Steyn tops Proteas ratings

Dale Steyn (AFP)
Dale Steyn (AFP)
Cape Town - The Proteas returned to the No 1 ranking in Test cricket after claiming a 1-0 series win over Sri Lanka.

As it happened: SL v SA, Day 5

A gritty South African tail fought off Sri Lanka's spinners to snatch a nerve-jangling draw in Colombo on Monday to propel them to the top of world Test ranking ahead of Australia.

It also ended South Africa's 21-year-old jinx in Sri Lanka where they last won a Test series in 1993.

South Africa won the opening Test in Galle by 153 runs.

Here's how Sport24 rated the victorious bunch (The same XI players were on duty in both Tests):

Alviro Petersen (5/10)

Question-marks remain over his ability to take the lead following the retirement of Graeme Smith. Should have cashed in after making good starts in both innings (32 and 34) in Galle and looked out of sorts against the Sri Lankan spin onslaught in Colombo, only registering 2 runs in the Test. With domestic run-machine Stiaan van Zyl eagerly awaiting a chance, Petersen will be under pressure to convert starts into three figures in upcoming Tests.

Dean Elgar (6/10)

Struggled against the spin up front in Colombo, making only 14 runs in the Test, but a century in the first Test in Galle was enough to get a pass mark in the two-Test series.

Faf du Plessis (7/10)

Responded adequately in the Test series after losing his spot in the one-day side. He showed in this series that Test cricket is his best format and notched 163 runs in the series at an average of 40.75.

Hashim Amla (8/10)

Passed his first series as captain with flying colours. His brave declaration in Galle was a welcome change from more conservative approaches in the past. Also showed in Colombo that the captaincy should not affect his batting by scoring 139 not out in South Africa's first innings, before following it up with a fighting 25 off 159 balls in the second innings to help save the Test.

AB de Villiers (7/10)

121 series runs at 30.25 is perhaps not his best-ever effort, but he remains the best batsman in world cricket. For the sake of longevity, De Villiers should be relieved of the wicketkeeping duties on a permanent basis.

Quinton de Kock (7/10)

Apart from the odd mishap behind the stumps, De Kock has showed that he is the future of South African cricket. He must get the wicketkeeping duties on a permanent basis. He also showed his potential with the bat, notching 124 runs at 31.

JP Duminy (7/10)

Proved vital to South Africa's cause with bat and ball. His century in the first innings in Galle was a game changer and he took more wickets (5) than frontline spinner Imran Tahir. His ability to break vital partnerships at key times is a major asset...

Vernon Philander (5/10)

Proved his all-round abilities by helping to save the Test with the bat in Colombo (27 not out off 98 balls). Only took 2 wickets in the series as an opening bowler, but was better than his figures indicated in conditions not suitable for his type. He was unlucky with two catches going down off his bowling in the Colombo Test. However, his ball-tampering scandal only earns him 5 out of 10. Was lucky to play in the second Test...

Dale Steyn (9/10)

Bowled remarkably well in supposedly unfavourable conditions. His match figures of 9/99 in spin-friendly Galle will rank up there with one of the best-ever bowling efforts in Test cricket. He added four more wickets in the Colombo Test and his ability to spend time at the crease for extended periods makes him an even more valuable asset. He was duly named man of the series and receives the same accolade from Sport24.

Morné Morkel (8/10)

Showed good control and it was pleasing to see him mix it up a bit, instead of just banging in a dozen short balls on the trot (remember Cape Town v Australia earlier this year?!). His clever use of the slower ball helped him to 4/45 in the Sri Lankan second innings in Colombo. His 12 series wickets on subcontinent conditions was a superb effort!

Imran Tahir (4/10)

Tahir unfortunately failed to pass the test. As effective as he is in one-day cricket, he remains quite the opposite in the longer version. He fails to build pressure with too many loose deliveries and 4 series wickets in spin-friendly conditions is not what the doctor ordered.
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