England completed a clean sweep of series wins as they defeated South Arica 3-1 in the Test series after clinching the ODI and T20 series 2-1. In the final Test, Jonny Bairstow’s 99, assisted by Joe Root’s 52 and Ben Stokes’s 58 helped England to 362 in the first innings. In reply, South Africa could pile up only 226, thanks to James Anderson and Stuart Broad who picked up four and three wickets respectively.
In the second innings, Morne Morkel’s four-wicket spell and Duanne Olivier’s three-wicket spell restricted England to only 243, thus giving South Africa a target of 380 to chase in order to level the Test series.
After losing both openers and Temba Bavuma early, Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis added 123 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was dismissed for a well-made 83. Amla’s dismissal was the turning point of the match as wickets kept tumbling down for the visitors courtesy of Moeen Ali who went on to take 5 wickets.
South Africa lost their final six wickets for only 39 runs and were dismissed for 202, thus giving England a 177-run win and the series.
South Africa’s performances have been quite underwhelming during the series and there were quite a few players who disappointed.
#5. Chris Morris
The all-rounder was chosen to play in the second Test at Trent Bridge as the replacement for Theunis de Bruyn who disappointed in the first Test at Lord’s. He came in to bat at No.8 during both innings and scored 36 in the first innings which was followed by only 13 in the second innings.
However, he was decent with the ball, picking up five wickets throughout the match.
Morris played the third Test at the Oval but his performance was quite underwhelming. The 30-year old was very expensive with the ball, going for 91 runs from his 17 overs in the first innings, followed by a wicket-taking but a more expensive spell of 2/70 from 11 overs in the second innings.
Morris’s performance with the bat was poor as he scored only two in the first innings and piled up just 24 in the second. Morris was not selected to play in the fourth Test as De Bruyn got his place back.
#4. Quinton de Kock
Tipped to be the future of South African cricket, De Kock’s performances with the bat were quite inconsistent this series. The 25-year old scored 185 runs from 8 innings at an average of only 23.13 and if you take out his two fifties from the equation, then he averages only 11 from 6 innings.
Judging from his performances, De Kock has not been able to build up a long innings and spend more time in the middle. Coming in at No.4, his responsibility is to stay on the crease for a while and build up long partnerships with other middle-order batsmen. However, he failed to fulfil the expectations.
#3. Faf du Plessis
The South African skipper missed the first Test at Lord’s but returned for the second Test at Trent Bridge. After scoring only 19 in the first innings, Du Plessis scored 63 in the second innings as South Africa won the match.
However, the skipper’s performance in the third Test was disastrous as he scored only one run in the first innings as South Africa were cleaned out for just 175. With South Africa losing Kuhn and Amla early in the second innings while chasing a target of 492, Du Plessis needed to support Dean Elgar but he departed for a duck.
In the final Test, Faf scored 27 from 39 deliveries in the first innings and played well in the second innings, scoring 61. However, his partners could not assist him well after Hashim Amla’s dismissal and South Africa were dismissed for 202.
Faf Du Plessis’ performances have been quite inconsistent and like De Kock, he will have to play with a lot more composure so that he can play long innings.
#2. Theunis de Bruyn
Despite having a disappointing Test debut, Theunis de Bruyn was included in the squad to tour England and played the first Test at Lord’s before being replaced by Morris. The 24-year old all-rounder bowled only five overs during the first innings, conceding 30 runs. He batted well in the first innings, scoring 48.
However, he was disastrous during the second innings, scoring just one as South Africa were skittled out for 119, thus losing the match. De Bruyn was not chosen in the playing XI for the next two Tests.
However, Morris disappointed during the third Test and De Bruyn found his place back in the playing XI for the final Test. However, he disappointed once again as he scored just 11 in the first innings followed by a duck in the second innings. De Bruyn’s performances in this series have been pretty disappointing as he averaged only 15 with the bat and went wicketless with the ball.
His place in the team is already at stake and if he underperforms like this, he will definitely be dropped from the Test side.
#1. Heino Kuhn
33-year old Heino Kuhn was selected in the South African Test squad for the very first time and made his debut in the first Test at Lord’s. However, he was disastrous with the bat as he scored one and nine in the first and second innings respectively while opening.
Nevertheless, the opener was chosen to play in the second Test and scored 34 in the first innings which would be his highest score in the entire series. He scored eight in the second innings, thus underperforming in another Test. Despite having another opening option in Aiden Markram, the keeper-batsman was given more chances but he kept on disappointing as he went on to score 15, 11, 24, and 11 in the next four innings.
Kuhn has undoubtedly been South Africa’s most inconsistent player this series and since South Africa have quite a few options to replace him, he might have done the damage already.