Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Player Ratings, 1st Test, South Africa versus Pakistan

The first Test between the champion South African and the contender Pakistan showed conclusively to all why the title belt is around the hosts waist. With them being eye balled,  challenged and broken down on the first day by some brilliant bowling. Their response was intimidating with them flexing their considerable all round muscle to completely reduce Pakistan to rubble.

It was an awe inspiring display of  power Cricket from South Africa that leaves you with the question if Pakistan can find away back into the series or if South Africa will make this series into a testimonial for all to be in awe of them.

Duly lets pick apart the 1st Test and laud the heroes and bemoan the villains

South Africa 

Player Ratings 

Graeme Smith

This match will be remarked on more for Smith's Captaincy rather than his batting.His decision to not enforce the follow on and take up a great opportunity to drive a humiliated Pakistani batting line up into the turf was curious on a number of accounts. Firstly for passing up a perfect opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on the series by dismantling their batting once more. Which would have paralysed any belief that the Pakistanis had for future endeavours. Secondly, with the forecast of rain later in the Match to offer the chance for a certain victory to be stolen by potential Weather was incompetent in the extreme

Rating 4/10

Very poor by Smith from a leadership point of view

Alviro Petersen

Struggled in this match with him setting up a platform by getting into his 20's in both innings, but then succumbing. He found it tough with the combination of a pitch that had a bit of spice in it and the high calibre Pakistani bowling. But as Petersen has shown in his career is that he is a warrior making you know he will adjust to the demands and be a factor in the series.

Rating 4/10

Poor Match

Hashim Amla

I think for the first time in his career .Master Amla walked off the ground with his head held in shame after gifting his wicket to the innocuous offering of Younus Khan- embarrassing!

Order was restored in the 2nd innings with him stroking a moorish 74 and having us all enchanted by the Amla experience

Rating 7/10

We expect the 'Bearded Bradman' to dominate every match with him just being mortal in this Test

Jacques Kallis

Fabulous match by Kallis with his batting being elite in the 1st innings and the class of his bowling and fielding being the focus for the remainder of the game. Two aspects of his game that get touched on, but in my mind not fully appreciated for their high standard.

Rating 8/10

All hail King Kallis!


The beau of all female eyes and some guys....had a very busy match here

With him equalling England's Jack Russell's record of 11 dismissals in a Test and then delighted his masses with a charismatic unbeaten 104 in the 2nd innings. That was choc full of his trademark audacious shots

Rating 9/10

Great match by the bodacious Bokkie

FaF Du Plessis

Made 41 in the only time he backed and his main memory from this match will be the bizarre manner in which he was dismissed.

LOL- posing for a perfect front foot block as the ball rolled onto his stumps

Rating 6/10

He nearly scored more than the whole Pakistani Team in their first innings- so did ok

Dean Elgar 

Like Du Plesis, Elgar only played on innings and looked determined and adequate in it until he was dismissed to a leg side feather to Hafees. Which is a pretty unlucky way to get out

Rating 6/10

Refer to Du Plessis

Robin Petersen 

This match showed Petersens limitations as a spinner with him being big hearted and effective against minnows, but against any batsman with a clue about playing spin he is way out of his depth

Rating 2/10

Heart only gets a player so far in Test Cricket

Vernon Philander

He might not have got the figures that he usually gets, but he was a huge reason behind Dale Steyn's mastery in this game. With him adding the acid to the batsman to overwhelm them with Steyn's skill by the relentless pressure he exerted on them with his defensive bowling in partnership with Steyn

Rating 8/10 

Great display of Team bowling by Philander

Dale Steyn

Rating 11/10

I did not think I could write anything to fully portray how great Steyn was- so I left it blank in a sign of silent awe

Morne Morkel 

Had a down match from a figures point of view, but I think he sent shivers up the spines of the batsmen with his pace and rearing bounce. The Pakistani's were enjoying him as much as one does a trip to a Dentist

Rating 6/10 

He was quiet here, but beware of him going forward

Looking Forward 

It is inconceivable to want to change a side that won so comprehensively but it might be forced on the team with a finger injury to DeVilliers. Which would see a specialist glove man come in and DeVilliers revert back to a batsman. More than likely at the expense of Robin Petersen with Faf Du Plessis picking up the spin slack

Crucially, the Team needs to avoid the lapses that have been their bane in recent times. That saw both Sri Lanka and India fight back in their series in South Africa and them give rise to a very average Aussie Team in dual series.


