Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 20, 2010

South Africa vs England – South Africa Series Report Card

Dale Steyn with a bagful of England wickets

Graeme Smith (427 runs at 61) – The key to the South African batting despite all Kallis’ runs. His big hundred in the second innings at Cape Town turned a tight series in South Africa’s direction which is pretty much the job description for a skipper. Harsh to say that he delayed his declaration too long at Centurion as to declare and lose the first Test of a series would have been folly indeed – and speaking of folly, he won’t forget giving the ball to Ntini for the last over at Centurion instead of de Wet. Won’t turn 30 for over a year!!

Ashwell Prince (97 runs at 14) – Hideously out of touch and uncomfortable opening against the moving ball. Pushing 33 and out of the ODI and T20 scenes, this could be the end of a 52 Test career.

Hashim Amla ( 311 runs at 44) – Very comfortable in the Test arena and delivering on his youthful promise now his technique is tighter. Bats beautifully with his captain and fields brilliantly anywhere close to the wicket.

Jacques Kallis (363 runs at 52 and 2 wickets at 72) – South Africa’s Rahul Dravid (both average about 54 after 135 and 137 Tests of solid defence of good balls and withering despatch of bad balls). Big Jacques wasn’t too fit (no giggling now) and it affected his bowling and, by the end of the series, his batting too, but he is still about the safest slip in world cricket.

AB de Villiers (276 runs at 39) – Breathtaking as ever in the field but quiet with the bat. His top score of 64 shows how many starts he wasted. Will certainly come again, possibly as an opener.

JP Duminy (114 runs at 16 and 8 wickets at 21) – Looked bereft of confidence against the short ball and Swanny’s slider, yet bubbled with the stuff whenever he was asked to bowl. Possibly thinking a bit too much with the bat in his hands and might benefit from going back to the simplicity so evident in Australia last year. Crashing it all over the paddock in T20 will do him good.

Mark Boucher (341 runs at 57 and 16 catches) – Batted positively with barely a failure all series, rounding it off with a crucial 95 in the Wanderers win. Still a showy rather than safe keeper, but doesn’t need to be more than that. A occasional smile wouldn’t hurt would it?

Morne Morkel (73 runs at 18 and 19 wickets at 21) – Like Steve Harmison, he has a lot that can go wrong with his action, but when he gets it right on a surface that offers lift, he is a handful. Benefited from being an opening bowler in the later Tests, he gave Smith the spearhead (twin tipped) that Strauss lacked.

Paul Harris (97 runs at 24 and 11 wickets at 40) – Still looks like a lucky winner of a competition that has the prize of  having a go at Test cricket, but there it is – 11 wickets. How? Was beaten up badly at Durban and dropped for the Wanderers, but he’ll be back (unless SA go with Steyn, Morkel, Parnell and de Wet with Duminy to spin it – tasty!)

Friedel de Wet (20 runs at 10 and 6 wickets at 31) – A find, he almost bowled his side to victory in his debut Test and might have if he’d had the final over. Genuinely quick, he reminded me of Shane Bond  – he doesn’t want injuries like him. Will bowl very well on the fast bouncy tracks of Australia.

Makhaya Ntini (11 runs at no average and 2 wickets at 117) – After years of faithful service, and over 100 Tests, he finally looks finished. A great career only marginally tarnished by an undistinguished end.

Dale Steyn (78 runs at 26 and 15 wickets at 24) – Once back in rhythm towards the end of the series, he did too much with the ball at too high a pace for most Englishmen. At the peak of his powers at 26, he is a gem that Smith will have to look after since he is the Number One ranked bowler in the world and looks it. Enjoys the game more than most quicks.

Ryan McLaren (33 runs at no average and 1 wicket at 43) – For a long time, he was a handy Kolpak playing county cricket, hitting the deck hard and the ball hard too. Looks every inch the English county all-rounder, and that’s never been enough for Test cricket. Will be handy in the ODI stuff though and will be SA’s Rana Naved in the T20.

Wayne Parnell (0 runs and 2 wickets at 18) – Oozes class with his whippy left arm deliveries angling back into right handers at an uncomfortable pace. A real athlete too, the only thing that will stop him becoming a leading world player is the treadmill of T20, ODI and Tests. Has 9 ODIs and 8 T20s already, which is no apprenticeship.

