We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Here's how the South African unit performed against Pakistan

15 January 2019 - 15:46 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Kagiso Rabada of the Proteas celebrates the wicket of Sarfra Ahmed of Pakistan for 50 runs with his team mates during day 2 of the 3rd Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kagiso Rabada of the Proteas celebrates the wicket of Sarfra Ahmed of Pakistan for 50 runs with his team mates during day 2 of the 3rd Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Tough pitches normally make for better batsmen‚ but some of the Proteas' batsmen will disagree after having to deal with Pakistan's world-class bowlers.

South Africa won the series 3-0 and the strides were made in the bowling department‚ but some batsmen took some steps backwards.

Here's how the South African unit performed:

1) Duanne Olivier – 24 wickets at 14.70 – 9/10

The economy rate of 4.01 per over was a fair-bit eye-popping but the 24 wickets was crucial to South Africa's cause.

He terrified Pakistan's batting line-up and ensured Azhar Ali‚ Pakistan's best batsman‚ never got going.

He bowled with pace‚ hostility and aggression that Pakistan's top-order bar Shan Masood couldn't deal with.

He could do better in terms of creating wicket-taking pressure but the rest of the bowling attack did that for him.

He filled Lungi Ngidi's void and when Ngidi does return‚ it's going to be a tough bun-fight for the third seamer's slot.

2) Quinton de Kock – 251 runs at 62.75 – 9/10

De Kock is back and probably at the right time for the national team.

He scored a punchy 100 at the Wanderers was a timely reminder of De Kock's ability to absorb and transfer pressure.

His rise in form is less about what he can do for the Test team but more about taking that form with to the ODI side.

He made sure Pakistan couldn't get through easily to the tail

3) Hashim Amla - 209 runs at 52.25 - 7.5/10

The devil in the detail of Amla's runs lies in when he scored them.

In the first Test‚ his patience ensured a tricky chase was negotiated with some ease while in the recently concluded third Test‚ he saw off a top-order collapse and guided the team past parity and into a position of strength.

The 100 column can do with a bit of filling but he again was the batting insurance on surfaces that did a fair bit.

4) Aiden Markram – 201 runs at 40.20 – 7/10

The quality of Pakistan's bowling asked serious questions of his ability and he's passed reasonably well.

He missed out on a Wanderers ton but he's a technically sound buccaneering force next to Dean Elgar's scratchy effectiveness.

If the pitches are kinder for the Sri Lanka series next month‚ he may just cash in and atone for the difficult series he had in Sri Lanka last year.

5) Kagiso Rabada – 17 wickets at 18.70 - 7/10

If you have a change bowler of Rabada's talent‚ then you're fully blessed as a coach.

There was no let-up of intensity and also found the accuracy that at times eluded Olivier.

He was the one bowler that Pakistan didn't attack with regularity and adjusted his spells very well to suit the match dynamics in front of him.

However‚ he does deserve to get the new ball on the odd occasion.

6) Temba Bavuma – 172 runs at 43 – 7/10

At some point he'll find his true batting niche but in the mean time‚ he's SA's champion fire-fighter.

In the Centurion Test‚ he batted well in challenging conditions and in Cape Town‚ he missed out on an opportunity to convert his 75 into something more substantial.

His penchant for scoring runs when they're most needed far outweighs his mid-30 average and this series was an example of that.

7) Dale Steyn – 12 wickets at 29 – 6/10

Not many bowlers of Steyn's age would be able to bowl at his speed and his intensity.

The wickets column doesn't speak about how well he bowled but the pressure he created saw Olivier reap the rewards.

His skills repertoire has also grown to compensate for the inevitable drop in pace that comes with his age.

8) Dean Elgar – 126 runs at 25.20 – 5/10

It wasn't easy going for Elgar in this series but when he was needed to make a match-defining contribution‚ he did so alongside Amla in the first Test.

The challenge of being an opener means you can get balls that other batsmen don't because of the need to blunt the new ball.

He'll be disappointed with this series return but this was a good attack he was up against.

9) Faf du Plessis – 106 runs at 35.33 - 5/10

The average is misleading because 103 of those 106 runs came in the first innings of the second Test but it was the series defining contribution.

He got an unplayable ball in the first innings of the first Test and could have done better than falling to the hooking trap in the second innings.

The low mark also includes the “slow” over-rate that got him suspended for the third Test despite an early finish.

10) Vernon Philander – six wickets at 28.50 - 5/10

He would have been disappointed at the lack of wickets but his parsimony (three runs an over) meant Pakistan's batting line-up had to go and look for runs elsewhere.

That's when the wickets fell and from this perspective‚ his job was done.

11) Theunis de Bruyn – 112 runs at 18.66 – 3/10

His spot in the side is the most tenuous and did nothing to advance his cause.

Granted the pitches were difficult and in the third Test‚ he looked good but he found extremely weird ways of getting out.

He looked set in Johannesburg and got out on 49 while his dismissals in the rest of the series were disappointing.

Should he get a run against Sri Lanka and their kinder bowling attack? The selectors will have to decide on that one.

The one-Testers

Zubayr Hamza – 41 runs at 20.10 – 5/10

He may not have got 50 on debut in the first innings of the third Test but his counter-attack was thrilling.

There was the lack of fear associated with youngsters and looked the Test part. He got a brute of a ball that terminated his second innings without scoring but there's some talent here.

Keshav Maharaj – No wickets - No grading

This wasn't a series for spinners and Maharaj was the worst victim of the pitches.

He should be back for the Sri Lanka series where the slower Kingsmead and St George's Park pitches are right up his alley.