win in Port Elizabeth when he found form with a calm 123 and he played a role in sealing victory by dismissing Warner in the chase. His four wickets at Newlands also included Warner and his ability to break partnerships is something South Africa may call on in future.

Vernon Philander

Philander's bowling average ballooned to 51.71 in this series, his worst to date. He was guilty of bowling too full and not adhering as closely to his fourth-stump line, which made him an ideal target for an aggressive Australian line-up. But he made a bold statement with bat in hand. Philander spent a total of eight hours and 14 minutes at the crease across the five innings in which he batted and at Newlands showcased his ability to resist. He was not out in both innings and almost saved the series. South Africa do not need to look for another lower-order all-rounder. They have one in Philander.


Faf du Plessis drives through the off side, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 1st day, February 20, 2014
Faf du Plessis' reputation as a man for crisis grew in the Newlands Test © AFP

Kyle Abbott

In tough bowling conditions and without a leader in the attack, Abbott performed admirably in the first innings at Newlands. He found the smallest hint of swing and concentrated on accuracy. He was better rewarded in the second although his three wickets came long after Australia were on the charge. Abbott also displayed temperament when asked to act as nightwatchman and held up his end for six minutes short of two hours.


Dean Elgar

His role in the series was initially thought to be limited to putting down Warner at fine leg when he was fielding as a substitute in Centurion, but Elgar found himself in the playing XI in the next Test. Despite having lost his national contract, he braved blows from Johnson and rescued South Africa from a shaky start. He did not contribute much more with the bat and his left-arm spin leaves much to be desired but he showed he could turn into a handy cricketer for South Africa.

Wayne Parnell

He waited four years to play a fourth Test and when he did, it only lasted briefly. Parnell send down 8.3 overs of promise and took two wickets in his first three deliveries to script an important part of their comeback. Whether he will make one of his own will depend on how soon he recovers from a groin strain.


Alviro Petersen

After the first Test in which he showed none of the control an opening batsman should have, Petersen was thought be suffering a severe case of Johnsonitis when gastro kept him out of the second. He seemed to have lost ground to Elgar but on his return, Petersen blasted a shaky half-century in the David Warner mould. He was intent on getting the runs before the Australians got him and it probably bought him some time at the top.

Ryan McLaren

Adequate is the best word to describe McLaren's contributions. As the first-choice in South Africa's plan to plug the Jacques Kallis-sized hole in their team, he was expected to bat in the lower-order and perform the duties of a fourth seamer. He did both but not outstandingly. With Parnell and Abbott making more memorable marks on the series, he may have fallen behind in the queue.


Graeme Smith

This is not the way Smith would have wanted it to end but perhaps it serves as confirmation his exit was not premature. Smith did not last longer than 19 minutes in any of the six innings and never faced more than 24 deliveries. He looked uncomfortable and unhappy when at the crease and allowed Australia to target him as they promised to. His poor form also meant South Africa did not get off to a single good start, with their highest opening stand a mere 20.

As a leader, Smith was also going through a difficult patch while he wrestled with his feelings over retirement. He made the right decision at the right time to declare in Port Elizabeth and managed an attack without a bowler in all three matches.

Quinton de Kock

When the boy wonder charged Steve Smith and slapped him straight to mid-off to depart for 7 in his first innings in Test cricket, those who said he was too inexperienced for the longest format at the highest level were not surprised. That shot smacked of the recklessness of youth. He played his way to a more measured 34 in the second dig but still needs to mature into a Test player, which is also evident from his lack of awareness in the field, which suggests he may be more comfortable behind the stumps.


Robin Peterson

It may be over for Peterson after he was overlooked for the second and third Tests. He was expensive in the first and with South Africa struggling to get the balance of their side right, had to be dispensed with in favour of part-timers.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Robster1 on (March 8, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

Next test XI - Puttick, Elgar, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy, de Kock, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Harmer. In the squad - Van Zyl, Abbott, McLaren and Parnell.

