The Australian Test Tour – Winners and Losers

South Africa have just defended their number one ranking in World Test cricket, following an incredible series in which Australia arguably dominated 9 of the 14 days of cricket. The Proteas were able to weather the storm and emerged victorious 1-0 after a right rollicking in Perth. Through the tour there were some highlights and some moments as memorable as a season of Idols in South Africa.

Winners

Graeme Smith
Surely Biff has won the title of greatest South African captain. He has led the South African team to unprecedented back-to-back victories in Australia (The first by any team in Australia since 1988), a series victory in England and an undefeated 2012 in Test Match cricket. Biff has many naysayers, but he leads by example and this series was again a time where this was imminent.

Michael Clarke
It is hard not to like Michael Clarke. South Africa were on the receiving end of Clarke’s incredible form and his leadership skills have really blossomed the more he is captain. He was aggressive in his declaration in the first test and his approach in the 2nd could hardly be faulted. His 576 runs in the series were 200 more than second placed Hashim Amla and his 2 double tons took him to four in a calendar year. Class.

Robin Peterson
I tweeted on Friday that when Robby P had scored his 31 runs in the first innings of the 3rd test, that he had already added more value in one innings than Tahir had done all year. He has been knocking on the door for a while and will now finally feel he has put himself clearly in the thoughts of the selectors. His 6 wickets in the test match was also only the 8th time in history a spinner had taken 6 or more wickets at the WACA.

Faf du Plessis
Comparisons with Chuck Norris are completely out of place, because Chuck Norris cant hold a candle on Faf. The Titans all rounder got a chance through the withdrawal of JP Duminy through injury and immediately did a JP Duminy to JP Duminy (When JP did it to Ashwell Prince in 2008) by turning into the match winner. His 78 in the first innings helped South Africa avoid the dreaded follow on, but his match saving marathon 110 scored in 476 minutes catapulted him into instant hero status. Of course he also consolidated this with another 50 in the third test after SA had stumbled to 75 for 6.

Test Cricket
What an incredible series. The biggest disappointment is quite simply that Australia and South Africa only play 3 match series. The survival effort of Faf, AB and Kallis in the second test was the edge of your seat reasons we watch sport. The 1.5 run rate was more riveting than a T20 can be. Ultimately its series like these that will save Test Cricket and the ICC.

Losers

Ricky Ponting
Well Ricky was a fantastic servant of the game of cricket and one of the greats (but not quite as good as Kallis) in the game, his final series was a completely forgettable  He scored a paltry 32 runs at an average of 5 and when Vernon Philander is scoring more runs of you in less games then that can be a rather disappointing way to go out

Imran Tahir
His test career is surely over, he now owns the record for the worst bowling figures in test match history after the second test. Tahir will have to work long and hard if he is to have any chance of reclaiming his place in the test squad.

Jacques Rudolph
Well that was disappointing to say the least. The classy left-hander had the opportunity to move up the order but became the first SA batsmen dropped due to form in over a year! His ability to dominate scoreboards through time at the crease has not been apparent in this series. Will face a dificult battle to make the squad ahead of a fully fit Faf and JP.

Rob Quiney
At 30 years of age he finally got his chance in the national system, but his 3 innings produced a underwhelming and poor 9 runs. It was not helped by the fact that Australia scored well in 2 of the innings in which Rob failed in. With Watson fit again, it is unlikely that we will see Quiney again anytime soon.

Firdose Moonda
She started the tour as probably one of the highest regarded journalists in cricketing circles, but during the tea session of the first day she made a statement about the make-up of a South African team. Im all for tranformation (not the way she was asking for it) but to be so upset about the make-up of a team that is currently the best in the world is somewhat naive. So much so that Mark Boucher felt it was necessary to call her out on it immediately on twitter.

What were the highlights of the tour for you? Let me know on Facebook, twitter or pop me an email to jabu@allthingsjabu.co.za

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