The Castle Lager Proteas players have made significant strides up the ICC Reliance Test rankings despite the seven-wicket loss to Pakistan in the first Test match in Abu Dhabi. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers continue to dominate with the bat, and currently occupy the No.1 and No.2 positions of both the ICC Test and One-Day International (ODI) rankings.
De Villiers has achieved his career best position at No.2, after passing West Indies batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Vernon Philander has become the 21stbowler and third from South Africa after Shaun Pollock (909) and Dale Steyn (908) to reach the 900-point mark. Philander took five wickets in the Test and has so far taken 94 wickets in 17 Tests at an average of 17.33. The seamer is six wickets away, and with a match in hand, of breaking the South African record of the fastest to 100 Test wickets.
The Proteas' dominance at the top of the batting and bowling rankings is a show of the force the team has become on the world stage, and also disappointingly highlights the way the team's performance let them down in the recent Test match.
Preparation for the second match is already underway and star batsman, Amla says mental, rather than physical readiness, will be key for the next match.
Amla flew back to South Africa on Friday morning for the birth of his second child. His wife is expected to give birth soon. However, it remains unclear whether or not Amla will make it back in time for the second Test.
“We'll probably have a few net sessions, but the biggest change will be mental,, " Amla said prior to his departure. "We know where we went wrong and this team is without a doubt a fantastic team. We take a lot of pride from our performance and this has hurt, we set high standards for ourselves.
"We will go back and address where we have gone wrong, where we can improve and over the next few days a lot of hard work will be put into place in our training sessions and discussions," he said.
The Selectors will not add a player to the current squad in his absence.