India in South Africa 2013-14 December 31, 2013

Strengths embellished, SA need changed mindset

The 1-0 series win over India embellished South Africa's strengths and reputation. The team, however, needs to find a lead spinner and adopt a forward-thinking outlook to prepare for life without Jacques Kallis
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Steyn and de Villiers stand out

If the South African Test team believed in omens, they may have been concerned about the one staring them in face before this India tour. Before the tour, they had been undefeated in 13 series. Fortunately, they don't need lucky numbers to keep winning.

Instead the figures worked in their favour. One is the most important number, because that's the margin by which they sealed the series victory, but there are many others for them to take heart from as they extended their lead at the top of the Test rankings. They took their count of Test wins in this calendar year to seven with only one defeat, and gained two points in the Test rankings to widen the gap between themselves and their nearest challenger, India, to 16.

That distance will come in handy because South Africa have a dearth of Test cricket in the next 12 months. February's series against Australia is their biggest challenge, followed by matches against Zimbabwe away and West Indies at home. At least they know they are almost fully equipped for those tussles.

From this India series, South Africa regained the form of the two batsmen in their batting line-up who were lacking it, reconfirmed the value and skill of their pace trio and reclaimed as their own the one ground in the country that was considered an away venue. Those gains will go some way in offsetting the questions that still exist over who their best spinner is and the loss of their greatest-ever player.

Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen ended as South Africa's highest and joint second-highest run-scorers of the series. Du Plessis' century in Johannesburg illustrated the arts of patience and determination and proved that what he did in Adelaide 13 months ago was not a once-off. Importantly, it came with him batting at No.4, which will be an indication to South Africa that he is the best candidate to step into the gap Jacques Kallis has left. Du Plessis has the technique and temperament to anchor an innings so others can bat around him.

Petersen went into this series with a string of sub-30 scores to his name. In nine innings before the Johannesburg Test, he had failed to cross 30 once. In his first knock at the Wanderers, he scored 21. Under pressure in the second innings, with South Africa in the red, he composed a careful 76 and shared a century stand with Graeme Smith.

He followed that up with another hundred-run partnership with the captain in Durban, in which Petersen also raised his bat to a half-century. Although India's attack did not pose the same challenges as Pakistan - the latter's variations make them tougher - that he came through the India series unscathed will have bought him time in the team. Du Plessis and Petersen were South Africa's main worries in their line-up before this series and for both to have proved themselves again sets them up well for 2014.

Kingsmead was the other concern. Located in the heartland of the largest Indian expat area in South Africa, it has gained a reputation for favouring opposition. South Africa's two most recent defeats there were against subcontinental opposition and, with India visiting this time, it seemed the conspiracy would continue.

The pitch was not a typical home surface - on appearance and in the way it played. It was slow, sans much pace and carry, offered little for the seamers and was difficult to score freely on. Despite that, South Africa found a way. Dale Steyn helped himself to what he has called one of his best five-fors in the game and notched up his 350th wicket - in the same year he also took his 300th - giving yet another demonstration of why he is the most highly-rated bowler in the world. Vernon Philander showed he has the ability to adapt to surfaces of this nature while Morne Morkel continued to be miserly, quick and extract bounce.

More pressing will be adjusting to life without Kallis. South Africa need only look at India, who played their first series without Sachin Tendulkar, to see that it can be done but they will have to think carefully about how they're going to go about it.

There are no problems in South Africa's pace department, with plenty in reserve, which will set up an intriguing battle of the bowlers against Australia, but there is a worry in their spin cupboard. Neither Imran Tahir nor Robin Peterson is the answer. The former's confidence took a knock on an unhelpful surface at the Wanderers and he returned to bad, old habits of offering full tosses. The latter ended the Durban match with four wickets but that can be considered flattering.

Peterson was largely unthreatening - two of his scalps were off terrible shots, another one went to a sterling catch and the fourth was not out. Sometimes that kind of luck is what it takes to spark a run of good form, so he may have that on his side, along with his contributions with that bat, but South Africa still need to keep looking. They have Simon Harmer and Eddie Leie knocking on the door, but may not want to introduce either against Australia, although they could be called on later next year.

More pressing will be adjusting to life without Kallis. South Africa need only look at India, who played their first series without Sachin Tendulkar, to see that it can be done but they will have to think carefully about how they're going to go about it.

Kallis' worth was evident more in his last Test than it had been throughout the year. He scored a typically circumspect century to lay the platform for the win and bowled his share of overs in the first innings. The balance he adds to the team will take some re-strategising to maintain in his absence.

Allrounders, especially pace-bowling ones, are hard to come by and while Ryan McLaren is one option, South Africa will have to sift through a few other ideas. Du Plessis should move to No. 4. They could then bring an extra batsman, specialist wicket-keeper or bowler in at No.7.

Apart from the changes in personnel that will take place, South Africa will also need a change of mindset. As Smith said, the person who comes is not Kallis' replacement because there is no such thing. That cricketer will simply be another player trying to fulfill a certain role.

That's the right approach - a positive, forward-thinking mindset, which South Africa were accused of lacking after the Wanderers Test. They came within eight runs of the highest successful chase in Test cricket history and chose to play for the draw because they did not want to lose. Giving up on a chance to make history was seen as too conservative and defensive.

It was also seen as a fear of failure. After Durban, South Africa did not have reason to regret not going for broke in Johannesburg. Even though it will not stop people wondering whether a lingering fear of failure still exists in the South Africa change-room, surely after 14 unbeaten series, there is not much to be afraid of.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Dun1 on | January 7, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    The Wanderers Test sums up South African cricket. With a weak minded captain who is afraid to lose, this cricket team will never be truly feared.

  • POSTED BY mahjut on | January 3, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Well, i am an SA fan and fully understood their approach in the final 4 overs of the first test. I also think that they have to back Peterson (he did fine - excellent with the bat) as spinner/bat vs Aus then look to blood one vs Zim or WI

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | January 2, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    The importance of having a specialist spinner has been overstated. With a few modest exceptions we've done fine without one since readmission. And our bowling attack is the envy of world cricket. Besides, it is not something that comes easily in South Africa. We don't have a culture of spin bowling excellence and tracks or coaches to develop it. We've also never had an issue with taking 20 wickets, so what's the problem? All you need is speed!

