Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 February 25, 2013

Business as usual for superb South Africa

ESPNcricinfo assesses a dominant South Africa side after they swept the Pakistan series 3-0
  shares 36

South Africa completed their first series sweep in contests of more than three Tests since 1998-99 by beating Pakistan 3-nil. They ensured the Test mace and the No.1 ranking will remain with them throughout the winter with their next assignment also against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. They only had one one-century maker in their ranks but three standout bowlers as they overpowered their opposition.

9

AB de Villiers 3 Tests, 352 runs @ 88.00, 2 hundreds, 1 fifty, 17 catches After a battle to prove he is capable and his body able enough to handle the dual role of batting in the top five and wicketkeeping, AB de Villiers finally seems to have won. He was the leading run-scorer in the series and the only South African to reach a hundred as he hit the final nail in Pakistan's coffin in both Johannesburg and Centurion. De Villiers has the luxury of coming in when a platform is already laid and his job is to take off from it. With a classy and innovative range of strokes he managed exactly that. He was kept in the field for minimal amounts of time, thanks to the potency of the pace attack and pounced on the 17 chances they created for him. To add to the feathers in his cap, he let through just nine byes.

Dale Steyn 3 Tests, 20 wickets @ 12.90 In his own backyard, Dale Steyn had a summer to remember. He led the attack with a poisoned tip as he so often does and caused trouble for Pakistan's batsmen every time the stepped onto the field, with pace and movement that they were not able to content with. At the Wanderers, he was merciless, taking a career-best 6 for 8 as South Africa bowled a team out for under 50 for the third time in 14 months. Another five-for saw Steyn end the Johannesburg match with 11 scalps. He kept the pressure on at both Newlands and Centurion and allowed the rest of the attack to blossom too.

8.5

Vernon Philander 3 Tests, 15 wickets @ 15.80, 97 runs @ 32.33, 1 fifty There are few genuine allrounders in Test cricket currently and Vernon Philander is staking a claim to join their ranks. In the bowling department, he was his usual self and took his wickets through seam movement and discipline. Philander enjoyed a ninth career five-wicket haul at his home ground, Newlands, and was successful upcountry as well. The element of his success that may have surprised was his contribution with the bat. Philander muscled his way to 74 at Centurion, as de Villiers got to his hundred, to take South Africa to a massive first-innings total. He showed confidence all around the wicket and lengthens South Africa's line-up even more.

8

Hashim Amla 3 Tests, 286 runs @ 71.50, 3 fifties This was the series in which Hashim Amla could have gone past Michael Clarke as the No.1 ranked Test batsman and he did. His unbeaten 74 at the Wanderers played an important role in batting Pakistan out of the match. This will remain one of the few series in which Amla has not reached three-figures. He got as far as 92 at Centurion but playing a careless drive and edging behind.

7

Kyle Abbott 1 Test, 9 for 68 @ 7.55 He only played one Test but it was enough to earn him a high mark because of the impact that it had. Abbott made his debut after Kallis picked up a calf niggle before the third Test and he looked a seasoned professional. If there were nerves, Abbott showed none. He was disciplined in line and got the ball to rear up from just back of a good length to become South Africa's second most successful debutant in history, bettered only by his mentor Lance Klusener. Abbott fit into the team culture so well he was described by de Villiers as being "a captain's dream," and his future appears bright.

6.5

Robin Peterson 3 Tests, 6 for 229 @ 38.16, 113 runs @ 37.66 Once again, the solitary slower bowler had little to do in a pack dominated by pace. He did not bowl at all in the first innings at the Wanderers and only bowled 10 overs in the second. He got his chance in Cape Town with bat in hand. South Africa were 210 for 7, 128 runs behind Pakistan and staring at a big deficit. Peterson scored 84 runs and batted with the tail. He was scored all around the wicket and took on his opposite number Saeed Ajmal with confidence. He took five wickets in the match, three in the second innings, including the big one of Misbah-ul-Haq, to earn the Man-of-the-Match award and cement his spot in the XI.

