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South Africa vs Bangladesh 2017: Five positives for South Africa from the series

1st Test: South Africa v India, Day 5
Faf du Plessis
S Sam

Following South Africa's disappointing tour of England, the team needed a bit of a lift in their home series against Bangladesh. Needless to say, South Africa were expected to win the series comfortably, but they needed to send a message of sorts by beating Bangladesh comprehensively and they did just that in the Test and ODI series.

The crushing victories in the two Tests and three one-dayers so far were brought about by the collective excellence of the team and the return to form of some of the key personnel. Let's take a look at 5 of the biggest positives for South Africa from this series in terms of individual achievements.

#5 Faf du Plessis comes out of a slump

South African captain Faf du Plessis is a rock in the team's middle order in both Tests and one-day internationals. However, his recent poor form was one of the factors behind the team's dismal show in England. He played in 3 out of the 4 Tests and averaged 28.50, with 2 fifties to his name (highest 63). Even Vernon Philander scored more runs (177) than du Plessis (171) in the Test series.

In the ODI series, he scored 67 in one of the innings but could only muster 21 runs in total in the other two. So, the series against Bangladesh was an important one for him and he needed to get back to form.

In the Tests, he batted thrice and scored 242 runs in total, with one century and one fifty. In the ODI series, du Plessis batted twice and although he did register a duck in one of the games, he also scored an unbeaten 91. It seems he is back in form and this is definitely a big positive for South Africa.

#4 Kagiso Rabada proves his worth yet again

South Africa v Bangladesh - Day 2
Kagiso Rabada

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that 22-year-old fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is among the best bowlers in the world at the moment. He has only been in international cricket for two years, however, due to Dale Steyn's persistent injuries, Rabada has had to step in and he has done an admirable job.

In the series against Bangladesh, he further consolidated his position as South Africa's pace spearhead. In the Test series, Bangladesh had no answer to his pace as he topped the bowling charts with 15 wickets in two Tests at an average of only 12. No other South African bowler came close.

In the one-dayers, he ended up as the 2nd highest wicket-taker with six wickets, an economy rate of 4.29 and average of 23.20.

#3 Hashim Amla's return to form

South Africa v West Indies - 1st Test
Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla is one of the key batsmen in the South African batting line-up in both Tests and one-day internationals, however, the tour of England was a chastening experience for him. By his own high standards, he struggled in the four Tests and although he averaged a shade over 41, he could not score a century.

The series against Bangladesh was, therefore, an important one for him and Amla responded in style, as he notched up two centuries in the Test series at an average of 99 to kick off the home season.

In the one-dayers, he scored a century and a half-century in the two games that he batted. The return to form of one of their best batsmen is, no doubt, a huge positive for the side.

#2 Return of AB de Villiers

South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
AB de Villiers

Over the past year or so, the availability of South Africa's best batsman AB de Villiers has been a constant headache for the team management and the board. Exhaustion has often been cited as the reason for his absence from the side, leaving many wondering whether he would ever be a regular for South Africa again. He did not play the Test series against Bangladesh but returned in the one-day series and immediately proved that he is in as good touch as he has ever been.

In the first game, he did not get to bat, but in the second game, AB showed that he had never truly been away from the game as he hammered 176 off 115 balls to take South Africa to 353. De Villiers hit 15 fours and 7 sixes in that innings. His return to the side is perhaps one of the biggest positives for South Africa from this series.

#1 Emergence of Aiden Markram

South Africa v Bangladesh - Day 1
Aiden Markram

The man who led South Africa to the U-19 World Cup title in 2014, Aiden Markram is one of the brightest prospects in the country and when he was handed his debut in the series against Bangladesh, he did not disappoint.

Markram started off his Test career with a 97 on debut, in the 1st Test at Potchefstroom, and followed it up with a superb 143 in the next Test. The superb start to his Test career is a huge positive for South Africa from this series and considering the fact that he is still only 23 years old, they will hope that he can become one of their batting mainstays in the near future.

Edited by Arvind Sriram

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