Robin Peterson’s man of the match performance in the Proteas’ four-wicket victory over Pakistan at Sahara Park Newlands has proven his worth as the Proteas’ frontline spinner. Peterson’s role has been overshadowed by the dominating pace attack that has thrived on seam friendly playing conditions, but this weekend’s performance was a further statement of the depth he brings to the squad.
Peterson has played five Tests since making a comeback into the Proteas’ fold after a four year absence. He scored a match-changing 84 runs in the Proteas’ first innings, coupled with five wickets for 167 for his match return.
“It’s nice to get the man of the match award,” Peterson said after the match. “But I think it’s more important that we won a Test match when we were under pressure. That is more of a feather in the cap, it was a good team effort, even though I’m standing up collecting the award. There were some magnificent performances by a lot of the guys; I’m probably just the lucky one to end up with it.”
Peterson came back after a disappointing first innings performance to strike with the key wicket of Misbah-ul-Haq in Pakistan’s second innings, after the skipper looked set to help the visitors post a challenging victory target for South Africa.
“I thought I wasn’t at my best in the first innings,” he said. “I’m gradually getting there, there are still a few things I’m not entirely happy with but it’s a work in progress. You have to deal with what you have and use it to the best. I was just happy to contribute with important wickets in this game. It’s not always the five-fors that can set up the game, it’s sometimes those one or two wickets that a spinner gets that can open the game up for the team.”
His performance with the bat has seen him move 44 places up to 100th on the ICC Reliance Test rankings for batsmen,
“I did a lot of work behind the scenes with “Gaz” (Kirsten), Russell (Domingo) and Rob Walter,” he added. “Just trying to free myself up mentally and going out there to express myself. They encourage me to play that way, and I’m just glad that it seemed to work out in the end.”
Hashim Amla, who scored 25 and 58, has retained his number-one ranking while fourth-ranked AB de Villiers, who scored 61 and 36, has achieved a career-best rating to date of 851 to lead fifth placed Kumar Sangakkara by nine ratings points but still trails third-ranked Shivnarine Chanderpaul by 28 ratings points. Australia captain Michael Clarke remains second.
The current Sunfoil series features the top three Test bowlers in the world, after Saeed Ajmal’s 10 for 147 pushed him to third on the ICC Reliance Test rankings for bowlers. Vernon Philander has collected 32 ratings points for his figures of five for 59 and four for 40. Dale Steyn is sitting on top of the tree, 18 ratings points ahead of his new ball partner.