South Africa vs. Australia: Ranking All 28 Players in the 2014 Test Series
South Africa’s memorable Test series against Australia is at an end, with the tourists taking a dramatic 2-1 series victory in Graeme Smith’s final act as Proteas captain.
As the teams prepare for a three-match Twenty20 International series that starts on Sunday, let’s first look back at the players involved in the three five-day matches.
Which bowlers and batsmen impressed, and which others floundered and struggled against their opponents?
Read on for a power ranking of the 28 players to pull on the whites for Australia and South Africa in this series.
All stats courtesy of ESPNCricinfo.
28. Ryan McLaren
14 runs; 7.00 batting average; 8 highest score
2 wickets; 59.50 bowling average; 2-72 BBI
Bringing up the tail is all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who played the opening game at Centurion, struggled mightily and was then dropped.
At 31 years old, his chances at Test level may be starting to run out, although he remains a handy operator in limited-overs cricket.
27. Peter Siddle
16 runs; 16.00 batting average; 11* highest score
5 wickets; 54.60 bowling average; 2-55 BBI
Overshadowed by his fellow fast bowlers, Peter Siddle could not quite hit the heights of the recent Ashes series.
It was unfortunate, and it led to him being dropped for the final Test, but he has surely proven himself to be one of Australia’s leading bowlers.
26. Robin Peterson
31 runs; 15.50 batting average; 21 highest score
3 wickets; 45.33 bowling average; 2-49 BBI
Another to only play the game in Centurion was Robin Peterson, who struggled for penetration on a pitch that was perhaps not as conducive for spin as it could be.
He remains a decent operator at international level, but given South Africa’s vast pace resources, he could find opportunities limited.
25. Brad Haddin
26 runs; 6.50 batting average; 13 highest score
After such a successful Ashes series, Brad Haddin did not manage any similarly telling contributions.
Looking horribly out of touch and struggling against South Africa’s speedsters, Haddin was unable to put together any more of his superb rear-guard innings.
24. Graeme Smith
45 runs; 7.50 batting average; 14 highest score
A sad end for Graeme Smith, one of South African cricket’s best servants in recent decades who announced he would retire at the end of this series.
A lack of runs and the series defeat have clearly contributed to his decision, and while it is sad to see him end this way, he has been one of the best Proteas cricketers in their history.
23. Kyle Abbott
10 runs; 5.00 batting average; 7 highest score
3 wickets; 43.00 bowling average; 3-61 BBI
A rather disappointing outing in Cape Town for seamer Kyle Abbott, but he has already shown plenty of potential in international cricket.
His battling seven runs from 89 balls as nightwatchman gave the Proteas hope, but he was bowled by James Pattinson.
22. Alviro Petersen
65 runs; 16.25 batting average; 53 highest score
Opener Alviro Petersen will be disappointed with two games in which he managed to make double figures just once.
With captain Graeme Smith also struggling for runs, the hosts will have wanted more telling contributions from their top order.
21. Morne Morkel
9 runs; 1.80 batting average; 7 highest score
6 wickets; 63.50 bowling average; 3-63 BBI
Morne Morkel had an inconsistent series in which he took some wickets but was very expensive indeed.
He showed he has plenty of character however in the face of some brutal Australian batting.
20. Quinton de Kock
41 runs; 20.50 batting average; 34 highest score
Making his Test debut in Port Elizabeth was Quinton de Kock, brought in to add some batting in the lower order.
It was a decent enough start, but he will be disappointed to have reached 34 but then to get out.
19. James Pattinson
No batting statistics
4 wickets; 34.75 bowling average; 2-62 BBI
After enormous struggles with injury, it is very heartening to see James Pattinson back in Test cricket and bowling fast.
Two wickets in each innings was a decent return, and if he can stay healthy he will surely have more chances at this level.
18. Shane Watson
65 runs; 32.50 batting average; 40 highest score
1 wicket; 40.00 bowling average; 1-34 BBI
Injury limited Shane Watson’s series to just the game in Cape Town, and he did well enough as an all-rounder.
There is a sense that he is still looking for his most effective role within this Australia team, and he will want to make some progress on that sooner rather than later.
17. Wayne Parnell
10 runs; 10.00 batting average; 10 highest score
2 wickets; 15.50 bowling average; 2-31 BBI
Another to play just once was Wayne Parnell, who gave a glimpse of what he can do at this level.
However, a groin strain meant he was unable to bowl in the second innings, which meant he could not continue the pace that saw him remove Alex Doolan with his first ball.
16. Dean Elgar
110 runs; 27.50 batting average; 83 highest score
2 wickets; 71.00 bowling average; 1-24 BBI
South Africa experimented with a number of alternatives to the retired Jacques Kallis, and Dean Elgar was perhaps the most encouraging with his performances here.
He made some runs and took wickets with his left-arm spin, and may well find himself at the front of the queue in the future.