Posted by Winsome on (March 8, 2014, 5:43 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx, of course I was talking about the SA players. I'm an Aus fan, stop pretending you can read people's minds.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 8, 2014, 5:07 GMT)

I'd give de Kock more credit than this! He averaged more than Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith!

de Kock's lowest score was 7. In the same innings Amla scored 0. Alviro's one score of 53 , and three scores of 9, 2 and 1 together average LESS than de Kock scored.

Posted by Moppa on (March 8, 2014, 3:27 GMT)

@inefekt and @Bill Pollock, I don't read @Protears' comments as excuses, just reasons why the South African team shouldn't panic at this loss and has plenty of reasons to expect to remain very good into the future. Personally, I agree with that view. @rickytherocket makes some good points on where the team is headed, though I think Alviro is the best short-term opening option. Which leaves a pretty decent line up of: Elgar, Alviro, Amla, de Villiers (c), du Plessis, Duminy, de Kock, Philander, Parnell, Steyn, Morkel. I don't really rate Duminy but in the absence of a decent front-line spinner SA's best option is to keep him and Elgar to take some spin duties while the four quicks do the main damage. Parnell seems the right fourth quick for variety and batting ability, though Abbott is respectable. ABDV without the gloves will almost certainly remain the best all-conditions batsman in the world by a street and probably be an excellent captain to boot. All is not lost (from an Oz fan).

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 21:21 GMT)

These are the most laughable ratings I have ever seen. A 2 for Quinton de Kock? TWO out of TEN?? Yes he got out early in his first innings of the series -- so did David Warner. In his second innings he looked at home and he was cruising to a half-century. But at that point the opposition was conquered and we were battling the rain. The rate needed to be picked up and Amla was too concerned with getting his 21st century to take that job. So because de Kock tries to score a bit quicker and gets out in the thirties he gets a 2?

And what does Parnell have to do to get a decent score other than two key TOP ORDER wickets in his first over? Those wickets set up the game for us! Contrast that to Big Vern who gets 7 in your eyes even though he was completely ineffective with the ball (I don't care about his batting, he is not there to bat but to take EARLY, TOP ORDER wickets)?

Ms Moonda I shed a tear after reading your article about Graeme Smith it was so moving, but these ratings are way off

Posted by Speng on (March 7, 2014, 14:08 GMT)

SA potentially have a lot of problems right now: They've lost two upper order bats that averaged 50+ and Amla is in the doldrums. I don't know why he was batting at number 4 - sure he can do it but going forward it can't serve the team to have him coming in that low.

SA still don't have a spinner/4th bowler worth talking about and their inability to consistently bowl out Aus was telling. Their three quicks are the epitome of a unit and I think they are a Steyn injury away from mediocrity.

The loss of Smith's leadership and Kallis' experience must have a huge impact. ABD as new Test captain is going to have to manage at least 3 relatively new batsmen plus the responsibility of leading the team thru 2 big international tournaments. If he does well as captain he'll be rated with Smith and Michael Clarke if not ...

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (March 7, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

The ratings for bowlers who have a bit of success with the bat or batsmen who have a bit of success with the ball are always a bit odd. Take Vernon Philander for South Africa in this series and Stuart Broad for England in the Ashes. Big Vern is picked as a bowler and by any measure he failed as a bowler therefore he should have rated a 4 in the same way Peter Siddle should have rated a 4. Yes he scored some runs but that's not his job. In the Ashes Broad was criticized for not scoring runs as he has in the past, once again it wasn't his job as he was picked as a bowler so why should he be criticized for not doing a job he wasn't selected to do? It's nice when it happens but not the role they were selected for.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 7, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

Haha Morne Morkel 7, for bruising a few players but not picking up wickets! What is this world coming to? I'm starting to think there's some media collusion to write positively about Morkel and deflect people's attention from the fact that for a long time he has deserved the chop. The 2 year contract itself for a bowler way past his best was shocking. Mark my words Morkel will continue to get worse. The question is who do we blame for keeping him in the team?

Posted by rickytherocket on (March 7, 2014, 12:02 GMT)

Congrats to the Aussies from a die-hard SA supporter. You out-thought and outplayed us in our own back yard.

Our top order is a worry. I don't believe Alviro is the answer and we don't seem to have any other obvious (experienced) choices available. Elgar has potential and should be given the opportunity to grow as an opener. But who else?

If AB is to take over the reins, I would bring in de Kock to keep. Also a good batting option, either opening or at 6/7.

Morkel has pace and gets good bounce, but I was disappointed that he didn't follow up his hostility with a yorker or two. Once you get the batsman instinctively going back, it's important to pitch a few up and catch them in two minds.

We need more variation in the bowling department. Preferably a left hander, like Parnell. Not too concerned about the lack of a specialist spinner, as Duminy seems to be improving. What is the latest on Marchant de Lange?

Our reliance on Steyn and/or Philander to always deliver is worrying.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 11:25 GMT)

Would suggest Hashim Amla be made the captain instead - he is icy calm and super composed. Smith had finished his shelf life having played a lot from a young age. A brand new opening pair is not desireable but seems inevitable for South Africa. Aus are red hot at the moment and looks as though they will win the 2015 World Cup.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 7, 2014, 11:23 GMT)

@crockit, SA didn't deserve a draw in the third test, they were well and truly outplayed in that test match. They did a sterling job trying to salvage the draw though and were fortunate that it was an exceptionally decent day 5 batting track. Had they managed to scrape through for the draw, only then would they have deserved a draw. The SA fielding was poor in the first 2 tests and Warner certainly benefitted a fair few times, but in the 3rd test, I don't recall him being dropped in the first innings, nor the second. I agree, this remains an exceptionally good SA side - even after the retirements and they've got loads of youngsters that look handy.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

The biggest difference between the Australian way and the rest of the world is their attacking nature with they bat & they batsmen perform that role on captain's instructions. Aussie captains ask batsmen to play at brisk rate 100 runs before planned declaration target.

Aus don't go with the same conventional 3 slips, gully etc field for all batsmen. Aussie captains set innovative fields for different bowlers, batsmen & acc to different situations in the game : new ball, old ball. They frequently employ 2 short mid wickets to restrict runs & induce lbws. Unlike conventional Smithy, Aussie frequently opt for bodyline tactics too.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (March 7, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Surely AB deserves more than an 8 - clearly the best batsman in the side and only undone by coming in at #5 when the damage is done. I really think he should give up the gloves and come in at 3 or 4. He is the guy that will win games for Saf with the bat but he wont win games with the gloves! Similar to the story with Aus and Clarke staying at #5 for so long (and for some strange reason one of the matches in this series).

Posted by inefekt on (March 7, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

@ Protears - lovely crop of excuses there, why can't you just admit that your team was outplayed?

Posted by Marktc on (March 7, 2014, 9:23 GMT)

South Africa played badly in this series, that's the bottom line. They really were outclassed. Their lack of tests is starting to show as well. They went into this series undercooked and never really were on top, despite the second test win. I do disagree though with the writer, Elgar's spin, although no frontline spinner, was pretty handy. SA have depth and it is time the selectors stopped being conservative and give guys on the fringes, who are playing well the nod. I am also not convinced we have the coach to take us forward either, especially now that Smith has left and strong leadership is needed. I do not favour AB as the OD captain, so I certainly do not see him as the test captain. SA still have a strong side and if managed correctly and if CSA actually organize more tests, we should remain on top.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

We went through a similar change recently. Though our losses never saw excuses pouring out like Protears has. Kallis is an immence hole to fill. Though he has had a few low scores, Smith will also be sorely missed. I think AdV has to bat at least at 4. Having an extra batsman as keeper worked well with Kallis in the team (batsman and bowler in one). Not keeping would also allow deVilliers to utilise his mmedium pacers. They hit the Aussies when they were on a high and I think they would have won anywhere. One series loss still leaves the Proteas deservedly on the number one ranking and so it should, it was only a 2-1 series loss.