6

Graeme Smith 3 Tests, 129 runs @ 25.80, 1 fifty Graeme Smith did not score as many runs as he usually does and his only success with the bat came in his 100th Test as captain at the Wanderers where he passed 50. Smith struggled against Umar Gul and Junaid Khan and it was a case of mind over matter that saw him through. He also did not have a plan for playing Ajmal and was out lbw to him twice, both times trying to sweep. His leadership, though, was exemplary as he inspired his troops and reached milestone after milestone in the process. He is Test cricket's most successful skipper with 50 victories under his belt and is so renewed by the success he has hinted at continuing for longer than he first thought he would.

5

Faf du Plessis 3 Tests, 113 runs @ 28.25 After the success of his first few Tests, du Plessis was always going to come down to earth. A freak dismissal at the Wanderers, where the ball rolled back onto his stumps, was followed by difficulty reading Ajmal and a move to No. 4 in the line-up, where he did a reasonable job at rebuilding after South Africa were 38 for 2. In the slip and at gully, du Plessis was agile as usual and provided the engine room for South Africa's fielding.

Jacques Kallis 2 Tests, 80 runs @ 20.00, 3 for 106 @ 35.33 If not for an umpire's error, Kallis may have compiled more runs in the series but he had to settle for an unusually low-scoring series. He was out three times to Saeed Ajmal, twice lbw, as he also battled to pick the spinner. Kallis played an important part in the 49 all out at the Wanderers but had to bowl more than his quota of overs at Newlands and did so without complaint. A calf injury kept him out of the third Test.

Morne Morkel 2 Tests, 4 for 167 @ 41.75 Morkel played only one and half Tests before being struck by a hamstring strain. His figures suggest he is the weakest link in the bowling but they do not reveal the whole picture. Morkel continued to bowl in the upper 140s, quicker than Steyn most of the time, and usually kept his end tight.

4

Rory Kleinveldt 1 Test, 2 for 82 @ 41.00 As he still searches for a way to carve a niche for himself, Rory Kleinveldt put in a performance that may seem forgettable although it had some highlights. Kleinveldt bowled well in his first spell at Centurion, caused problems and was unlucky but settled into a length that too full later on. He returned in the second innings with more commitment to the cause and was rewarded. He bowled with good pace throughout, often crossing the 140kph mark. He has probably done enough to remain part of future squad and as a reserve for the XI.

3.5

Alviro Petersen 3 Tests, 75 runs @ 15.00, 4 catches A lean series for the opening batsman, which got worse as it went on. Petersen dug in for more than an hour and a half in both innings at the Wanderers but it was more to see off the new ball than collect many runs. At Newlands, he did the same in the first knock but it was after that his resistance crumbled. His next two innings yielded only 16 runs as he continued to pick the wrong line and refused to move his feet. Petersen provided a safe pair of hands in the slips and took some good catches to contribute in some way to the success.

3

Dean Elgar 3 Tests, 68 runs @ 22.66 After a promising 27 at the Wanderers, which ended during Mohammad Hafeez's assault, Dean Elgar failed to make a big enough impact on the series to regard his place as secure. He was out to Ajmal in Cape Town and Rahat Ali at Centurion and he continues to appear uncomfortable lower down the order. Elgar is an opening batsman by trade and appears to find it difficult to make the transition lower down. With JP Duminy expected to be fit by the time South Africa play their next Test, Elgar may spend the winter feeling somewhat uneasy.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SurlyCynic on February 27, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Why do people (like landl47) keep saying that Steyn was given 8.5, when Firdose clearly rated him 9?

  • Sanjiyan on February 27, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @landl47 Which stiffer opposition are you referring to? SA have beaten England and AUS in their own backyards last year and are currently unbeaten since 2006(if memory serves). Is there a country that secretly has a team that can bowl at 110mph, Spinners who turn the ball square on a grassy pitch and batsmen who can score at 150 strikerate for days on end? We all know those players are too good to be quiet for an extended period of time, and if that happens SA have shown theres more than enough batting depth to compensate enough to give the bowlers something to defend.

  • on February 27, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    Look at the bench strength of SA..Kliendvelt,,De Lange and now Abott...nd these are to support brutal pace from Steyn,Morkel and Philander...Getting opposition out under 50 in last 14 months says it all...Kudos to Smith to lead such an exceptional side,,which is undoubtedly world's NO.1...

  • bipulkumar on February 27, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @Ashraful - For the same reason for which Bangladesh failed to make such bowlers with 25 crore people.