Player Ratings

Mohammad Hafees 

Hafees was brilliant in the first innings with his very heady off spin ( or series of straight ones ) making a mess of the South African batting. But in the department that the Team so needed him to excel in his batting he was found wanting. You can excuse this with him being blown away by a Steyn storm as most batsmen would of.

But for Pakistan to be a factor in this series he needs to find a way with the bat

Rating 4/10 

Not good enough with the bat

Nasir Jamshed 

The debutante was one of the positives from the Pakistani batting wreck with him showing a belonging at this level. He is a more attack minded batsman, that in a predominantly dour top 6 is a God sent. How he goes in the rest of the series will be intriguing with the South African's being familiar with him now and making the needed adjustments to try to counter him

Rating 7/10 

A fine debut

Azhar Ali 

This match showed what a key that this youngster is for the batting with him looking the most assured of the batsmen from a technical sense. But him getting a brute of a ball in the 1st innings and succumbing in the 2nd. If Pakistan is to rise, he is the one that needs to lead the charge

Rating 4/10 

A nearly match from a player I really rate

Younus Khan 

Very disappointing from the Ultimate warrior YK with him looking rusty in the extreme as well as being over matched in the conditions. The one thing you know is when you start to doubt YK- he will leave you with egg on your face. So expect a far more refined display from him in the 2nd Test

Rating 2/10 

Very disappointing

Misbah Ul Haq

His Captaincy in the South African first innings was masterful in the manner he manoeuvred his attack to initially entrap and then dismiss the high calibre line up. Then his 'TUK TUK' batting might not endear himself to the younger generation who embrace and laud flash, but it schooled his Team mates in the application and courage you need in these conditions.

Rating 8/10 

One of the few Pakistani's who improved their standing in this game

Asad Shafiq 

A tough little player that showed a real resolve and fighting spirit in the 2nd innings. He has an obvious technical flaw in the angle bat he displays in defence, but once he irons that out of his game he could develop into a fine player. Took a gem of a catch too

Rating 7/10

Good display

Sarfraz Ahmed 

He was brought in to add to the batting in the line up, but looked inadequate in his two innings here. His glove work was very refined, but it was his bat that Pakistan need with him seeming to leave it back in Karachi

Rating 2/10 

Has talent, but 'needs to put some runs on the board' in a quite literal and figuratively sense!

Umar Gul 

Big hearted quick that bowled well, but the excellence in the bowling was rendered irrelevant by the batting toiletry

Rating 7/10

He will be a factor in the series before it ends

Junaid Khan 

Impressive with his laser like accuracy and relentless approach that saw him pound the batsmen with his attacking lines and high skill. Lost heart in the second inning after the batting had broke the bowlers resolve with their display

Rating 6/10

Brilliant in the first, but gave up a bit in the second

Saeed Ajmal

The wily Ajmal was very much a non factor in this match with the conditions and state of the match very much neutralising his effectiveness. He will hit back though, and hit back hard

Rating 3/10

Non event

Rahat Ali

Every one wanted to see the Big Boy Mohammad Irfan, but got Rahat Ali......

Rating  2/10

The youngster tried, but didn't land a blow

Looking forward

A few things stood out like dogs balls

Firstly for a tour of this magnitude the Team should have set up more practice games to acclimatize to the conditions with the batting looking all at sea. It was better performed in the 2nd innings, but one got the impression that this was assisted by South Africa taking their foot off the pump. Their use or misuse of DRS in this game was embarrassingly bad and needs to be addressed. To many challenges put the individual before the Team...

Lastly, we all want the Giant Mohammad Irfan..........


  1. Nice analysis mate, but it seems you have been intimidated by the reputation of Kallis rather than by his on-field performance.

    1. Very valid point on Kallis, Umesh- thank you