Olivier and De Kock excel against world-class Pakistan
Duo top ratings list in Test series against Pakistan in which bowlers made great strides, but some batsmen failed to make their mark
Tough pitches normally make for better batsmen‚ but some of the Proteas’ batsmen will disagree after having to deal with Pakistan’s world-class bowlers.
SA won the series 3-0 and strides were made in the bowling department‚ but some batsmen deteriorated.
Here is how the South African unit performed:
9/10 Duanne Olivier — 24 wickets at 14.70
The economy rate of 4.01 per over was eye-popping but the 24 wickets were crucial to SA’s cause. He terrified Pakistan’s batting lineup and ensured Azhar Ali‚ Pakistan’s best batsman‚ never got going.
He bowled with pace‚ hostility and aggression that Pakistan’s top order bar Shan Masood could not deal with. He could improve in terms of creating wicket-taking pressure but the rest of the bowling attack did that for him. He filled Lungi Ngidi’s void and when Ngidi does return it will be a tough bunfight for the third seamer’s slot.
9/10 Quinton de Kock – 251 runs at 62.75
De Kock is back and probably at the right time for the national team. He scored a punchy 100 at the Wanderers, a timely reminder of his ability to absorb and transfer pressure.
His rise in form is less about what he can do for the test team and more about taking that form to the ODI side.
He made sure Pakistan could not get through to the tail easily.
7.5/10 Hashim Amla — 209 runs at 52.25
The devil in the detail of Amla’s runs lies in when he scored them. In the first test‚ his patience ensured a tricky chase was negotiated with ease, while in t he third test‚ he saw off a toporder collapse and guided the team past parity and into a position of strength.
The 100 column can do with a bit of filling, but he again was the batting insurance on surfaces that did a fair bit.
7/10 Aiden Markram – 201 runs at 40.20
The quality of Pakistan’s bowling asked serious questions of his ability and he passed reasonably well. He missed out on a Wanderers ton but he is a technically sound buccaneering force next to Dean Elgar’s scratchy effectiveness. If the pitches are kinder for the Sri Lanka series in February‚ he may just cash in and atone for the difficult series he had in Sri Lanka in 2018.
7/10 Kagiso Rabada – 17 wickets at 18.70
If you have a change bowler of Rabada’s talent‚ you are blessed as a coach. There was no let-up of intensity and he also found the accuracy that at times eluded Olivier. He was the one bowler that Pakistan did not attack regularly and adjusted his spells very well to suit the match dynamics.
He does deserve to get the new ball on the odd occasion.
7/10 Temba Bavuma – 172 runs at 43
At some point he will find his true batting niche but meanwhile he is SA’s champion firefighter. In the Centurion Test‚ he batted well in challenging conditions and in Cape Town he missed out on an opportunity to convert his 75 into something more substantial.
His penchant for scoring runs when they are needed most far outweighs his mid-30 Test average and this series was an example of that.
6/10 Dale Steyn – 12 wickets at 29
Not many bowlers of Steyn’s age would be able to bowl at his speed and intensity. The wickets column does not speak about how well he bowled but the pressure he created allowed Olivier to excel. His skills repertoire has also grown to compensate for the inevitable drop in pace that comes with age.
5/10 Dean Elgar – 126 runs at 25.20
It was not easy going for Elgar in this series but when he was needed to make a matchdefining contribution‚ he did so alongside Amla in the first test. He will be disappointed with his series return but this was a good attack he was up against.
5/10 Faf du Plessis – 106 runs at 35.33
The average is misleading because 103 of those 106 runs came in the first innings of the second test but it was the seriesdefining contribution.
He got an unplayable ball in the first innings of the first test and could have done better than falling to the hooking trap in the second innings.
The low mark also includes the slow over rate that got him suspended for the third test despite an early finish.
5/10 Vernon Philander – six wickets at 28.50
He would have been disappointed at the lack of wickets but his parsimony (three runs an over) meant Pakistan’s batting line-up had to go and look for runs elsewhere.
That is when the wickets fell and from this perspective‚ his job was done.
3/10 Theunis de Bruyn – 112 runs at 18.66
His spot in the side is the most tenuous and he did nothing to advance his cause.
Granted the pitches were difficult and in the third test he looked good but he found extremely weird ways of getting himself out.
He looked set in Johannesburg and got out on 49, while his dismissals in the rest of the series were disappointing. Should he get a run against Sri Lanka and their kinder bowling attack? The selectors will have to decide on that one.
The one-testers 5/10 Zubayr Hamza – 41 runs at 20.10
He may not have got 50 on debut in the first innings of the third test but his counterattack was thrilling.
There was the lack of fear associated with youngsters and he looked the test part. He got a brute of a ball that terminated his second innings without scoring but there is some talent here.
Keshav Maharaj – No wickets — no grading
This was not a series for spinners and Maharaj was the worst victim of the pitches. He should be back for the Sri Lanka series in which the slower Kingsmead and St George’s Park pitches are right up his alley.