Posted by crockit on (March 7, 2014, 9:03 GMT)

Aussies played well but SA probably deserved a draw in the third and a drawn series when one considers they were a bowler down. I gather the SA fielding was poor which not least allowed Warner to escaped some low scores and get stronger confidence.

This remains a v.good SA team - they have the four quicks who played in the third test plus Parnell as a very high quality battery, high quality middle order, Duminy just about good enough with the spin to supplement 4 quicks. Weakness is perhaps up front with the openers. De Kock should stay part of the squad and if De Villiers is going to skipper he should at leiast give De Kock the gloves some of the time to relieve the load.

Posted by Protears on (March 7, 2014, 8:26 GMT)

Vernon Philander is a bad player because he has 112 wickets in 23 games and a near 30 batting average has his worst series with the ball in 2.5 years and is now pathetic. He is probably not the fittest cricketer admittedly but really people. He who is bit hard bites hardest.

Morne Morkel I would send to Australia and England to work on his game, he will play in tough conditions but will learn how to adapt his game. Fitness and endeavor are not issues he has, line and consistency have always been the issue.

Abbott getting sledged by the mighty armchair brigade, bowled tidily and could easily have had 3-4 wickets in the first innings. Forgive him and his 2 test career for not being a Courtley Ambrose.

Posted by Protears on (March 7, 2014, 8:14 GMT)

I do like how a loss becomes a mass crisis and everyone that build the team up is now labelled bad? Its bemusing at best.

Form and fitness were a problem coming into the series, Smith (ankle), Steyn(ribs), Philander(hip and shoulder), Morkel(ankle and shoulder), AB(hand) this added to the other problems we have had namely Kirsten leaving, then Kallis retiring was a lot of burden to try groom a team on 4 tests before we played Australia. The curtailed India 4 tests to 2 tests also had a impact to test fitness and form. Then of course didn't execute as well, drop catches don't help either, how different things could have been.

Oh well can't change the past we will move onto the Windies and beyond and target victories at home to England and away to India next year.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 7, 2014, 8:08 GMT)

@Gimmie-a-greentop: No he wasn't. You got a point on the second part, but the SA commentators and guys like Daryll Cullinan were saying after the first test that he was the best on either side. How can he be when Marsh, Smith and Warner all got hundreds ahead of him and their contributions actually helped the team to a result.

Posted by Winsome on (March 7, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

When these ratings are being compiled, can't the two raters get together on them? It just looks weird when a player who has had a poor series on the losing side gets a higher mark than a player on the winning side who actually did something useful. For example, Shaun Marsh got a 5 and Morne Morkel got a 7. Now who was most effective for their side in this series? Only one winner there.

Posted by stormy16 on (March 7, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

Morkel is over rated I reckon based on his single spell to Clark in the 3rd testk which incidently resulted in no wickets. He had very little impact other than his height whcih didnt result in wickets. I would only agree to Steyns ranking due that insane afternoon in the second test but otherwise largely no impact, yes he was inujured and sick but you dont get marks for showing up injured and sick! I am not sure why JP is ranked alongside Faf and Vern neither of which had little or no impact. Vern for me was the dissapointment of the series and yes he didnt get wickets that suited him but he did nothing with the new ball and surely would be ranked as a failure. AB plays in a different world to everyone else and once again showed that - they nede to take the gloves off him, the guy wil be unstoppable and best examples are McCallum and Sangakara.

