Proteas wrap up ‘best season ever’

2013-03-26 15:28

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The Proteas wrapped up their most successful 12-month period ever after concluding the one-day international (ODI) series with a victory over Pakistan on Sunday, according to Cricket SA (CSA).

Although there may still be some work to be done in both the limited over formats, the Proteas remain the undisputed champions in the Test arena.

They won six out of eight Tests and drew the other two to claim and keep the much cherished number-one international ranking in Test cricket.

With their nearest challengers England and Australia both having suffered setbacks elsewhere, they have now established a 14-point lead at the top of the table.

Highlights this season included their away Test series victories in England and Australia for the second time in the space of four years, going unbeaten for 15 successive Test matches, and having a winning run of six successive matches.

They dismissed both New Zealand (45) and Pakistan (49) for sub-50 Test match totals, while the Black Caps’ innings (19.2 overs) was the 12th shortest of all time.

The Proteas also won the Lord’s Test for the fourth time since re-admission, to extend their unbeaten record at the venue.

When it comes to individual accolades, Graeme Smith became the first Test player to captain his country 100 times, including 50 Test-match victories.

Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis shared the sixth highest third-wicket Test partnership of 377 against England – the highest ever for that wicket against England.

Amla also made South Africa’s first Test treble century after he scored two centuries in both the away series against England and Australia.

He is also currently ranked as the number-one Test batsman and joint number one ODI batsman with Proteas captain AB de Villiers.

Amla’s innings of 196 against Australia in Perth was the highest for a South African against that opponent since unity.

Meanwhile, Kyle Abbott’s Test debut figures of 7/29 were the ninth best of all time and the second best for the country.

Faf du Plessis batted seven hours and 44 minutes for an unbeaten maiden century on debut to save the Test match against Australia in Adelaide.

He went on to score another century in his fourth Test match against New Zealand to equal the international career start of Graeme Pollock.

Alviro Petersen played an innings of similar longevity when he batted for nine hours to make a career best 182 against England at Headingley, in spite of being hampered by an injury.

De Villiers excelled with the bat to move up to joint number one in the ODI rankings and number three in the Test rankings.

He made the Proteas’ only two Test centuries against Pakistan and was named Man of the Series in both the Test and ODI formats.

His century and 11 dismissals against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium was a unique performance in the history of both first-class and Test match cricket.

Kallis scored centuries against England and Australia to take his total of three-figure innings to 44 and his career aggregate past 13 000 – the fourth player to achieve this mark.

He also has the joint-third highest number of catches (194) and is just 12 wickets short of the 300 mark.

Dale Steyn became the joint third quickest bowler to reach 300 wickets this season and remained world number one Test bowler for the fifth year.

He returned a remarkable 6/8 to dismiss Pakistan for 49 at the Wanderers in Joburg.

Vernon Philander became the world number-two ranked Test bowler and, as far as can be established, taking the quickest “five-for” from the start of a Test match when his 5/9 was pivotal in dismissing New Zealand for 45 at Newlands in Cape Town.

He also emerged as a quality bowling Test all-rounder to move up to number four in this category on the ICC rankings.

In the ODI’s, Amla and De Villiers achieved a world best third-wicket partnership record of 238 against Pakistan, while Ryan McLaren finished as the leading ODI wicket-taker in the current calendar year.

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