Clark shines as McGrath's stand-in

Stuart Clark was Australia's undoubted star as they wrapped up the series clean sweep and a nail-biting two-wicket success in the third Test

Peter English
Peter English
Stuart Clark was Australia's undoubted star as they wrapped up the series clean sweep and a nail-biting two-wicket success in the third Test. In his debut series he collected 20 wickets to top the list of his new team while a few old favourites such as Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist had difficult times with the bat.

Stuart Clark: living the dream © Getty Images
Stuart Clark
The man of the tour for his country and officially the Man of the Series. Picked to replace Glenn McGrath he did as well - if not better - than his New South Wales team-mate and spent most of the time in a state he never dreamed. Added the third-best debut by an Australian with 9 for 89 at Cape Town and collected a wild 20 victims at 15.75 in the three Tests. Lively surfaces helped him and he now needs to show his disconcerting bounce and regular movement can occur on flatter pitches.
Brett Lee
Confident as the attack leader without McGrath, he struck 17 times at an average of 19.53 with a brutal blend of speed and accuracy. A haul of 5 for 69 was the highlight, but he picked up at least a wicket in each innings and was frightening at times as he hit the mid-150kph. Scored a career-best 64 in first innings at Johannesburg and a game-sealing 24 not out in the tense conclusion, winning the Man of the Match prize.
Ricky Ponting
Secured another comfortable series win before running into trouble in the dead game in the last serious hit-out before November's Ashes. The peaks were his 103 (gritty and sweaty) and 116 (smooth and inspiring) at Durban, where he became only the second player to achieve twin centuries in three Tests. Started well with 74 at Cape Town but didn't convert starts in the third Test and finished with 348 runs at 58.

Shane Warne: ever threatening on unresponsive pitches © Getty Images
Shane Warne
Seaming pitches didn't suit him but he still managed 15 victims at 27.33. Didn't have much impact in the first Test with three wickets, but bowled Australia to the series win at Durban with 2 for 80 and 6 for 86, and caused more problems in the third to keep his side in the game. The South Africans say they can cope with him but they struggled again. Please stay for the Ashes.
6.5 Michael Hussey
Mr Cricket became Mr Consistency in the final two Tests with three half-centuries that produced important fightbacks and collected him 257 runs for the series. Moved to opener for the third Test's second innings, he crafted 89 (helped by three early umpiring errors) to set Australia on track for a narrow victory. Also salvaged competitive totals with lower-order recoveries in the first innings with 73 on a tricky pitch at Johannesburg and 75 at Durban.
Damien Martyn
Waited until his last innings of the tour to confirm his spot in the side after a stop-start opening. His 101 as Australia successfully chase 292 for a clean sweep was brilliant and unflustered, despite the individual pressure to hold his spot and improve the team's predicament. Scored a solid 57 in the second Test but needed the final performance to mask other confusing performances.
Matthew Hayden
Made two big contributions with 94 to open the series and a hard-working 102 in the second innings at Durban to set up the victory, but also had two ducks and a 3. (He'll be relieved not to face Makhaya Ntini for a while.) Superb catching at gully and slip earned him seven catches.

Adam Gilchrist: 50 runs for the series, including 22 off this over from Andre Nel © Getty Images
Adam Gilchrist
Another awful series with the bat but was almost flawless with the gloves. Fifty runs, including 22 from one Andre Nel over at Durban, ended a disappointing summer that showed his days of domination were waning. Dropped an incredibly difficult chance above his head in the final Test and it was the only blemish as he picked up ten catches and one stumping. Stood in for a sick Ponting on the final day of the second Test and guided Australia to the series win.
Andrew Symonds
Still waiting for something approaching consistency, but is the sort of player who will never be judged purely on numbers. A first-Test 55 gave Australia a vital first-innings lead before he departed trying to pound Nicky Boje, and a quickfire 29 almost ensured a fast victory in Johannesburg. In between were a couple of failures, a split lip from Makhaya Ntini and one wicket.
Michael Kasprowicz
A surprise call-up for the tour, he struck in every innings but the final one when he succumbed to a lower-back problem. Began the tour with the new ball but was replaced by Clark, and provided useful support with seven wickets. Helped to erase memories of Edgbaston 2005 with an unbeaten 7 that sealed the third Test with Brett Lee.
Justin Langer
Unfortunately his series will be memorable for his 100th Test headache at Johannesburg. Ntini's first ball of the first innings ended his participation in the milestone match and continued a disrupted season of injury and indifferent form. Was padded up at No. 11 for the third-Test denouement, but Lee and Kasprowicz saved him the risk of batting and he left with 122 runs in the series.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo