South Africa vs. Australia: Player Ratings for Baggy Greens After 3rd Test
In the most thrilling fashion, Australia claimed a dramatic victory in the third Test at Cape Town on Wednesday to clinch an exhilarating series win over South Africa.
After being outplayed for close to four days, the home side fought with tremendous will to survive almost a day and a half against Australia's vicious attack, falling an agonising 27 balls short of saving the match in Graeme Smith's final Test appearance.
For Australia, the series-clinching victory wraps up an emphatic summer of cricket in which they've triumphed in seven of eight matches, returning to the sort of dominance associated with the nation's rich cricketing history.
Michael Clarke's Test unit will now look forward to expected clashes with Pakistan and India towards the end of 2014, eyeing the chance to potentially return to the top of the ICC's Test Rankings.
But before we get there, here are the ratings for each Australian player after their performances in Cape Town.
Criteria and Explanation of Ratings
- First-innings runs carry more weight than those scored in the second innings.
- Runs scored in difficult situations are valued more highly than runs compiled when a team is well in front.
- The captain will be judged on his performance in the field in addition to his other contributions with bat or ball.
- Moments of brilliance or game-defining acts are looked upon favourably.
- Performing to a high standard in conditions that don't suit a player's skill set boosts a player's rating.
- Acts of poor judgement, rather than poor execution, significantly hurt a player's rating.
Before employing a rating system, it's important to outline the key criteria used to award those ratings.
Of course, sheer weight of runs and wickets will largely determine a player's match rating. However, the following factors also have a significant bearing on the rating of each player:
With the bat: 25, 39
After a sterling century in the second innings at Port Elizabeth, Chris Rogers will be disappointed after failing to convert a pair of promising starts into meaningful totals in Cape Town.
In both innings in the third Test, Rogers was undone by Dale Steyn, being caught at slip by Graeme Smith on the opening morning before seeing the injured South African star run him out in the search of quick runs on Day 4.
With limited-overs cricket set to be the focus on international teams for the coming 12 months, the veteran left-hander may have just played his last major Test series.
With the bat: 135, 145
The numbers don't lie: David Warner is now the world's undisputed best Test opener.
In Cape Town, the combative left-hander was at his belligerent best, annihilating South Africa's attack around Newlands on consecutive occasions to compile a colossal 280 runs for the match.
In fact, in just six innings in this series, Warner has thrashed three hundreds and two fifties for a total of 543 runs at 90.50. Perhaps more impressive is his thunderous strike rate of 86.74.
South Africa will be relieved to see the back of him.
With the bat: 20, 37
Alex Doolan was perhaps fortunate to be selected for the third Test in Cape Town ahead of Shaun Marsh, given the left-hander's mightily impressive hundred in the first match at Centurion.
While it's obvious that Australia's selectors are trying to identify a No. 3 capable of holding down the position for the better part of the next decade, Doolan's indifferent showing at Newlands will have left team management undecided on his tenure.
In the first innings, the Tasmanian skewed a misguided pull-shot to mid-on when on 20, while his second effort with the bat was a curiously defensive effort at a time when Australia were in the search of quick runs.
With the bat: 161*, 0
With the ball: DNB, 0/7
It was far from his most fluent performance, but Michael Clarke's defiant hundred in the first innings in Cape Town will be remembered as one of his most significant.
Arriving at this decisive Test short of runs and down on confidence, the Australian captain was brutalised by Morne Morkel on the opening day, surviving a fearful barrage from the South African enforcer and emerging from the ordeal to post a match-defining century.
It also must be remembered that less than 12 months ago, Clarke's reign in charge of this Australian team was being questioned. Now he stands as the most enterprising and innovative captain in the game, and at the helm of the world's most rampant side.
With the bat: 84, 36*
With the ball: 0/7, 1/43
It feels as though Steve Smith's importance and maturity in this Australian side is continuing to grow with every match that passes.
After impressive showings in Centurion and Port Elizabeth, Smith again proved that he's set to be his country's middle-order anchor in years to come with a composed 84 alongside his captain in the first innings.
The manner in which he dealt with South Africa's attack was particularly accomplished, while he also displayed his versatility with innovative stroke-play in his side's second effort with the bat.
The part-time leg-spinner also claimed the critical wicket of Faf du Plessis on the final day, helping to steer Australia to a memorable victory.
With the bat: 40, 25
With the ball: 1/34, 0/6
There were no landmark moments for Shane Watson in his return from injury at Newlands, but his useful contributions with both bat and ball were reminders of why Australia's selectors continue to value the all-rounder so highly.
In both innings with the bat, Watson scored at a breath-taking rate, further driving the game away from the home side, while his 18 overs with the ball relieved the workload from the side's leading seamers.
The everlasting challenge for Watson is remaining healthy, which has been a significant challenge for the duration of his career.
With the bat: 13, 3*
With the gloves: 5 dismissals
Brad Haddin's rather quiet time in South Africa continued in Cape Town, with the wicket-keeper completing another minor performance in the final encounter of the series.
However, the 36-year-old's small returns with the bat were no fault of his own, given that on both occasions, he arrived at the crease in the search of quick runs at the end of his side's innings.
Yet, with the gloves, Haddin was superb, completing five dismissals, one of which was a spectacular athletic catch from the bowling of James Pattinson to remove Dean Elgar.
With the ball: 4/42, 3/92
With the bat: 0, DNB
In completing 34 rapid overs in South Africa's second innings, Mitchell Johnson proved that he's perhaps the most complete athlete in the international game.
It's somewhat remarkable that Michael Clarke can continue to throw the ball to his savage left-arm speedster, knowing that Johnson's immense threat will be ever-present.
In Cape Town, the 32-year-old was superb once more, dismantling the hosts in the first innings before completing a performance of sheer endurance in the second.
While a couple of his South African counterparts may lay claim to the world's best tag, it's Australia's emphatic tearaway who stands as the finest bowler in the sport.
With the ball: 3/63, 4/32
With the bat: 4*, DNB
Ryan Harris can now happily head to the surgery table, content in the knowledge that his display of immense will in Cape Town played a significant part in Australia's series-clinching victory.
On a knee that is degrading by the day, the bustling right-armer put together his finest performance of the series, rediscovering the impeccable length and nip that saw him become one of the world's leading bowlers in 2013.
After producing a magnificent delivery to dismiss the seemingly impenetrable AB de Villiers, the weary 34-year-old produced two top-drawer efforts to disturb the stumps of both Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to capture a dramatic final-hour triumph for the tourists.
With the ball: 2/77, 2/62
With the bat: DNB, DNB
James Pattinson was brought into the Australian side in this Test to provide the pace and intensity that had appeared to be missing in Peter Siddle's recent appearances.
The fiery 23-year-old provided exactly that, claiming four wickets for the match while presenting another fearsome threat to a speed-wary South Africa.
Now fully recovered from the back injury that ruled him out of the 2013-14 Ashes series, Pattinson looks set for a sustained run in this Australian side.
With the ball: 0/53, 0/10
With the bat: DNB, DNB
Nathan Lyon's performance in Cape Town was unquestionably the most underwhelming in the Australian team, with the off-spinner failing to claim a wicket in the match.
Certainly, Lyon's classic and somewhat old-fashioned methods were hampered by a pitch that offered very little to the 26-year-old, but his inability to pose a genuine threat on the final day will be a cause for slight concern for Australia's team management.
While Lyon has performed admirably behind his team's world-class seamers since his re-introduction into the team, the tweaker needs to show that he's a reliable option for his captain when conditions make the going tough for Australia's pace attack.