Posted by RTPbetterthanSRT on (March 7, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

The only 'damage' Morkel did during this series was to his bowling average and strike rate. Just goes to show the lack of depth in SA cricket.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 7, 2014, 6:05 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx - Winsome is talking about the SA team, not the Australians. Why don't you go comment on your own players and stop causing trouble here like you usually do with your biased opinions.

Posted by milepost on (March 7, 2014, 5:52 GMT)

Giving Kallis 0 for retiring before this series is a low blow, even for Indian English supporters.

Posted by klsau on (March 7, 2014, 4:48 GMT)

@Ben1989 while calling him an all rounder might be a stretch,he definitely was a much better batsman when he started out...he has shown the ability to get some clean hits earlier in the career..also this is what was said of him in his first match "he made his debut in the second Test at Durban when Dale Steyn was ruled out, showing good application in an unbeaten 32, shepherding his fellow tail-enders, and pushing South Africa on to a score that seemed scarcely probable earlier in the match".Not exactly bunny material which he has now become

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (March 7, 2014, 4:17 GMT)

I think a fair few people are being harsh on Steyn. 12 wickets @26 isn't a bad series in itself, in test 1 4-78 & 2-68 when you're sick isn't a bad effort. Test 2 he cut through the middle order on a track which wasn't providing much help and then he was injured during test 3 and fought pretty hard with the bat.

Posted by Ben1989 on (March 7, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

@Binisa Mohanty, I think you're thinking of the wrong Morkel mate, Morne has always been a bunny from memory, certainly can't see him ever being considered a bowling allroundeer, Albie is the Morkel that can handle a bat

Posted by valvolux on (March 7, 2014, 3:34 GMT)

Steyn was a little unlucky with sickness in the first test and injury in the last, but man he was amazing in the second test. Australia have however found a way to combat philander like no other country, probably due to them facing quality quicks in the nets day in day out. Morkel may forever be that guy who has the most potential but never finds consistency, but if Johnson is any proof, he still has time to be a world beater. His pace was as good as johnsons, which surprised me a lot, he just needs to find a bit of snarl and he can be just as intimidating as he showed against Clarke, perhaps too nice a guy! AB is the deserved number 1 batsman and I dont see that changing - plays pace and spin as good as anyone and can go from defensive to attacking at the flick of a switch...I'm sure captaincy will make him lift another gear. SA still have the talent to stay on top for a good while, they just need a spinner.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 7, 2014, 3:20 GMT)

@Winsome: No he wasn't. So sick of hearing that, he was only made to look even better than he was because the Aussies were getting everyone else out! He still only got one hundred whilst Warner got three, no way he was the best. Even S. Smith had a comparable series to him if not better, he averaged 68.

A few of my suspicions have been confirmed about this SA side. I know for sure i wouldn't have the likes of JP Duminy, Kyle Abbot, McLaren, Robin Peterson, Alviro Petersen, Elgar, Philander, even Morkel anywhere near my first choice world XI. Too many passengers that were carried by the likes of Kallis and co. for too long. Take out ABDV and Steyn, they are struggling

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 2:05 GMT)

As an Australian I'm always extremely disappointed to watch Philander. How does he maintain that average and bowl so poorly? I only watch the Aus SA games and I cannot see anything in him!! Even on the juicy decks he struggles, and he doesn't play on the flat ones

Posted by nlambda on (March 7, 2014, 1:51 GMT)

Jacques Kallis get 0/10 for retiring before this series :-p

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (March 7, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

@Binisa Mohanty I think you've got your Morkels confused. Morne averages under 15 with the bat in all types of cricket. His brother has a pretty handy batting and bowling record (first class average 44 with the bat, 19 with the ball) @Buggsy, I don't see how you get 6.5 with 7 wickets @ 51.71 and having made 136 runs from 5 innings with 1 50. Duminy gets the same rating averaging 14 runs less per wicket, the same number of wickets and having made an extra 90 runs and making a 100 instead of a 50. As for Philander being a better allrounder than Watson he's made 4 50s in 30 innings. He's a better bowler than Watson but you sure wouldn't pick him to bat in the top 6 with a mid 20s average at first class cricket, Watson averages mid-high 30s with the bat and low 30s with the ball.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 1:14 GMT)