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | January 2, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    SA showed discourage in last overs of first test when DuPlessis got run-out irresponsibly. Philander didn't try to score runs to save the match. There is no doubt, like me, every SA fans had extreme anger against the team.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx I really don't see a test quality spinner in the domestic setup. JP is a pretty decent option seeing that he bowls a tight line from around or over the wicket, bowls a good length, gets good drift and gets the odd one to turn really sharp to keep the batsmen honest. I know he's not a world beater but he's the best we currently have. His stats aren't too bad either.

  • POSTED BY Haseeb_Aslam on | January 2, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    Strange to see all Protea fans want to see al-rounders in SA test squad and none of them is worried about the weak spin dept. Moonda is so right here that No.One test side must ponder about inclusion of a 'specialist effective' spinner. With a depth in batting, it should be easy for protea to get introduce some future spinner gurus.

  • POSTED BY Crick_Expert on | January 2, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    The truth is that ... Every one KING & play well at home backyard.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | January 2, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    @Wapuser: Duminy is no where near being a test spinner full stop. He is no where near Lyon even.

  • POSTED BY SkyCutter on | January 2, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    There is no doubt that SA is the best team in this format and have proved it yet again. Only one test defeat in 2013 s is amazing.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | January 1, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    @Muneeb_Dawood I take onboard what you say about JP but he is not a youngster anymore and he now has responsibility to be consistent, looking at his scoring of late, there hasn't been much there. The indian bowlers easily worked him out. I just don't think his mind is right, he looks really out of touch. The real reason for promoting Faff is that he seems to do better when he is put in pressure situations and when he has more time. That's why I would have him at 4. Faff has a stronger mind than JP in my opinion. The Adelaide and Wanderers Tests are testimony to his mental strength and non-chokeability.

  • POSTED BY Dun1 on | January 7, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    The Wanderers Test sums up South African cricket. With a weak minded captain who is afraid to lose, this cricket team will never be truly feared.

  • POSTED BY mahjut on | January 3, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Well, i am an SA fan and fully understood their approach in the final 4 overs of the first test. I also think that they have to back Peterson (he did fine - excellent with the bat) as spinner/bat vs Aus then look to blood one vs Zim or WI

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | January 2, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    The importance of having a specialist spinner has been overstated. With a few modest exceptions we've done fine without one since readmission. And our bowling attack is the envy of world cricket. Besides, it is not something that comes easily in South Africa. We don't have a culture of spin bowling excellence and tracks or coaches to develop it. We've also never had an issue with taking 20 wickets, so what's the problem? All you need is speed!

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | January 2, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    SA showed discourage in last overs of first test when DuPlessis got run-out irresponsibly. Philander didn't try to score runs to save the match. There is no doubt, like me, every SA fans had extreme anger against the team.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx I really don't see a test quality spinner in the domestic setup. JP is a pretty decent option seeing that he bowls a tight line from around or over the wicket, bowls a good length, gets good drift and gets the odd one to turn really sharp to keep the batsmen honest. I know he's not a world beater but he's the best we currently have. His stats aren't too bad either.

  • POSTED BY Haseeb_Aslam on | January 2, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    Strange to see all Protea fans want to see al-rounders in SA test squad and none of them is worried about the weak spin dept. Moonda is so right here that No.One test side must ponder about inclusion of a 'specialist effective' spinner. With a depth in batting, it should be easy for protea to get introduce some future spinner gurus.

  • POSTED BY Crick_Expert on | January 2, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    The truth is that ... Every one KING & play well at home backyard.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | January 2, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    @Wapuser: Duminy is no where near being a test spinner full stop. He is no where near Lyon even.

  • POSTED BY SkyCutter on | January 2, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    There is no doubt that SA is the best team in this format and have proved it yet again. Only one test defeat in 2013 s is amazing.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | January 1, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    @Muneeb_Dawood I take onboard what you say about JP but he is not a youngster anymore and he now has responsibility to be consistent, looking at his scoring of late, there hasn't been much there. The indian bowlers easily worked him out. I just don't think his mind is right, he looks really out of touch. The real reason for promoting Faff is that he seems to do better when he is put in pressure situations and when he has more time. That's why I would have him at 4. Faff has a stronger mind than JP in my opinion. The Adelaide and Wanderers Tests are testimony to his mental strength and non-chokeability.

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | January 1, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    Truthfinder, I think you missed the point of the analogy. The league title - the Test Mace - is the one to win. The T20 and ODI cups are lovely, but not an indication of where the true quality lies. While everyone's opinion has value, all that matters at the end of the day are the ICC World Rankings. And those show the Proteas at the top of the heap. That said, winning an ODI World Cup would be nice but I'm not holding my breath. What would the naysayers have to pick on if we won that!

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | January 1, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    My starting XI vs Australia would be Smith, Peterson, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy, De Kock wk, Philander, Abbot, Steyn, Morkel. JP is as good a bowler as Lyon and no matter how diplomatic De Villiers is about his workload, he simply must be freed from keeping duties so that he can focus on being the rock in the batting lineup. Thami just isn't good enough or young enough for that matter, to be a longterm option as wicket keeper.

  • POSTED BY Smahuta on | January 1, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    JP is not the future for the number 4 spot. He is 29 now and only averages 32, which is way too low for the number 4 spot in the number one team in the world imo. He should be played as the allrounder batting at 8 in the same role as Robbie Peterson has now. i would also draft De Kock in and play him at 7 in the tests like Aus did with Gilchrist. My team after Kallis is as follows.

