THE Proteas’ ODI series victory over Pakistan on Sunday completed the most successful and star-studded period of 12 months in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) international history.
There is still lots of room for improvement in both the limited overs formats where the Proteas had a 6-6 record in ODI’s and a 5-6 record in T20 International matches but the individual and team performances and statistics tell their own story.
Indeed, at one stage the Proteas held the No. 1 ranking for a brief period in all formats of the game. They won six out of eight Tests and drew the other two to claim and keep the much cherished No. 1 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.
The period under review included tough away tours to both England and Australia, the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka as well as the home series against New Zealand and Pakistan.
When it comes to honouring the individual players at CSA’s official awards ceremony in the middle of the year, the judges are going to have some task on their hands, particularly in selecting the SA Cricketer of the Year and the Sunfoil Test Cricketer of the Year.
Team highlights included:
- Winning away Test series 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
- Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers achieving a world best third wicket ODI partnership record of 238 against Pakistan
- Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis sharing the sixth highest third wicket Test partnership of 377* against England – the highest ever for that wicket against England
- Winning the Lord’s Test for the fourth time since re-admission to extend their unbeaten record at this venue
- Dismissing both New Zealand (45) and Pakistan (49) for sub-50 Test match totals. New Zealand’s innings (19.2 overs) was the 12th shortest of all time
Individual highlights included:
- Graeme Smith becoming the first player to captain his country 100 times and to achieve 50 Test match victories
- Hashim Amla making South Africa’s first Test treble century. He scored two centuries in both the away series against England and Australia and is currently ranked No. 1 Test batsman and joint No. 1 ODI Test batsman. His innings of 196 against Australia at Perth was the highest for South Africa against that opponent since unity.
- Dale Steyn becoming the joint third quickest bowler to reach 300 wickets. He remained world No. 1 for the fifth year and returned a remarkable 6/8 to dismiss Pakistan for 49 at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium
- Vernon Philander becoming the world No. 2 ranked bowler and, as far as can be established taking the quickest ‘fifer’ from the start of a Test match when his 5/9 was pivotal in dismissing New Zealand for 45 at Sahara Park Newlands. He also emerged as a quality bowling all-rounder to move up to No. 4 in this category on the ICC rankings
- AB de Villiers excelling with the bat to move up to joint No. 1 in the ODI rankings and No. 2 in the Test rankings. He made the Proteas only two Test centuries of the summer 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 Bidvest Wanderers Stadium was a unique performance in the history of both first-class and Test match cricket.
- Jacques Kallis scoring centuries against both 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 12 wickets short of the 300 mark.
- Kyle Abbott’s Test debut figures of 7/29 were the ninth best of all time and the second best for South Africa
- Ryan McLaren is the leading ODI wicket-taker in the current calendar year
- Faf du Plessis bats 7 hours and 44 minutes for an unbeaten maiden century on debut to save the Test match against Australia at Adelaide. He goes on to score another century in his fourth Test match against New Zealand to equal the international career start of Graeme Pollock
- Alviro Petersen plays an innings of similar longevity when he bats for 9 hours to make a career best 182 against England at Headingley in spite of being hampered by injury for a large part of it