  • landl47 on February 26, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Firdoose: You might want to consider amending this statement:

    'South Africa completed their first series sweep in contests of more than three Tests since 1998-99 by beating Pakistan 3-nil. '

    It's pretty much impossible to sweep a series of more than 3 tests by 3-0. Maybe you meant three or more?

    As for the ratings- what else could Steyn possibly have done? When a bowler takes 20 wickets in three games at 12.9, to only award him 8.5 is absurd. He can't bowl both ends and the guys from the other end did well, too.

    As for the batting, it's interesting that some SA batsmen really didn't have good series. Smith, Petersen, Kallis, Faf and Elgar all averaged less than 30. Something to ponder on for when SA faces stiffer opposition.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 26, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Wow. Im shocked at Lilian Thomsons pleasantries - good to see.

    Getting back to these scores, I think they were all pretty much spot on. I think Morkel an Elgar shouldve been scored lower though. Faf score was a bit tough considering batting a 4 which is new for him and his freak way he got out. Talented guy.

  • on February 26, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    @din7. Philander is a better allrounder than anything you guys have!!! As for the trip to that side of the world: Been there, came away with a draw, with a side that was not as good as this current side Protea squad. Our last trip to Pakistan (proper) was a test series victory for SA, methinks? Ajmal is a genius bowler and streets ahead of any spinner doing the rounds. Cricket is a team game, 1 player is not gonna get you a series win against the world's team, even in the SC.

  • armchairjohnny on February 26, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    South Africa showed that they are comfortably the best team in the world. The worrying thing for opposition sides at the moment is that no seam attack can hold a candle to South Africa at the moment. The Pakistan seam attack was better equipped than most to get wickets in South African conditions, yet they were soundly beaten. If South Africa can unearth a world class spinner they will be unstoppable for many more years to come. I also suspect that Pakistan will suffer in the UAE, even with conditions in their favor -- this is largely due to the application of the South African Batsmen who can play in all conditions and have done well in India before. Watch out everyone, South Africa is number one and here to stay (unlike India and England!)

  • sandy_bangalore on February 26, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    What an awesome lineup! RESPECT from India.

  • Sanjiyan on February 26, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    @PkZindabaad and din7 The newlands pitch was more sub continental than anything else, even the pakistani players noticed this. Please dont forget that since SA's readmission pakistan have only won 1 series vs SA and that was back in 2003. The rest were all won by SA except the last tour of the UAE which was a draw(dont forget AB made his 278 in the UAE). So while it will prove challenging, i dont expect it to be as hard as some of the commenters here are making it out to be.

  • SurlyCynic on February 27, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Why do people (like landl47) keep saying that Steyn was given 8.5, when Firdose clearly rated him 9?

  • Sanjiyan on February 27, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @landl47 Which stiffer opposition are you referring to? SA have beaten England and AUS in their own backyards last year and are currently unbeaten since 2006(if memory serves). Is there a country that secretly has a team that can bowl at 110mph, Spinners who turn the ball square on a grassy pitch and batsmen who can score at 150 strikerate for days on end? We all know those players are too good to be quiet for an extended period of time, and if that happens SA have shown theres more than enough batting depth to compensate enough to give the bowlers something to defend.

  • on February 27, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    Look at the bench strength of SA..Kliendvelt,,De Lange and now Abott...nd these are to support brutal pace from Steyn,Morkel and Philander...Getting opposition out under 50 in last 14 months says it all...Kudos to Smith to lead such an exceptional side,,which is undoubtedly world's NO.1...

  • bipulkumar on February 27, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @Ashraful - For the same reason for which Bangladesh failed to make such bowlers with 25 crore people.

  • landl47 on February 26, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Firdoose: You might want to consider amending this statement:

    'South Africa completed their first series sweep in contests of more than three Tests since 1998-99 by beating Pakistan 3-nil. '

    It's pretty much impossible to sweep a series of more than 3 tests by 3-0. Maybe you meant three or more?

    As for the ratings- what else could Steyn possibly have done? When a bowler takes 20 wickets in three games at 12.9, to only award him 8.5 is absurd. He can't bowl both ends and the guys from the other end did well, too.

    As for the batting, it's interesting that some SA batsmen really didn't have good series. Smith, Petersen, Kallis, Faf and Elgar all averaged less than 30. Something to ponder on for when SA faces stiffer opposition.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 26, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Wow. Im shocked at Lilian Thomsons pleasantries - good to see.

