Pakistan test: Proteas’ player ratings

By Ken Borland & Ant Sims 5 February 2013

Writing a report card that fairly reflects the sort of overwhelming win achieved by the Proteas in the first Test against Pakistan is a tough task. To put it all simply: Dale Steyn is the freakish class swot, while AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith are regular teachers’ pets; Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar and Morne Morkel, though, must try harder. By ANT SIMS & KEN BORLAND.

Graeme Smith – 7.5/10
South Africa’s square-jawed captain obviously didn’t budget for Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers stealing all his glory in his unprecedented 100th Test as captain, but Smith will be happy to bask in the team’s success and one of their best showings in recent years. Made the brave and correct decision to bat first and then gritted it out on the first morning to ensure South Africa set off on the right tone. Played with more fluency for his
half-century in the second innings. KB
Alviro Petersen – 6/10
Was never going to win a vote for man of the match, but did his job against the new ball, especially in the first innings. Showed good shot selection as he survived for 18 overs to set a solid platform. KB
Hashim Amla – 7.5/10
The timing and nature of his dismissal in the first innings were unfortunate, slashing part-timer Younis Khan to gully just when he looked set to provide the backbone of the innings. But Amla is obviously still in
great form as he showed in a second innings of great class. KB
Jacques Kallis – 8/10
The world’s best all-rounder contributed crucially with both bat and ball in the first innings. The tricky pitch seemed to be no match for the maestro in his first-innings 50, until he rather gave his wicket away, and the ferocity and skill of his bowling in Pakistan’s disastrous 49 all out was the perfect foil for Steyn. KB
AB de Villiers 10/10
Cricket scholars might just look back at this Test as the match when De Villiers began to bloom as the greatest wicketkeeper/batsman the game has known. His first innings looked promising before he carelessly fell to
Mohammad Hafeez’s first ball, but his second-innings unbeaten century was full of beautiful strokes. He picked up everything behind the stumps and looked good doing it too. Becoming the first cricketer to ever score a
century and effect more than 10 dismissals in a Test was an epic achievement. KB
Faf du Plessis 7/10
This rating malarkey is hard stuff when South Africa don’t give their batsmen the chance to bat for more than two innings or when their bowlers are so accurate that they send all their catches to the slips or the wicketkeeper. Faf du Plessis might not have scored a lot of runs, but he scored a very patient 41 off 107. It’s amazing to think that those in the know thought he was not suited to Test cricket. AS
Dean Elgar 6/10
Dean Elgar’s foray into the South African side has been a bit of a non-event. Barring his ton against New Zealand, it hasn’t felt as if Elgar is slotting into the side like some of the other new faces have. On the domestic circuit, he is a far better player than his international performances show and maybe, just maybe, he needs the two upcoming Tests against Pakistan to get himself right. Whether it’s a technical issue or a mental issue, Elgar needs to shape up fast. There are a couple of players
waiting on the fringes and ready to pounce when others fail. AS
Robin Peterson N/A
With South Africa’s tendency to dismiss sides for such low totals, Robin Peterson’s role in the side is almost, almost becoming irrelevant. To judge him on a duck, a dropped catch and 10 overs after this Test would be just a little bit unfair and the random ratings generator might end up in the negative. Or maybe we’re just being nice. AS
Vernon Philander 7/10

Vernon Philander doesn’t like living in people’s shadows and since he’s leaped onto the international cricket stage, ripping his shirt off and screaming, “Look at me, look at me!”, he’s hardly ever had a quiet match. Four sticks in a game is hardly living in the shadows, but Philander was a bit subdued in the game and his usual pinpoint accuracy waned just a tad. He was one of the culprits to get a wicket off a no ball, an act which is
simply unforgivable, especially for a side which has struggled with consistency lately. One thing is for sure, though, Philander will be back and he’ll be fired up. Good luck to the batsmen who have to suffer his
wrath. AS
Dale Steyn 13/10
Dale Steyn is freakishly out of this world. He picked up career best figures of 11 for 60 and was so incredibly accurate and so fiercely commanding with the ball, getting it to do exactly what he wanted, when he wanted, that watching him was like watching a well-oiled factory machine churning out perfectly crafted microchips over and over again. Steyn is a freak. A good kind of freak, but still a freak. By some people’s standards he might have had a quiet 2012, but has raced to 24 wickets at an
average of 8.75 with an economy rate of 2.04 this year already. Freakish. AS
Morne Morkel 6.5/10
Morne Morkel is one of the bowlers in the South African team who so often bowls really well for very little reward.  This time around, he didn’t really bowl very well but still managed to get two wickets. Morkel looked
out of sorts at the Wanderers and whether that simply is because he was so shell-shocked by Dale Steyn’s performance or whether he was just having a
bad Test, nobody knows. He was the other felon of the
no-ball-which-took-a-wicket debacle. It didn’t cost South Africa, not in this Test, but it’s something which really, really shouldn’t be happening anymore. DM


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