I agree that Morkel's score is a bit high. While he looked dangerous, at the end of the day he took very few wickets. He just doesn't pitch the ball up enough. It is going to be very difficult for him to take wickets when just about every ball is going well over the top of the stumps. Some say he is an unlucky bowler. You can be unlucky for a match or even a series, but you can't be unlucky for a whole career. For a bowler with so much speed and awkward bounce, he should be doing better.

Posted by VillageGreen on (March 7, 2014, 1:07 GMT)

Jaques Kallis: 0 For quitting when his team and country needed him most. And not responding when SA were crushed in the 1st Test. Wonderful cricketer, superb career, but now we know why he was never captain.

Posted by peeeeet on (March 7, 2014, 1:03 GMT)

For me, I can't see all the fuss over Morne Morkel's performances. He bowled fast and hit Clarke a few times, but 6 wickets in 3 matches averaging 63.5, economy rate of 3.66 and strike rate of over 100 are very poor statistics for a strike bowler. I know you can't just look at statistics, but the fact is he didn't get batsmen out, and to me that's a key indicator of a bowler having a good series and impact. And I don't feel the claim of his bowling contributing to other wickets is worthy either, as Philander and McLaren averaged over 50, and Peterson and Abbott over 40. When the other bowlers went down, Morkel needed to stand up as he was the most experienced bowler left and get wickets, which he didn't do. Sure he hit Clarke multiple times, but the guy finished with an unbeaten hundred. 6 wickets for a 3 match series can not equal a rating of 7.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (March 7, 2014, 0:07 GMT)

7 for Morne Morkel, that's very generous.

He only tool 6 wickets in the series - half of MJ in the first match!

Yes, he was intimidating but that doesn't mean much if you do not take wickets.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 6, 2014, 23:43 GMT)

9 - A B, 8 - Steyn, 6 - Duminy, 6- Faf, 5 - Amla, 5 - Parnell, 5 - Abbott, 4 - Philander (for his batting; his bowling stunk), 4 - Elgar, 4 - Morkel, 3 - McLaren, 2 - Alviro Petersen, 2 - De Kock, 1 - Robin Petersen, 0.5 - Graeme Smith. But for South Africa losing the series, A B de Villiers was the best player on either side. Steyn was next best, but was still a long way behind A B (and also a long way behind Johnson). Graeme Smith was the worst player on either side by a distance.

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (March 6, 2014, 23:43 GMT)

I can't see how Morkel gets a 7 when he takes 6 wickets @ 63. As far as "most miserly" he went at 3.66 rpo through the series which a) means Steyn, Parnell and Abbott were more economical and b) isn't exactly keeping it tight for tests. His job is to take wickets and he failed massively. Philander getting a 6.5 is also a bit suss, his main job is to take wickets and 7 @ 51 going at 3.7 rpo isn't taking wickets or keeping things tight. I don't think his batting saves his series enough to be worth a 6.5. Not sure Smith deserves a 3 either, an average of 7.5 as a specialist bat surely has to have him well below that.

Posted by foozball on (March 6, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

Agree with @Windsome - in this series, de Villiers peerless for SA. 9/10.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

These rankings are terrible. I wish I could think of a better word. Ridiculous maybe. How on earth do you give Morkel a 7!?!?! and Philander a 6.5?!?!

What "damage" did Morkel cause that his stats can't explain. SA's bowling attack as unit bowled terribly so you can't point to wickets at the other end that he could take credit for. He averaged 63.5 and took 1 wicket per innings and you gave him a 7. If I've ever seen something more ridiculous..