    Getting back to these scores, I think they were all pretty much spot on. I think Morkel an Elgar shouldve been scored lower though. Faf score was a bit tough considering batting a 4 which is new for him and his freak way he got out. Talented guy.

  • on February 26, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    @din7. Philander is a better allrounder than anything you guys have!!! As for the trip to that side of the world: Been there, came away with a draw, with a side that was not as good as this current side Protea squad. Our last trip to Pakistan (proper) was a test series victory for SA, methinks? Ajmal is a genius bowler and streets ahead of any spinner doing the rounds. Cricket is a team game, 1 player is not gonna get you a series win against the world's team, even in the SC.

  • armchairjohnny on February 26, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    South Africa showed that they are comfortably the best team in the world. The worrying thing for opposition sides at the moment is that no seam attack can hold a candle to South Africa at the moment. The Pakistan seam attack was better equipped than most to get wickets in South African conditions, yet they were soundly beaten. If South Africa can unearth a world class spinner they will be unstoppable for many more years to come. I also suspect that Pakistan will suffer in the UAE, even with conditions in their favor -- this is largely due to the application of the South African Batsmen who can play in all conditions and have done well in India before. Watch out everyone, South Africa is number one and here to stay (unlike India and England!)

  • sandy_bangalore on February 26, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    What an awesome lineup! RESPECT from India.

  • Sanjiyan on February 26, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    @PkZindabaad and din7 The newlands pitch was more sub continental than anything else, even the pakistani players noticed this. Please dont forget that since SA's readmission pakistan have only won 1 series vs SA and that was back in 2003. The rest were all won by SA except the last tour of the UAE which was a draw(dont forget AB made his 278 in the UAE). So while it will prove challenging, i dont expect it to be as hard as some of the commenters here are making it out to be.

  • on February 26, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    @Vineesh Vedsen. I agree, go to the SC and expect turners, nothing wrong with that, vica-versa as well, naturally. The fact of the matter however is that quicker, bouncier wickets produce better cricketers (batters). Something to do with it being easier to adapt from a quick, bouncy wicket to the slower turning tracks in the SC. That is plain to see in the (historic) results with regards to series wins by non SC sides touring in the SC and the very poor track record of SC teams on tour in Eng, SA or Aus. If the SC sides want to win in other parts of the world (Aus, Eng, SA) then they need to change their tracks back home. Only solution! My 2 cents worth!

  • LillianThomson on February 26, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Congratulations to South Africa.

    Steyn, Philander, Amla and de Villiers were just magnificent.

    What a shame that their own criminal stupidity deprived Pakistan of their best two quick bowlers (Asif and Amir) and their best opener (Butt). it would have been a much better balanced series with them, and we'd know more about the strength of this South African side.

  • on February 26, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    We need to come out of this silly mindset that fast wickets are good and turning tracks are bad. There is nothing singularly good and bad. If the strength of SA/Aus/Eng is pace that of India/Pak/SL is spin. If the Asian teams cannot squirm against relentless pace, why do the western world look the other way on turning tracks. It is the fox and the crane story. When the stork visits the fox, it gets food in a flat vessel, the fox should be ready to eat in a high round bottom vessel, when it visits the crane. If the need for the Asian countries is to have green tops and pace bowlers, the western world should also have spinners, and not afraid of turning tracks.

  • on February 26, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    To: maddy20 Dear CSA, Can you please lend us a few pace bowlers, like you lent batsmen(Trott, Pietersen etc.,) and wicketkeepers(Kieswetter) to England? Sincerely, an Indian cricket fan!

    India have the more 120 crore people. Why they are failed to make such bowlers?

  • on February 26, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    I dont think Smith deserves a 6, unless its purely based on captaincy, by his standards, this was a poor series....philander deserves to be a 9 with AB and dale...dont forget his contribution with the bat in the 3rd test, it made the difference...

  • PkZindabaad on February 26, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Dishing out swinging conditions without being fair to sub continent teams and claiming top position is not fair. Except a white wash in UAE as we will be preparing turners like India by playing to our strengths with Ajmal and Rehman playing in tandem.