15. Chris Rogers
181 runs; 30.16 batting average; 107 highest score
It must be hard to be Chris Rogers, knowing that every Test series for Australia could be his last, but he did a solid job for his team without being overly spectacular.
His 107 in Port Elizabeth was a highlight in what was a typically gritty display from the 36-year-old.
14. Alex Doolan
186 runs; 31.00 batting average; 89 highest score
New to Australia’s middle order was Alex Doolan, who came into the team and looked at home in Test cricket.
He will be disappointed not to have reached 100 on debut in Centurion, but he is another who will surely have other chances.
13. Shaun Marsh
192 runs; 48.00 batting average; 148 highest score
Bouncing in and out of Australia’s team is Shaun Marsh, who followed up a best ever Test score of 148 with a pair in Port Elizabeth.
Left out in Cape Town, he will want to be far more consistent if he is to retain his position in the future.
12. Faf du Plessis
214 runs; 35.66 batting average; 67 highest score
This was a solid series for Faf du Plessis, who continues to impress at Test level.
He passed 50 on two occasions, and will see this as proof that he belongs in the longest form of the game.
11. Nathan Lyon
19 runs; 9.50 batting average; 15 highest score
8 wickets; 39.00 bowling average; 5-130 BBI
Coming into his own now as Australia’s primary spin bowler, Nathan Lyon again looked good with the ball despite conditions not being as helpful as they could be.
He will be disappointed to go wicketless in Cape Town, however.
10. Vernon Philander
135 runs; 67.50 batting average; 51* highest score
7 wickets; 51.71 bowling average; 3-68 BBI
This was a strange series for Vernon Philander, who bowled and batted well despite this not being reflected in his figures.
A final bowling average of 51.71 is very disappointing, and does not show how potent he remains in partnership with Dale Steyn.
9. Michael Clarke
221 runs; 55.25 batting average; 161* highest score
1 wicket; 23.00 bowling average; 1-16 BBI
Australia’s captain Michael Clarke celebrates a series victory and another impressive series with the bat.
His 161 not out in Cape Town set the stage for Australia’s big lead in the first innings, and he will be delighted to travel to play one of the best Test sides in the world and earn a 2-1 series win.
8. JP Duminy
223 runs; 44.60 batting average; 123 highest score
7 wickets; 37.42 bowling average; 4-73 BBI
Another to bolster his Test credentials was JP Duminy, who impressed in the lower order and could be ready to step in on a more permanent basis.
He also took seven wickets with his nagging off-spin, which could prove very useful in the future.
7. Ryan Harris
55 runs; 18.33 batting average; 26 highest score
10 wickets; 31.80 bowling average; 4-32 BBI
Could this be the last we see of Ryan Harris in international cricket?
Struggling with terrible knee problems that would have finished most other players, Harris bowled with great heart and deserves a great deal of credit.
6. Hashim Amla
258 runs; 51.60 batting average; 127* highest score
Living up to his billing as one of the world’s best, Hashim Amla remains crucial in South Africa’s middle order.
His wicket was one of Australia’s most prized, and while he wasted a number of good starts, this was another solid run of performances for him with the bat.
5. Steve Smith
269 runs; 67.25 batting average; 100 highest score
2 wickets; 40.00 bowling average; 1-30 BBI
Almost out of nowhere, Steve Smith has made himself a regular in this Australian team and continues to show great ability.
He may not be the most aesthetically pleasing batsman, but he is very effective and enjoyed yet another productive period with the bat.
4. Dale Steyn
43 runs; 14.33 batting average; 28 highest score
12 wickets; 26.41 bowling average; 4-55 BBI
Still South Africa’s leading bowler, Dale Steyn led his country’s attack well once again to finish as their leading wicket taker.
He caused numerous problems with his swing and seam movement, and he remains one of the world’s best with ball in hand.
3. AB de Villiers
341 runs; 56.83 batting average; 116 highest score
In a tough series, AB de Villiers remained constant for South Africa and continues to deliver on a regular basis.
His 116 in Port Elizabeth helped the Proteas build a big lead, and he may well find himself captain if he can maintain his good form.
2. Mitchell Johnson
66 runs; 16.50 batting average; 33 highest score
22 wickets; 17.36 bowling average; 7-68 BBI
At present, Mitchell Johnson can do very little wrong with the ball in his hand.
A menacing presence and a threat with every delivery, it has been quite a revival for the left-armer, and that continued here as he was Australia’s chief destroyer.
1. David Warner
543 runs; 90.50 batting average; 145 highest score
The leading run scorer in this series, David Warner may well have become one of Australia’s most important batsmen, especially in a top order still subject to change.
Three centuries and two half centuries in six innings against this battery of South African fast bowlers is a brilliant effort, and Warner must now have secured a place in the long-term, barring injury.