    Peterson, Smith, Amla, De Villiers, Du PLessis, Elgar, De Kock, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 1, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    I'm a big Australia fan and loving our form at the moment but this series against the Proteas may be jut a step to far at this stage. I don't think we will get thrashed by any means but I think the bowling attacks are similar but the Protea battling depth will be the difference. Gut feeling is 2-1 Protea win

  • POSTED BY creebo777 on | January 1, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    yeah cricket not really big here in south africa,that record chase against india wouldve been great promo for our test team ..i think jp should bat at four too but faf is ahead of him in the pickings

  • POSTED BY Shazy777 on | January 1, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    My playing X1 against aus... Smith, Petersen, Amla, jp, ab, faf, R.petersen, Parnell, Phlinder, Steyn. Morkal I move jp at no.4 it help to retain left & Right combination which is very useful... Parnell brings varity to the attack & handy with the bat as well... in squad De kock, Elgar, Abbot, De langa...!!! tahir is used in asia only....

  • POSTED BY Captainman on | January 1, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Now I understand why India reduced the schedule of this tour to less than half. SA cannot attract a big crowd.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    My team for the 1st Test against Australia at SuperSport Park, in batting order, assuming everyone is fully fit: 1. Graeme Smith (C), 2. Alviro Petersen, 3. JP Duminy, 4. Hashim Amla, 5. AB de Villiers, 6. Francois du Plessis, 7. Dean Elgar, 8. Vernon Philander, 9. Kyle Abbott, 10. Dale Steyn, 11. Morne Morkel.

    Play Duminy as our allrounder and frontline spinner and bat him at 3 (give him more responsibility and maybe he'll take more responsibility), shift Amla down to 4 (all the great number three batsmen moved down to number four eventually, anyway, such as Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis, etc.), play Elgar in place of Kallis and Abbott in place of Robbie P (I know he played ok against India, but we have to balance our team after the loss of Kallis, so Robbie P gonna have to take one for the team). This team has 7 specialist batsmen, 4 seamers and a spinner. Perfect balance. Frankly, I don't think McLaren or Parnell are good enough batsmen or bowlers to be allrounders at Test level.

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | January 1, 2014, 12:02 GMT

    @Muneeb_Dawood on (January 1, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

    Yes he did struggle. Then Adelaide happened. In the act of surviving, he developed a simple game plan based on low percentage risk. In the Adelaide innings, everything on off side was left. This forced the bowlers to bowl straighter which allowed Faf to score of his pads into the leg side where he is much stronger.

    Then Pakistan happened and Faf forgot Adelaide and reverted back to wanting to be the guy with all the shots. He looked woefully out of his depth...more likely to snick it to the WK or slips than actually score.

    And then Wanderers where he went back into survival mode and adopted the technique that made him successful in Adelaide. The technique is not pretty, its damn slow and boring and reminds everyone of Kallis but it is SUCCESSFUL...something that the SA coaches must drill into Faf's head. Faf is not AB and he shouldn't even try. He shares traits with Kallis. Thats why most people are saying he should bat 4.

  • POSTED BY AB_DeVilliers on | January 1, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    ..just to finish off about Amla, he has the ability to hit good balls to the boundary and will not be shuffled in the order. AB will stay at 5, so this should be out line-up at Centurion: Smith Petersen Amla JP AB Faf Mclaren Robbie Philander Steyn Morkel (9 bat 6 bowl).

  • POSTED BY AB_DeVilliers on | January 1, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    @tommytucker and Unomaas, thanks for your guys responses. Interesting to hear your thoughts on the batting order. I agree that Faf is the more obvious choice given his hundred in Jo'burg, but we must not forget that before that innings, he struggled to get the ball off the square against the spinners and also poked and prodded the Pakistani quicks. Our choice for number 4 should not be based on recent form as that clouds judgement, it should be based on potential of the player and the overall balance they bring to the batting line-up. As someone with enormous potential and still relatively young, Duminy should be our next number 4, but we can agree to disagree on this one ;)

    The rest of the batting line-up will remain the same. There is no chance SA will move Amla simply because he is our best bat at that position. A no.3 should not only be able to absorb pressure, but should also be able to transfer that pressure back to the bowler

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | January 1, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Agree @Vaughanographic on (January 1, 2014, 8:56 GMT) about both Parnell and Harmer. If the selectors show that kind of thinking they'll be throwing a curved ball at Lehmann and SA would probably win. If not, I'm expecting at least a drawn series given the need for a spinner at both Newlands and St. George's. Lyon is so much more improved since Adelaide he'll scarcely be recognizable. But if SA's attack strike early, it'll be tough to come back whatever the bowlers do.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    I don't think we are going to see a big change in the composition of the team with Kallis gone. The question the selectors need to answer is, which gap does Kallis leave in the team, does he open a gap in batting or bowling? If the batting needs strengthing (I don't think it does), then bring in a Thami who avg around 40 with the bat (very good by any wk standards). Otherwise if the selectors feel that Kallis leaves a big gap in the bowling department, then we need a seaming bowler akin to Kallis (tight lines, clean and takes wickets) and that will be McLaren or Parnell (if his eco rate improves). Otherwise I don't think the team will change all that much. I don't think the selectors will drop neither of JP/RP/Tahir.

  • POSTED BY Vaughanographic on | January 1, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    I think Van Zyl should be next middle order batsman and feel Simon Harmer should get the spinner's role soon as he has proved it all in first class cricket-plus he can bat. De kock sadly has not scored enough first class runs this season to get into the team but definitely should take tsolekile's place on the bench. I was impressed with Parnell's pace at first class level and feel if we need a fourth seamer/bowling all rounder he should be it and not mclaren-the idea of a potentially quick (albeit erratic) 4th seamer to fire in short bursts appeals. So to sum up-if SA goes with the seven batsman strategy Elgar/Van zyl to come in, with Duminy bowling more (both Elgar and Van zyl can bowl a little too) OR Play harmer and Parnell which means with them and philander SA will have some OK batting at numbers 7/8/9 in the order

  • POSTED BY creebo777 on | January 1, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    we scored over 450 twice against india without amla.tahir should bowl over the wicket ,he almost took a wicket,robbie p not good enough,van zyl,hendricks,de kock should be in the 15 man squad not rory kleinveldt an thami

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | January 1, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    For all those putting stock in Daryll Cullinan's analysis...please don't. The guy is not exactly role model material and has got one of the worst reputations when it comes to Saffa cricketing circles.