  • din7 on February 26, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    vernon philander a genuine allrounder? hahahah, hes a bowler who can bat and not allrounder, let him go to UAE and u will understand. Well done SA u deserve this, but they are going to lose or draw in UAE if they play ajmal like this

  • on February 26, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    As a South African if I was a second tier pace bowler with noot much of a shot at the test team (like say wayne parnell) I would totally move to India - incredible country amazing history and culture some really beautiful areas and if you perform you are treated like a rock star!! Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • Protears on February 26, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Good thing to take from this series is that despite Smith, Kallis, Petersen, Morkel and Faf not delivering as much with bat and/or ball the ultimately did contribute to the successes in other ways. Cricket is a tough game and you cannot be the top all the time yet pulled through just enough. It was a summer of starts for the batsmen but non really went on to get the scores but that is life. Morkel perhaps was a bit flat but overall his contribution was still there.

    AB De Villiers has nothing to prove on the batting side, in his 13 tests as a keeper he has something like 3 or 4 hundreds and similar number of fifties, averages a shade under 50 now with the gloves. His only area of work will be standing up to the slow bowlers.

    Well done boys on a fantastic summer and 5 months of cricket.

  • Gizza on February 26, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    @maddy20, as landl47 points out it is very rare for a person brought up in a developed country to permanently migrate to a developing country. India's economy is doing well in recent times but it still has a long way to go before people from the first world will consider moving there.

  • landl47 on February 26, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    @maddy20: South Africa and, for that matter, England and Australia have quite a few seam bowlers who can't get a game for their country of birth but who would walk into the Indian team. I can't understand why they don't do it. All that's necessary is for them to want to move to India...... ah, I think I might have just spotted the problem.

  • crh8971 on February 26, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    So 20 wickets in 3 tests at 12.9 is only good enough for 8.5 out of 10? The guy is an absolute gun and I would have rated it at least 9.5. I will concede that I thought ABD should not have been keeping as it would impact his batting too much but he seems to be finding a way to make it work. He is an outstanding cricketer. I would take both of these guys for the Australian team in a flash.

  • on February 25, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    MDWilo79: Well so far he's been batting better than most opening batsmen do over here, so why not!

  • maddy20 on February 25, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    Dear CSA, Can you please lend us a few pace bowlers, like you lent batsmen(Trott, Pietersen etc.,) and wicketkeepers(Kieswetter) to England? Sincerely, an Indian cricket fan!

  • Nuxxy on February 25, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    The SA openers didn't fail. They didn't score big, but they were quite effective at blunting the Pakistan attack. You have to examine their performance in contrast with the Pakistan openers. The also batted first on the two most difficult pitches. Their stand at the Wanderers was very important.

    I'm still not sold on Robin Peterson. Does he add value to the team? Yes. Is he a good spinner? No. His length was short far too often. It's ok in SA when the seamers can really hammer away, but in the subcontinent on a turning track he is a second spinner at best. Once again, look at the contrast in Cape Town. His bowling was miles behind Ajmal.

  • MSCologne on February 25, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Philander is one of the top allrounders, just look at the ICC Rankings. The exceptional thing is that in this lineup, the allrounders Peterson and Philander come in very low. It is the strongest batting line-up in history.

  • shaww on February 25, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    a very fair and accurate assessment.

    i was hoping to see more of a contest between ajmal and our batsman ... bit disappointed to see so little of that.

    i am pretty excited about the limited formats (double entendre intentional), since we may see the introduction of an othodox spinner, phangiso. also been hearing good things about piedt ... almost 70 years since this country has had a world class spinner of ajmals quality.

    btw, not much for our batsman to do in the last few series. UAE will be where they show their quality (unless ajmal has other ideas)

  • on February 25, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    harsh on robin i think. he won 2nd test match for his team when his team was down and in trouble, he should have got more/

  • neiljturner on February 25, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @MDWillo79: Why is it embarassing? When a man goes through a series with a bowling average of 15.80 and a batting average of 32.33, I think the term "allrounder" applies. He scored more runs than most of the specialist batsmen.

    Maybe it's premature, and his batting performance was a once-off; his overall test batting average is only 22.75, which is possibly a bit light. But if he keeps batting like he did this series, that will rise - so yes, he's definitely in the process of staking a claim for consideration as an allrounder.

    And for comparison, the difference between his batting and bowling averages is 5.62 runs; no lesser a man than Ian Botham had an inferior record (5.14, though in fairness over a much longer career). When your nett contribution to the team is better than Beefy's, I think we can call you an allrounder.