Philander only 0.5 worse than Morkel? They guy was literally protected in the 3rd innings of the 3rd test. With Steyn out, the world #2 bowled 6 overs out of 58. What an embarrassment. Hang onto that average Vernon. Means a lot..

This is a joke.

Posted by David_Boon on (March 6, 2014, 23:32 GMT)

Gotta say these ratings are way off, as usual. The SA bowlers in particular. 8 for Steyn? He bowled one good spell, and took only one wicket in the final Test. One! 7 for Morkel? He took 6 wickets in 3 games, a pathetic return. He bowled a fiery spell at Clarke but crucially forgot to try and bowl one at the stumps, or bowl anything other than another bouncer. Finally Philander, called out by the Australians pre-series for being overrated, he was proven to be exactly that. Also took 6 wickets in 3 games, and posed almost no threat at all with his medium pace. You've got one guy who bowls fast but too short, and another that bowls full but too slow. Steyn getting hurt twice cost SA big time.

Posted by NWorsn on (March 6, 2014, 22:53 GMT)

@Buggsy, despite what this article says, Philander is hardly an all-rounder. Sure, he can hold up an end with the bat, but if you take an all-rounder to be someone who could make it in the side with either role, then he falls a long way short of being a batsman..

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 6, 2014, 22:51 GMT)

Philander is over-rated by about 1.5 points here. In a four man pace attack you can't afford any passengers and he was one with excess baggage. His main job is to get top order wickets and he was tragically inept at it. .. This talk of him being an all-rounder sounds like wishful thinking. If he's an all-rounder then I'm a Martian.

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (March 6, 2014, 22:44 GMT)

I would have scored AB higher, he's a legend. Showed no fear and tonnes of talent. Didn't get lots of big scores, but he had to face really disciplined bowling across all matches.

Posted by Julian_Vella on (March 6, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

Johnson v Morkel ....

Both are intimidating and can hit the body with accuracy and speed ....

the difference is Johnson is smart enough to mix in short balls with length balls and full balls to take wickets, where Morkel seems to bowl with no brain and just pitch short and try to hit the batsman every time .....

Johnson easily better than Morkel ......

Posted by   on (March 6, 2014, 22:34 GMT)

only an 8 for devilliers. I thought if we get him out aus will win, no surprise the bowler that got him also won the match. showed attacking flair defensive drawn stubborness and defensive rearguard and only an 8. 9 id say 9.5 maybe. He'll be argued as the best batman ever when he retires, or atleast argued best south african batsman.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 6, 2014, 22:24 GMT)

A rather wishy-washy series from South Africa really; moments of brilliance from a few players at times, but generally just lacking the form and impact required to upset the Australian juggernaut. Was always going to be tough for Robin Peterson; Swann was targeted and subsequently struggled in Australia, so why would it be any different for Robin Peterson. AB was super throughout, and if anything deserves higher than 8. Morkel predictably drawing the most arguments; Morkel is generally not used/played as a strike-bowler and instead roughs up the opposition, so that Steyn/Philander can then force mistakes. He does need to watch his accuracy though... No point in trying to emulate Johnson's pace and hostility if you're only bowling wide/down leg-side, and not mixing it up enough to keep batsmen guessing. 7 perhaps therefore a tad too high, but certainly entertaining battles with e.g. Clarke nevertheless.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2014, 22:20 GMT)

Morne and Vern had very little impact and should be 4 at best,the former picking up fewer wickets than Duminy in a series. A.B,Steyn,Amla and Faf are the main guys but we need more stars and someone to back Steyn or be groomed as the next future quick.

Posted by truthfinder on (March 6, 2014, 22:12 GMT)

Dale Steyn has been an absolute disappointment. Apart from the 4th inning in Port Elizabeth, he's been nowhere near the best. He could not produce any fear to Australian batsmen otherwise. Most of the time gave away 4 runs per over. His superiority should not be judged by how many wickets he gets against India/Sri lanka/ Pak who cannot play fast bowling. It against England & Australia he should be bench marked. And there he was no where near to Johnson. Moreover his attitude in 3rd test was not acceptable. Despite knowing his injury he played and screwed the entire team. It is definitely a pride to represent country but it is more pride in showing the honesty by going through a rigorous fitness test when you really felt some part of your body is strained.