    @Protears on (December 31, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

    Dude...you just re-arranged the whole batting line up in your new team sheet. If it ain't broken, don't try to fix it.

    You can't just shift people into top orders if they don't have the necessary credentials. Top order batters are made, not born. Casing point: there was a brief period where AB was experimented with as an opener. He failed...miserably.

    I do however agree with your assessment that Elgar is a top order batter. In order to accommodate him and maximise his potential, I would rather play Elgar at 3 and then shift Amla 1 down. Elgar has been making hundreds and double hundreds recently.

    A better team sheet would read: 1. Smith 2. Peterson 3. Elgar 4. Amla 5. ABdV 6. Faf 7. Robbie P 8. McLaren/Parnell 9. Vern 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

  • POSTED BY truthfinder on | January 1, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    @Shongololo, holding premiership in EPL is NOT THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FOOTBALL. There are leagues in Europe where the standard of football is far better than EPL. The spanish, Italian and German leagues are far superior & competitive than EPL. Neither that EPL champion wins European club cup or Champions League. So just do not over hype EPL like IPL in India. SA are nowhere dominant in Test. In Australia they were outplayed nearly 80% of the series. If there would have been points for inning lead or run scored or wicket taken SA lost the series by a distance. it was only because of one good batting performance by Smith & Amla and bowling by Steyn that australia edge out 1-0.

  • POSTED BY on | January 1, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    Alviro Petersen never looked as shaky or unconfident as Rudolph or Prince did during their tenure. Yes, looks are sometimes important when you're not in good form and Petersen always showcases a stern outlook. He was never out of touch IMO. So I don't understand why his place is often being doubted. People may cry for de Kock. But I personally think he's still not there to get his Test cap, not yet considering the Australia challenge looming on the horizon. I also think SA should bring in Ryan McLaren. He can be a very good lower order allrounder. And spin option should be considered on ad-hoc basis. If the wicket is a turner pick Tahir and do not expect any batting from him. If not pick Robbie to get the overs going and for lower order batting stability.

  • POSTED BY truthfinder on | January 1, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    South Africa, although solid, still not looking very dominating.They beat a very inexperienced (batting), and ineptitude (bowling) Indian team in their home ground by a whisker of margin. Not something for #1 team to proud of. This kind of performance will not be sufficient against Australia. AB must leave the glove. SA is loosing their best batsman and best fielder in him keeping behind the wicket. Coming at #5 he hardly can set up the tone of the game. He must come at #3 and score meaningfully in the first inning. Not in match saving effort like in 1st test. The excellent catches that he took behind the wicket would have been taken by any regular wicket keeper. But SA are missing those half or quarter chances that he'd've taken in first/second slip or silly point or forward short leg.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | January 1, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    it is very disheartning to see kallis the best retire with only a handful of centuries before he smokes sachins record.....

    the only logical reason for his early retirement must be sachin gauranteeing (wink wink) him a comfortable FORTUNE remainder of his life

  • POSTED BY JohanStruwig on | January 1, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Jacques Kallis cannot be replaced. SA has to take a fresh look at the composition of their team, i.e. what are the team's needs, what type of players they want to play, and the bowling batting mix in the 11. Having both Philander and Peterson in the team strengthens the batting considerably. SA may have to consider a specialist batsman to fill Kallis' spot. That still leaves, Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Peterson and Duminy who can bowl. SA have always played without a frontline spinner. Robbie is the closest we have to that. Tahir is a risk and his batting is non existent. On picthes that are not spin friendly, McClaren can be considered.

  • POSTED BY In_the_Face on | January 1, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    SA rightly deserved to win the series. India was never in the hunt with the mediocre bowling. But the series did show chinks in the SAffers armor. If Amla doesn't click SA batting is in trouble. AB's unorthodox batting style is clicking for the present but it will be a double edged sword bringing his downfall. Faf is marvelous in a tight situation but how much he asserts himself in the coming days needs to be seen. Steyn is a highly emotional person. One or two barren series like the first test, he will retire. Without Steyn at his fiery best at the other end, Philander is cannon fodder. Morkel is an effort bowler and it is showing on his body. The series with Oz will be most defining and am expecting to see SA back in the 2-4 positions shortly!

  • POSTED BY JohanStruwig on | January 1, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    @mensan. The BCCI probably asked for a flat wicket in Durban and we adhered to their request. It is a pitty the BCCI could not make it rain more over the 5 days. Perhaps they are not as powerful as they think they are.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 1, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    I think du plessis is the right choice for no 4, while Ryan mclaren could be a good choice at no 7. Otherwise the team looks good enough but JP Duminy's career could be on the line after a few failures..

  • POSTED BY Robster1 on | January 1, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    The Cobras Van Zyl seems to be the next cab off the rank with his constant scoring at provincial level. King K is of course irreplaceable.

  • POSTED BY Shongololo on | December 31, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    @Chandrasekaran TA...we hold the ICC mace for best Test nation - that's like holding the Premiership in English football, the pinnacle. The ODI and T20 World Cups are more akin to the FA Cup or what used to be called the League Cup but has had so many name changes in recent years I've lost touch. Yes, nice to win but ultimately secondary to the ultimate prize, the Test Mace. But hey, if your ignorant remarks and venting your bitterness makes you feel better, go for it!

  • POSTED BY Shongololo on | December 31, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    @Chandrasekaran TA...we hold the ICC mace for best Test nation - that's like holding the Premiership in English football, the pinnacle. The ODI and T20 World Cups are more akin to the FA Cup or what used to be called the League Cup but has had so many name changes in recent years I've lost touch. Yes, nice to win but ultimately secondary to the ultimate prize, the Test Mace. But hey, if your ignorant remarks and venting your bitterness makes you feel better, go for it!