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Responses

  1. India v South Africa is shaping up to be a good series, however, South Africa’s lack of a quality spinner could be the thing that tips it in India’s favour.

    I don’t expect Morkel to fare as well on the sub-continent although Steyn should still prove a handful.

    As usual, it will fall to Smith to play exceptionally if South Africa are to find parity.

  2. Thanks for weighing in with these comment. Once again I pretty well agree with you.

    I think Kallis deserves more credit than you gave him, but ,yes, he didn’t look the part with the ball in hand.
    He’s such a good test cricketer that that he should perhaps retire from the 20/20 format, and maybe even the 50 over game, just so he can prolong his test career. That probably won’t happen though because that’s where the money is.

    Duminy has the selectors in a quandary. He’s a brilliant fielder and a more than useful spinner. When he gets going with the bat he’s wonderful to watch….beautiful shotmaker!! Unfortunately he has one or two technical flaws, which the top teams have already cottoned on to. If he works on these, as Amla has successfully done, he will be a real asset at #6. Right now he might well lose his test spot to Prince who has a great record down the order.

    Unless unusual circumstances prevail, I’m favouring Steyn, Morkel and Parnell to be the mainstays of the attack, with de Wet and Duminy the back-up, in South Africa, Australia and the West Indies, and the same three with Harris and Duminy on the sub-continent. In England and New Zealand it would be more dependent on the individual ground. No room for McLaren in the test side.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Cheers BigJohn – The quartet of pacemen that SA can field might be as effective as the West Indies’s 80s’ formula. I don’t think they are in that class yet, but such is the dearth of real pace around the world that the likes of Steyn (and before him, Bond) took wickets by surprise as much as anything else. I’d love to see T20 as a de facto game for those under 30 allowing the likes of Kallis to prolong their Test careers – but it won’t happen!

  3. I was pleased to see Amla getting a bit of recognition, a quiet man who does indeed field brilliantly, and bats coherently but always seems to fly under the radar. Then again, Steyn, that lethal bowler, just as quiet. I hope some interviews with him were shown in England, it seems all his life buckets of charm have been poured over him until it now oozes from him. Charm, charm , charm.

    I was a bit gobsmacked by the writer of this article being so forgiving of Strauss avoiding the tour of BanglaDesh. Wasn’t it you, Tooters , who banged on for months about Ponting jacking up about playing Pakistan because of ( unarguable, as it turned out) apprehension about random terrorist activity? I recall lots of stuff about a betrayal of cricket, how it was imperative that he must play there, for the good of the game, and as a mark of respect for Pakistan cricket and so on and so forth.

    And yet, some ditzy idea that Stauss is ‘fatigued’ is promoted. Fatigued? Smith has captained South Africa since he was a baby of 22, Ponting captaining Au since he was 26, what’s so exhausting for Strauss? He’s only been in the job for about a year, if that. I find this imcomprehensible.

    Cook as captain for the Bangla tour is one way of killing off Test cricket rapidly. His perpetual determination to avoid hitting the bloody ball for hours and hours is such contempt for the spectators as to constitute bringing disrepute to the game as a policy. Very horrid.

    • I don’t think I poured scorn on Punter for ducking Pakistan or anywhere else, but I might have once – can’t be certain. I do think that Strauss, while not needing a rest, will benefit from one. I’m usually annoyed by people claiming cricketers are tired, but I think that fast men and captains have a case for a break from time to time.

  4. my dear tooter.. your memory is as selective as Alistair Cook’s batting choices. That is, you remember about 22% and let 78% go thru to the keeper. And no one in blog world has been more voiciferous than you in regard to ‘tiredness’ in a cricketer, whatever the colours they wear. And your repeated escoriation of Punter, and AU cricketers in general for not going to Pakistan is as certain to me as the sun rising in the east.
    ‘He must go’… (repeat 40 times )

    Yet Strauss, who, in my opinion, which carries as much weight as yours since we both watched it on the screen ,looked nothing like tired. Embarassed, cranky, desperate, bewildered, yes, but not what I would label as ‘tired’.

    It is just simple bludging and gutlessness for Strauss to opt out of a Test series on the grounds of ‘tiredness.’

    • It’s a point I see but don’t agree with. I do think that teams as a whole should not duck tours although, post-Lahore, I understand exactly why teams do. This is the last match I can find for Australia playing a senior team in Pakistan and that’s disappointing as it was over 11 years ago – http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64594.html


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