Posted by RTPbetterthanSRT on (March 6, 2014, 21:55 GMT)

7 for Morne Morkel is a bit too high. Sure he did rough up some batsmen but others such as Warner feasted on his short, unintelligent and predictable bowling. If he still hasn't learnt to mix it up with fuller deliveries after playing 56 test matches, will he ever? I also chuckled at the though of JP Duminy being considered a 'genuine allrounder' as I can't see him getting selected as a batter (average 37) or a bowler (average 39). His career best of 4/73 was being talked up by the South African commentators yet only one of those wickets had impact on the game, the other 3 were taken well after Australia had crushed South Africa. The same can be said about Abbott's wickets, he looked mediocre when it mattered and only took wickets when the Aussies were have a hit and giggle.

Posted by wrongun77 on (March 6, 2014, 21:22 GMT)

sorry but Dale Steyn gets a 5 out of 10 for me, he hasn't swung the new ball and has become too dependant on reverse swing to be effective, if the ball doesn't reverse he is not getting people out with his normal late away swing. he was very average bar the reverse swing spell in Port Elizabeth. Morne Morkel should be dropped as he has not been pitching the ball up enough and getting batsmen on the front foot, how hard is it to pitch the ball up for christs sake?

Posted by MWaqqar on (March 6, 2014, 21:13 GMT)

Comparing the marks awarded to SA and Aus players, it appears SA players have been given more marks.Abbot, Rogers and Lyon cannot be given equal marks. How could Parnell and Elgar get 5.5 while six AUS are at 5 each. Likewise four SA players at 6.5 should have been at 5 or 5.5

Posted by PaulJvR on (March 6, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

Im sorry but this is laughable at best, once again Morne Morkel (supposed strike bowler) was unbelievably rubbish, yet he gets a 7. Most of the time he bowls too wide and too short either side of the wicket and the batsmen need not play the ball, look at the stats throughout the seriesonly 6% of the deliveries he bowled would have hit the stumps, that is utter garbage. Sorry to say but it is quite shocking to be that fast and that ineffective (His stats are not great for the praise he is receiving). As proven once again Steyn has been carrying the attack for years and the other bowlers have gotten away with mediocrity barring philander who though seems to have lost some effectiveness. Im not sure about the buttering up as his one decent spell against clarke, really put the fear of god into the man and prevented him from getting 200 I guess.

Posted by Buggsy on (March 6, 2014, 20:11 GMT)

@tinkertinker, 6.5 is fair. His bowling was average, but I assume he gets extra points for his batting which is pretty darned good. He's a far better 'allrounder' (and I use that term loosely here) than Watson.

Posted by Binisa Mohanty on (March 6, 2014, 20:02 GMT)

It's high time that Philander is considered as a genuine all rounder and there is no need for the management to play an extra all rounder in the current set up. Philander showed the technique of a top order batsman. Adding to that, Morkel should work on his batting as previously he was considered as a bowling all rounder.

Posted by Winsome on (March 6, 2014, 19:11 GMT)

How does Morne come above JP? Other than that, pretty good though I'd give ABdV 9. He was miles above everyone else.

Posted by tinkertinker on (March 6, 2014, 19:11 GMT)

6.5 for vernon?

6.5 out of 100 i assume?

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Tour Results
South Africa v Australia at Centurion - Mar 14, 2014
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 30 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Durban - Mar 12, 2014
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Mar 9, 2014
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v Australia at Cape Town - Mar 1-5, 2014
Australia won by 245 runs
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Feb 20-23, 2014
South Africa won by 231 runs
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