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    @THE_MIZ Totally agree with you comments and you have enlightened me that Elgar is not going to offer much more than JP. And Elgar was horrific against Australia very nervous and got out quickly. However, if a player fails in a series, surely the incumbent gets a chance?

    In terms of spin an option could be Eddie Leie, decent average considering the conditions in SA.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    Muneeb_Dawood is clearly a student of the game and knows his stuff. I couldn't agree more with him more about McClaren, he is the next logical choice and I too like his bowling variation. He is a much improved bowler and deserves reward.

    In terms of JP, I would promote Faff to no.4 instead as he got a Ton in that position and thrives in taking more time to build an innings. JP for me is totally out of form. So Mr Dawood - team would be. 1.Smith 2.Petesen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6. Elgar 7. McClaren 8. Petersen (Abbott) 9. Vernon 10. Steyn 11. Morkel.

    Its its a seamers track I would replace Petersen with Abbott.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Guys far too many people here sending JP to bat at 3 or 4 - not a chance. He is lucky to be in the team. Faff will bat at 4 and AB keeps his spot at 5 to accelerate an innings.

    JP is totally out of form and should be dropped. Plenty cover to replace him. Hope Abbott gets a go.

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    I have a nagging suspicion that the selectors are considering Elgar but in his preferred opener position where he believes he is better suited this would mean there is a consideration towards Duminy's place in the team. if this was the case it also leads to my suspicion that Amla will move to 4 while Faf Du Plessis may take over at the pivotal number 3 spot and Alviro will fall down to 6th a more natural position for him.

    Smith, Elgar, Du Plessis, Amla, De Villiers, Peterson, McLaren/Parnell, Peterson, Philander, Steyn, Morkel could possibly happen, if not then Alviro will open as I think he will as he is in good form just doesn't convert enough for me a bit like Shane Watson, and Duminy will retain 6th spot and be the 6th bowling option.

    With Kallis gone and more faith placed on Smith, Amla and De Villiers it is a good platform for the Alviro's, Duminy's and Du Plessis's to step up to the plate and assume some load off the stalwarts shoulders all three have the talent.

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    Couple of things to point out here:

    First is there will not be radical changes to the squad, Kallis goes out but that's the only change so lay off the idea that Stiaan Van Zyl, Quinton De Kock, Harmer, Viljoen and every emerging player will be in the squad because they will not.

    Secondly the person that plays will either be a all rounder or a bowler not a batsmen, so forget De Kock or Elgar playing because of one reason that leaves us 4 front line bowlers and a part timer in Duminy and that is a disaster waiting to happen. Mark my words it will be Abbott or Klienveldt or maybe in a creative throw of the dice Tahir or it will be a lower order all rounder like Parnell or McLaren.

    Finally I really hope Daryl Cullinan gets shot for even uttering Thsami Tsolikele, he is useless and again that leaves us a bowling option short and puts tremendous pressure on Steyn and Philander. DC it will not be a batsmen and I can assure you it wil be far from Tsolikele.

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | December 31, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    India proved a sterner test than was expected, particularly after their puff pastry performances in the ODI's. Their batters in particular put together some impressive performances and the Proteas did not have it all their own way. But to beat this SA side you have to play well for 5 days and until the line is crossed, so from that point of view, and given we won it 1-0, Indian supporters will be disappointed. A tougher assignment awaits when the Aussies visit. 43 years since we beat them at home, so definitely a box that Graeme Smith will want to tick. JP Duminy is a worry, but he has so much talent that doubtless the selectors will persist with him.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 31, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    @Protears Stiaan Van Zyl bats left handed!

    recently Elgar outscored him for the SA A team against the touring India A. Also check Elgars recent four day scores and compare with JP and the likes.. You should see why Elgar is a better option than JP at the moment. JP pushes to much away from his body leaving gaps between his bat and pads giving chance to get bowled or nicking off!

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | December 31, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    @ Chandrasekaran TA who loudly & confidently proclaimed "Send them to India. We will show what spin mean... SA has never won a single ICC trophy. Till then I don't consider them the best."

    Mistake #1: SA has won an ICC trophy - the 1st Champions trophy - so by YOUR logic, you now MUST consider them the best, right? So, by his own words, Chandrasekaran TA considers SA the best. Thank you Chandrasekaran TA, I also consider SA the world's best. We agree on this.

    Mistake #2: SA has been to India, & seen what spin means. SA has won a test SERIES by WHITEWASH in India, where the teams are TIED in the number of test wins! Yes, in India, SA has won 5 tests, & India has won 5 tests. They are tied in the spinners den!

    In SA, India has NEVER won a series, & have won only 2 matches. SA has won 5 series and 8 matches.

    In TOTAL, SA has won 6 series & 13 matches, India has won 2 series & 7 matches. The stats don't lie. In Tests & test Series between India and SA, South Africa ARE the best!

  • POSTED BY gimme-a-greentop on | December 31, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    I would also love to see Parnell given a go - he has the ability to be a match winner. Unfortunately he also has bad days, but has actually been pretty consistent lately and also bowling fast and well in the local first-class competition. Also a far better batsman than most give him credit for. He is still young (remember he made his debut at 19 or 20), so I think they should get him in now, along with De Cock, as soon as possible. SA need to keep grooming the young guys.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | December 31, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Without question, giving up on a chance to make history was too conservative and defensive. This doesn't bode well in the quite different shorter forms of the game as well as when playing attacking teams. Still, this test team is undoubtedly as tough as any in South Africa's history. In my book they became #1 in 2009 and I expect them to stay there for a few years more. But coping with life after JK will be as hard as it was for the Aussies after Warne and McGrath. Elgar at #7 to boost the batting stocks against Johnson. Can't see Mclaren being of sufficient value. Robbie P has to play as much for his non-bowling skills as for his spin on the Newlands and St George's tracks. But the holding bowler is missing from this line-up and may remain so. Conservative minded management will prefer Mclaren i feel sure. In the long run Parnell's variety might pay dividends, so SA will remain very formidable even on the next tour of Australia. But without spinners, the subcontinent will be tough

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | December 31, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    @Chandrasekaran TA on (December 31, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

    For your information, we won the first ICC champions Trophy. Go troll somewhere else!