  • on February 25, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    @ MDWillo79 Philander's 62 and 35 including a 5 for @ The Lord's buried England. He is an allrounder alright.

  • SurlyCynic on February 25, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    On AB's performance, he clearly deserves his 9 for a great series with 2 hundreds and equaling the record for dismissals in a test. But whereas I agree that at #5 he often comes in with no pressure and is not kept in the field for that long, it wasn't always the case this series.

    SA's openers failed this series, and Kallis had an unusually poor return. In CT, for example, SA batted second and AB kept for 116 overs while Pak made 338. AB then came in at 102-4 which became 109-5 as Ajmal put SA under extreme pressure. Then after keeping for another 75 overs he came in at 88-3 with SA in a bit of trouble chasing the target.

    So it wasn't as easy as this description implies.

  • on February 25, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    ab develiiars and steyn desrve 10 out of 10

  • on February 25, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    AB and DALE STEYN deserve 10 out of 10

  • Akhter786 on February 25, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    It was Steyn who was the best player , AB was wrongly choosen man of the series, may be more to please him and silence critics. This series was won by South Africa mostly and primarily on the back of Steyn and Philander rest followed suit and played their parts as efficiently as expected but bowlers were exceptional!!!!

  • MDWillo79 on February 25, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    To claim that Vernon Philander is staking a claim to be a test match all rounder is just plain embarrassing!

  • QingdaoXI on February 25, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    every body deserves this marks, not like there counterparts who get highest 7 by scoring just 190+ runs.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • QingdaoXI on February 25, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    every body deserves this marks, not like there counterparts who get highest 7 by scoring just 190+ runs.

  • MDWillo79 on February 25, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    To claim that Vernon Philander is staking a claim to be a test match all rounder is just plain embarrassing!

  • Akhter786 on February 25, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    It was Steyn who was the best player , AB was wrongly choosen man of the series, may be more to please him and silence critics. This series was won by South Africa mostly and primarily on the back of Steyn and Philander rest followed suit and played their parts as efficiently as expected but bowlers were exceptional!!!!

  • on February 25, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    AB and DALE STEYN deserve 10 out of 10

  • on February 25, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    ab develiiars and steyn desrve 10 out of 10

  • SurlyCynic on February 25, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    On AB's performance, he clearly deserves his 9 for a great series with 2 hundreds and equaling the record for dismissals in a test. But whereas I agree that at #5 he often comes in with no pressure and is not kept in the field for that long, it wasn't always the case this series.

    SA's openers failed this series, and Kallis had an unusually poor return. In CT, for example, SA batted second and AB kept for 116 overs while Pak made 338. AB then came in at 102-4 which became 109-5 as Ajmal put SA under extreme pressure. Then after keeping for another 75 overs he came in at 88-3 with SA in a bit of trouble chasing the target.

    So it wasn't as easy as this description implies.

  • on February 25, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    @ MDWillo79 Philander's 62 and 35 including a 5 for @ The Lord's buried England. He is an allrounder alright.

  • neiljturner on February 25, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @MDWillo79: Why is it embarassing? When a man goes through a series with a bowling average of 15.80 and a batting average of 32.33, I think the term "allrounder" applies. He scored more runs than most of the specialist batsmen.

    Maybe it's premature, and his batting performance was a once-off; his overall test batting average is only 22.75, which is possibly a bit light. But if he keeps batting like he did this series, that will rise - so yes, he's definitely in the process of staking a claim for consideration as an allrounder.

    And for comparison, the difference between his batting and bowling averages is 5.62 runs; no lesser a man than Ian Botham had an inferior record (5.14, though in fairness over a much longer career). When your nett contribution to the team is better than Beefy's, I think we can call you an allrounder.

  • on February 25, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    harsh on robin i think. he won 2nd test match for his team when his team was down and in trouble, he should have got more/

  • shaww on February 25, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    a very fair and accurate assessment.

    i was hoping to see more of a contest between ajmal and our batsman ... bit disappointed to see so little of that.

    i am pretty excited about the limited formats (double entendre intentional), since we may see the introduction of an othodox spinner, phangiso. also been hearing good things about piedt ... almost 70 years since this country has had a world class spinner of ajmals quality.

    btw, not much for our batsman to do in the last few series. UAE will be where they show their quality (unless ajmal has other ideas)