SA in NZ: Player ratings - Maharaj leads the way

2017-03-30 10:48
Keshav Maharaj (Getty)

Cape Town - The Proteas are on their way home from another successful Test tour in which they defeated New Zealand 1-0 in their three-Test series. 

The weather may have played its part in Hamilton when the Proteas were on the ropes, but in the end the series win is all that matters and South Africa finished the year at No 2 in the ICC Test rankings, behind India. 

Despite the triumph, a few cracks have started to reveal themselves in this Proteas side, most noticeably in the top order. 

A tough challenge in England awaits in July, and the brain's trust must figure out their best combinations before then. 

For now, let's look back at how the 12 Proteas who were used in the three Tests did.

Scores are out of 10. 

Dean Elgar - 7 (265 runs @ 44.16)

Elgar was superb in the first Test, carding a century and a half-century in a man-of-the-match display. He scored just 36 runs from his next four knocks, though. A bright start to the series fizzled out badly, but with Stephen Cook struggling, Elgar firmly remains South Africa's No 1 opener heading into England.

Stephen Cook - 2.5 (17 runs @ 4,25)

Hard to score him at all. Cook looked completely out of his depth and was dropped for the third Test. His technique just looks suspect on wickets that offer the seamers any assistance. His feet are nowhere, he is late on his shots and he is struggling to judge what he can and can't leave. That should be enough to cost him his place for England.

Hashim Amla - 4 (153 runs @ 30.6)

May seem harsh, but this is nowhere near the Amla we know. One half-century from six knocks. With AB de Villiers out of the Test mix at the moment, the Proteas need their rock to offer more than this. Amla has the ability to single-handedly bat opposition sides out of Test matches, but he has not done so. Needs to step up in England. 

JP Duminy - 3.5 (104 runs @ 20.8, 4 wickets @ 26.75)

Took four wickets in the first innings in Wellington and that was the highlight of his series, which speaks volumes. Duminy is South Africa's No 4, and a top score of 39 for the series is not good enough. His big contributions at Test level are too far apart and there are a lot of failures in between. The talent has never been questioned, but the results are not there. 

Faf du Plessis - 8 (198 runs @ 66)

Captaincy aside, which was good once more, Du Plessis scored three 50s from five knocks. You can't ask for much more than that. He leads by example with the bat and in the field and has further enhanced his reputation as the side's natural leader. Under Du Plessis's captaincy, the Proteas have won their last four Test series and have lost just one of 11 Test matches. 

Temba Bavuma - 6.5 (189 runs @ 37.8)

Needed runs going into the series and got off to a good start with a half-century in Dunedin. Followed that up with a very useful 89 in Wellington, where he probably should have gone on. His only century remains that knock against England in Cape Town in 2016. 20 matches into his Test career Bavuma has shown that he has the ability, but now he needs to back that up with runs. 

Quinton de Kock - 8.5 - (210 runs @ 52.5, 13 catches and 2 stumpings)

Not much more to say about QDK. Another hugely impressive display with the bat and behind the stumps. Remember when the New Zealand press though he was Jeetan Patel's 'bunny'? That didn't last long. With Cook out of form, there are many who want to see De Kock open the batting in England. 

Vernon Philander - 4 - (2 wickets @ 101.5, 70 runs @ 35)

Philander didn't bowl badly, he just didn't take wickets. And while it is always helpful to build pressure from one end, you want your new ball bowler taking more than two wickets in a Test series. Philander will still be a handful on the English wickets and he will be hungrier than ever. 

Keshav Maharaj - 9 - (15 wickets @ 19.93, 15 runs @ 5)

A spinner to leave New Zealand as South Africa's leading wicket-taker? Seems absurd, but Maharaj bowled beautifully throughout the series. Du Plessis summed it up well at the toss in Hamilton: Maharaj is a situation bowler. If the Proteas need him to attack, he can, and if they need him to dry up and end, he can. 

Kagiso Rabada - 6 (8 wickets @ 38.87, 47 runs @ 15.66)

Not the greatest three matches for South Africa's strike bowler, by his standards. He bowled a lot of overs, but never really got on top of the Kiwi batsmen. As is the case with Philander, this could work in South Africa's favour heading into England. 

Morne Morkel - 8 (11 wickets @ 26.72, 49 runs @ 49)

Morkel will be well pleased with his efforts after making his return from a lengthy back injury. Ran in hard, passed the fitness test and emerged as South Africa's most successful seamer. Good news for the Proteas ahead of England, though it could throw a spanner into the works if Dale Steyn is fit again. 

Theunis de Bruyn - n/a (12 runs @ 6)

Just the one match after replacing Cook in the third Test. Made to open the batting. Nicked off for 0 in the first innings and was then run-out in comical fashion for 12 in the second. 

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