  • POSTED BY jimmyvida on | December 31, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Don't be too quick to judge some of your batting against India as great. India's bowling is weak and its fielding leaves much to be desired. See how well these same players performed against Pakistan. One advantage is that Clarke sets an attacking field and does not play follow the ball like most captains around. Amla failed, and were he an Indian batsman these bloggers would be calling for his demise. How do we replace Kallis, is the big question. As I said in a previous blog, it was not a question of supporters, but your news media made this contest out to be a joke. Why would anyone want to pay money to see what the news media thought may not go beyond the 3rd day.

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | December 31, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    @Muneeb_Dawood on (December 31, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

    JP at 4? I'm not convinced! His record in the last couple of matches leaves a lot to be desired. If it wasn't for his bowling, I suspect he would have been dropped for Elgar. Since his return from Injury, his looked like a walking wicket against quality bowlers.

    He has gained this tendency of pushing and poking at deliveries that should be left. He also doesn't look like he is comfortable against spinners either. His problem is compounded by the fact that when he walks into bat, he most probably also faces the 2nd new ball.

    Given all these observations, I wouldn't feel confident of JP stepping in at 4. In fact, I would would be more inclined to send Robbie P at 4 than JP. Similarly in ODI's, everytime JP steps in at 3 or 4, more often than not he fails. If it wasn't for his performance during the India ODI's, I suspect there would be calls for his head there as well.

  • POSTED BY Shazy777 on | December 31, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    My playing X1 against aus... Smith, Petersen, Amla, jp, ab, faf, R.petersen, Parnell, Phlinder, Steyn. Morkal I move jp at no.4 it help to retain left & Right combination which is very useful... Parnell brings varity to the attack & handy with the bat as well... in squad De kock, Elgar, Abbot, De langa...!!! tahir is handy in asia only....

  • POSTED BY mensan on | December 31, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    I did not like the SA approach of making placid wickets against India. They should have played to their strength and made fast tracks.

  • POSTED BY creebo777 on | December 31, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    mclaren not a impact player,parnell in beter form took 8 wickets last week,bowled with good pace swung it into the right handers and away,genuine all rounder

  • POSTED BY AB_DeVilliers on | December 31, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Agree that SA will fill the spot with an all-rounder at 7, and given that Mclaren has made progress in the limited overs format, he stands first in line for the spot. He is actually quite an attacking bowler and is able to shape the ball away and get the odd one to nip in, so will in fact strengthen the bowling more than the batting.

    In terms of who bats at 4 - I'd like to hear what u guys think about actually promoting JP. It will mean Faf goes to 6 which is one higher so more time to bat. Reason for this I that I believe JP has the ability to be a stroke maker at 4. He has all the shots, just needs to tighten up slightly which will come. Also, if we keep JP 6 and go with Mclaren at 7, it means 6, 7, and 8 (Petersen) will all be left handers which is not ideal.

    What you guys think?

  • POSTED BY THE_MIZ on | December 31, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    For the gap left by Kallis, I'm inclined to go with a fast bowling all-rounder. The 3 candidates are Mclaren, Parnell, David Wiese.

    Mclaren's got the experience, temperament, consistency, good line-and-length 130-135kph bowler and will have good economy rates and contribute in patches with his 30s-40s. Calm, collected like Kallis, but not likely to score hundreds.

    I think that Parnell should be given a go. Purely for his X-factor. He provides variation as left-arm fast bowling all-rounder in the 140-145kph range but a weaker batsman with ability to play aggresively from time to time. His main problem is being inconsistent, expensive.

    If SA go conservative and consistency: Mclaren If SA looking for a flair player: Parnell.

    Agree with @Protears, Elgar for Duminy is not an upgrade. SA: Smith, Peterson, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy, Parnell, Peterson (Tahir on spinning track), Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

    4 all-rounders (3 bowling, 1 batting)

  • POSTED BY creebo777 on | December 31, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    iparnell is the best all rounder in south africa,hope they dont go with mclaren...de kock as keeper if abdv gona bat at four, maybe we should try harmer as a spinner

  • POSTED BY on | December 31, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Great respect for Cullinan as a analyst but i'm stunned that he seriously suggested that if De Villiers gives up the gloves in tests now to focus on batting - Tsokeile should take over. Surely it has to be De Kock?

  • POSTED BY THE_MIZ on | December 31, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa, I'm in full agreement about SA playing a spinner that ACTUALLY SPINS the ball and not just holding up an end. The problem is that Tahir is the only one capable on his day doing such a thing, if he's having an off-day, he serves up the buffet of full tosses, long hops which means Smith has bowl the others for longer spells. i don't have the true answer to your question about Harmer, but stats will show that he's not really worth holding our breath for and that Tahir is BY FAR the best spinner around -a problem right?

    As for going with an all pace attack... not likely despite our spinners' inadequacies. Elgar is a like-for-like replacement for Duminy - both take long to settle (if they manage to last that long) , both bowl part-time spin. Duminy wins this one because: 1) Experience 2) Picked up wickets against India 3) Despite being out of form, has shown quality on international stage...Elgar hasn't proved his worth in the chances he's got.

  • POSTED BY sanjai_zequin on | December 31, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    @ Chandrasekaran TA for your kind info last 2 tours southafrica made to india th end result woz a series draw, and even ther south african pace especialy run through th bating line up nd bundled them under 80

    So dont underestimate south africa, they never lost a series outside home, since 2005

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | December 31, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    Disgrace that there was no support for Kallis and sa in his last test. In Aussie they don't televise the game in the city it's being played.think the same should happen in sa and we will see bigger crowds at games

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | December 31, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Send them to India. We will show what spin mean. Every team has strength at their own den. SA has never won a single ICC trophy. Till then I don't consider them the best.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    @Unomaas 100% agree Tahir was outstanding in the UAE against Pakistan and its great to see an attacking leg spinner in action as apposed to our usual boring holding spinners. Horses for courses, Tahir in Sub continent.

    I appreciate R Petersen can bat but if he is selected he is being selected to bowl spin and most batsmen find him very easy to put away. He is almost as expensive as Tahir in some ways. Whenever he comes on to bowl there is a huge release of pressure and batsmen play him easily. Looking at the wickets he took against India - all 4 were very fortuitous. How good is Harmer in comparison? I have never seen him play. We desperately need a better solution in this department.

  • POSTED BY byeprem on | December 31, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @anuajm: There is no doubt that South africa are the best test team in the world now. My comments were basically addressed to the observations that du plessis and petersen/peterson have done well and answered their critics etc. Especially the commentators were talking at lot about peterson as spinner.For these players, their performance will have to be seen in the future against better bowling attacks to conclude that they are back in form etc and deserve to stay in Saf team for longer time.

  • POSTED BY theCricketPurist on | December 31, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    I believe RSA still need an all-rounder because their spinners cannot play a holding role. Tahir needs subcontinental conditions to succeed, and Peterson is a better batsman than bowler (lol). McLaren seems to be the best all-rounder option at the moment, and he seems to be in decent form too. If Duminy fails in the Aus series they should definitely consider playing de kock in the next series. He has not done anything of note since Aus tour of 2008-09. Also, Eddie Leie has impressive FC stats (avg ~25 SR ~41) and may be the solution to their spin woes.

    However, looking only at the next series (vs Aus), my XI would be: Smith (C), Peterson, Amla, DuPlessis, DeVilliers (wk), Duminy, McLaren, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Peterson/Tahir.

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | December 31, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    @ B.C.G on (December 31, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

    Nobody has forgotten that Robbie P is an all rounder. Its the difference between the 2 mind sets of the spinners. Tahir is all out attack spinner. He can make a wicket happen...like Steyn. Robbie P will put the ball in the correct areas and wait for a batsmen to make a mistake.

    All things considered, Tahir is quite a novelty in SA with his attacking instincts. You need to think of Tahir as a weapon. He doesn't understand defense. He will happily try to bowl wicket taking deliveries whole day and don't care how much runs he concedes. Smith also needs to learn how and when to use him.

    Tahir must only play in sub continent. Robbie must play everywhere else.

  • POSTED BY anuajm on | December 31, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    @byeprem: SA clearly showed the gap that exists b/w them and other teams. Chasing 458 on a 5th day pitch with 4-5 sessions remaining against any attack is difficult, and it was truly the class of the SA batsman to come upto the challenge and almost win the match. Yes spin is a problem, but with the kind of pace attack they have, if Peterson can just hold one end up, that would be more then enough..They won a series 3-0 and drew one against Pak very recently. yes series against Australia would be a great challenge but i am sure they will trump it..

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | December 31, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa

    Agree with Faf's promotion to 4. Faf must just learn to shelve his offside game because his technique becomes much more compact and he minimises the risk of getting out.

    Don't agree with De Cocks inclusion. AB's performance as WK has highlighted that we need a top class WK because 30-40% of dismissals come to the WK. QdK's glove work needs SERIOUS improvement. Can't justify QdK's place in team as only a batsman ahead of other incumbents. I would swap JP for QdK in your line up. JP brings alot of history to the Aus/SA clash. The aussies will never forget how JP outbatted them in 2009. We should definitely practice some mental disintegration on these aussies.

    Like Abbats inclusion and he bats too! Its important that aussies can't get 20 wickets which will blunt Johnson.

    Would love to see B Hendricks added to the squad. We all remember the potent combination of Donald and Schults...would like to see a potent leftie bowling 140 clicks with Steyn, Vern and Morkel.

  • POSTED BY SA_FAN315 on | December 31, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    14 series undefeated is quiet an accomplishment....Clearly shows that this is the best side in the world right now .......SA can't be blamed for the draw in the first test because the Indian blowing was short and wide which made it difficult to even land bat on ball and its unfair to expect STYEN to get those run....can't blame any side for the draw because had indian blowers targeted the stumps and gone for the win then SA could have easily got the runs and won....so the draw in the first test is understandable...

  • POSTED BY Z.Majid on | December 31, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    SA XI against Australia 1.smith 2.Peterson 3.amla 4.du plessis 5.de villiers 6.de kock 7.duminy 8.peterson 9.philander 10.steyn 11.morkel

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Team for Centurion:

    Smith, Peterson, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy, McLaren, Peterson, Philander, Steyn, Morkel. Unless dramatics happen the only possible change is Abbott instead of McLaren, beyond that without De Kock in the side you can go Elgar for Duminy but thats not an upgrade.

  • POSTED BY philvic on | December 31, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    As an expat I have never heard of Eddie Leie but his first class bowling stats look exceptional, even if he is a rabbit with bat. SR of 41 for a spinner is almost unheard of. Give him a go!

  • POSTED BY B.C.G on | December 31, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Why does everyone here forget that Robbie is an all rounder?Robbie concedes 3.5 runs per over without appearing threatening.Tahir goes for 5-6 per over doing the same.Plus his batting & superman style fielding.Think back to the Joburg test.Why did Steyn & Phil plod away?Thank Tahir's batting for that.Just imagine if Robbie had been there.

  • POSTED BY sanjai_zequin on | December 31, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    JP Duminy is only th weak link in batting, but he is bowling well, so either one of peterson or duminy hav to b in team, and bring in wayne parnell, he is in gud form nowadayz , he has talent, and he is young, so giv chance to him th line up shuld b lyk these Smith, Petersen, Amla, Faf, AB, deKock, JP/Peterson, Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

    and bring in Rossouw and Harmer, after some yearz

    Smith, de Kock, Amla, Rossuow, AB, Faf,Parnell,Harmer,Philander, Steyn, Morkel

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    I don't like that team at all, Dean Elgar's only positive over JP Duminy is that he is new to test cricket and there is a lingering of hope that he may not end up like JP another disappointment Furthermore Elgar's last test vs Australia was a nightmare. South Africa has 3 batsmen domestically that are putting a claim in. Stiaan V Zyl a right hander able to score freely on both sides of the wicket, Quinton De Kock, a free scoring left hander and Steven Cook vastly experienced now but with Alviro's form in this series we are not in need of an opener now.

    Smith, Alviro, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy are dead certain to happen and I think they will go with Robin Peterson and Philander as bowling All Rounders then Steyn and Morkel as bowlers leaving the tough choice for the final position vacated by Kallis. Do we go for a bowler(Abbott or Tahir), do we go for a batsmen(Elgar/De Kock) or do we go for another all rounder(McLaren/Parnell). AB's surgery ??

  • POSTED BY byeprem on | December 31, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    South Africa are needlessly going gaga over this win. When the series started everyone expected South africa to crush india 2-0. But it was a closely fought series. No need to be too impressed with runs against indian bowling attack. Same questions will return to haunt them when facing australian pacers or pakistani pacers next time. Also Petersen the spinner is completely useless, he was lucky in all his wickets and luck does not always go your way.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    Faff has to be promoted, its evident he plays better when he has more time at the crease.

    SA team to play Australia: 1. Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Elgar 7.De kock 8.Vernon 9.Abbott 10.Steyn 11.Morkel

    What a team, SA basically bat to number 8 and Abbott can bat a bit too. 4 front-line Seamers and Elgar can bowl some spin.

  • POSTED BY Bowlersholding on | December 31, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    South Africa must have the worst supporters in the world. Still being critical of the team after such a wonderful result in a great test series. If you truly understand and love test cricket, you would understand their reasoning for not going for the runs - in test cricket there is a third result possible, other than win or lose. You won't see Indian, Australian or England fans drag their players down like this after series wins. Imagine what Aussie fans would have made of Kallis, for instance. Enjoy this golden period of wonderful players and stop being so small.

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  • POSTED BY Bowlersholding on | December 31, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    South Africa must have the worst supporters in the world. Still being critical of the team after such a wonderful result in a great test series. If you truly understand and love test cricket, you would understand their reasoning for not going for the runs - in test cricket there is a third result possible, other than win or lose. You won't see Indian, Australian or England fans drag their players down like this after series wins. Imagine what Aussie fans would have made of Kallis, for instance. Enjoy this golden period of wonderful players and stop being so small.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | December 31, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    Faff has to be promoted, its evident he plays better when he has more time at the crease.

    SA team to play Australia: 1. Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Elgar 7.De kock 8.Vernon 9.Abbott 10.Steyn 11.Morkel

    What a team, SA basically bat to number 8 and Abbott can bat a bit too. 4 front-line Seamers and Elgar can bowl some spin.

  • POSTED BY byeprem on | December 31, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    South Africa are needlessly going gaga over this win. When the series started everyone expected South africa to crush india 2-0. But it was a closely fought series. No need to be too impressed with runs against indian bowling attack. Same questions will return to haunt them when facing australian pacers or pakistani pacers next time. Also Petersen the spinner is completely useless, he was lucky in all his wickets and luck does not always go your way.

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    I don't like that team at all, Dean Elgar's only positive over JP Duminy is that he is new to test cricket and there is a lingering of hope that he may not end up like JP another disappointment Furthermore Elgar's last test vs Australia was a nightmare. South Africa has 3 batsmen domestically that are putting a claim in. Stiaan V Zyl a right hander able to score freely on both sides of the wicket, Quinton De Kock, a free scoring left hander and Steven Cook vastly experienced now but with Alviro's form in this series we are not in need of an opener now.

    Smith, Alviro, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy are dead certain to happen and I think they will go with Robin Peterson and Philander as bowling All Rounders then Steyn and Morkel as bowlers leaving the tough choice for the final position vacated by Kallis. Do we go for a bowler(Abbott or Tahir), do we go for a batsmen(Elgar/De Kock) or do we go for another all rounder(McLaren/Parnell). AB's surgery ??

  • POSTED BY sanjai_zequin on | December 31, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    JP Duminy is only th weak link in batting, but he is bowling well, so either one of peterson or duminy hav to b in team, and bring in wayne parnell, he is in gud form nowadayz , he has talent, and he is young, so giv chance to him th line up shuld b lyk these Smith, Petersen, Amla, Faf, AB, deKock, JP/Peterson, Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

    and bring in Rossouw and Harmer, after some yearz

    Smith, de Kock, Amla, Rossuow, AB, Faf,Parnell,Harmer,Philander, Steyn, Morkel

  • POSTED BY B.C.G on | December 31, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Why does everyone here forget that Robbie is an all rounder?Robbie concedes 3.5 runs per over without appearing threatening.Tahir goes for 5-6 per over doing the same.Plus his batting & superman style fielding.Think back to the Joburg test.Why did Steyn & Phil plod away?Thank Tahir's batting for that.Just imagine if Robbie had been there.

  • POSTED BY philvic on | December 31, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    As an expat I have never heard of Eddie Leie but his first class bowling stats look exceptional, even if he is a rabbit with bat. SR of 41 for a spinner is almost unheard of. Give him a go!

  • POSTED BY Protears on | December 31, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Team for Centurion:

    Smith, Peterson, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy, McLaren, Peterson, Philander, Steyn, Morkel. Unless dramatics happen the only possible change is Abbott instead of McLaren, beyond that without De Kock in the side you can go Elgar for Duminy but thats not an upgrade.

  • POSTED BY Z.Majid on | December 31, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    SA XI against Australia 1.smith 2.Peterson 3.amla 4.du plessis 5.de villiers 6.de kock 7.duminy 8.peterson 9.philander 10.steyn 11.morkel

  • POSTED BY SA_FAN315 on | December 31, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    14 series undefeated is quiet an accomplishment....Clearly shows that this is the best side in the world right now .......SA can't be blamed for the draw in the first test because the Indian blowing was short and wide which made it difficult to even land bat on ball and its unfair to expect STYEN to get those run....can't blame any side for the draw because had indian blowers targeted the stumps and gone for the win then SA could have easily got the runs and won....so the draw in the first test is understandable...