Ben Stokes – 9.5
411 runs @ 58.71; 12 wickets at 29.16
This was Stokes’ series. He took the attack to the South Africans when England were on the back foot and this counter attacking style often caught South Africa off guard. More than handy with the ball as he can swing it both ways and gets reverse as well- a real asset for England.
Steven Finn – 8.5
11 wickets @ 26.09
A persistent threat, Finn was relentless with his accurate bowling. Provided support to Broad from one end and was always threatening to pick up wickets, fulfilling the promise that was on show in his early years and has secured the third seamers position ahead of Mark Wood.
Joe Root – 8.5
386 runs @ 55.14
Keeps on improving with every passing series, Root scores his runs at a fair clip and his 100 in the third test on a tricky surface was one of his best innings. Root has made the no4 spot his own and is part of this quartet of young star batsmen Williamson, Smith, Root and Kohli.
Jonny Bairstow – 8
345 Runs @86.25. 19 Catches and 1 Stumping
Jonny with the bat is a completely different player to Jonny with the gloves. With the bat this Bairstow’s coming of age, he batted brilliantly in Cape Town for his 150*. He hasn’t been good enough behind the stumps, although England won the series the result could have been different had the South African batsmen capitalised on the errors made by Bairstow behind the stumps, as they did in the fourth test. A case can be made for him to stay in the team as a batsman only.
Nick Compton – 6
245 runs @ 30.62
Started the series off so well, dragging England out of a hole they had dug themselves in the first innings by doing what he does, blocking the ball. Compton offers Trott-esque stability at three and looked set to secure his spot in the side but for uncharacteristic shots in the next 3 matches. Poking at the ball outside off when his strength is to leave it means that Compton hasn’t cemented his spot in the side with the likes of Gary Ballance and James Vince looking to make way into the test squad.
James Taylor – 6
186 runs @ 26.57
Was terrific at short leg but underwhelmed with the bat, after a busy innings of 70 in the first test, Taylor hasn’t converted the starts into big scores and looked scratchy but he made his contributions in the field by taking 2 absolute stunners at Short leg.
Alistair Cook – 5.5
184 runs @ 23.00
Cook the batsman had a mediocre series by his standards. He failed to lay a foundation, losing his wicket playing down the legside a worrying number of times but we have seen enough of Cook to know that England’s leading run scorer will overcome this and get back to his regular run scoring. Cook the captain has had a better series, he set attacking fields and applied pressure on the South African batsmen.
Stuart Broad – 9
18 wickets@ 20.61
Taking on the mantle of the leader of the attack from Anderson, Broad has once again proved that when conditions are in his favour, there are few better worldwide. It was no surprise to see him inherit the title of number one test bowler.
Alex Hales – 3
136 runs @ 17.00
Hales’ shortcomings leaves England with the biggest question mark at the end of this series. After a haul of 17 tests in the season, England are yet to find an opening partner for Cook. The Hales experiment has failed and it is increasingly looking like England will revert back to Compton to open and bring Ballance in at three. The only way Hales’ gets an extended run is if Bayliss sticks to his wish of wanting more attacking players in the top order.
James Anderson – 6
Seven wickets @ 43.00
England’s spearhead was coming off an injury layoff and looked rusty initially but showed he still had it in the fourth test. Has dedicated the rest of his playing days to the test side which is commendable given all the bumper twenty-20 contracts being thrown around.
Moeen Ali – 6
116 runs @ 29.00, 10 wickets @ 48.50
Was man of the match in the first test taking seven wickets and scored a half century in the fourth test, was tidy in his bowling and scored a good half century at the Centurion.
Chris Woakes – 3
Bowled well in the first game but had nothing to show for it in the wickets column, strayed from his line in the fourth test and was punished for it by the South African batsmen. Isn’t the shoe in replacement for Anderson that England had hoped, this was his chance to make a claim for the third seamers position but he has squandered it
Gary Ballance – NA
Mark Footitt – NA
Dean Eglar – 8
284 runs at 47.33; 2 wickets at 56.00
Was the only South African batsman who held his own, Carrying the bat in the first test and resisting the English attack when his teammates fell around him, didn’t finish the series as strongly as he would have liked but has looked good throughout.
Hashim Amla – 7
470 runs at 67.14
A tale of two halves for Amla, while he was captain he couldn’t buy a run but midway through the second test he relinquished the captaincy to AB de Villiers after which Amla scored like only Amla does. Finished as the leading run scorer in the series.
AB de Villiers – 5
210 runs at 30.00
Was burdened with the gloves initially and even spoke about early retirement at the start of the series, ended the series as stand in captain with a view to becoming long term captain. De Villers’ series wasn’t about his batting but it was about everything else. South Africa need an in-form Ab De Villiers the batsman, the peripheral roles can wait.
Kagiso Rabada – 8.5
22 wickets at 21.90
The real bright spot for South Africa in this series, Rabada bowled with good pace and drew good fizz out of the pitch. Surprised batsmen with the short ball and was accurate. Only 20 years of age and the most potent threat England faced through the series as was on display with his 13 wickets at Centurion.
Faf du Plessis – 3
127 runs at 25.40
A horrid series for Faf as his lean patch continues from India. After being dropped in the last test he will have to fight his way back into a crowded middle order.
Temba Bavuma – 6
248 runs at 49.60
The first black batsman to score a century for South Africa, this was a momentous series for Temba Bavuma and the South African community. A fluent batsman who looks like he can bat anywhere in the order, scores his runs at a fair clip.
Chris Morris – 5
98 runs at 32.66; 4 wickets at 63.25
Bowled and batted well. Didn’t have too much to show for it in terms of wickets but his resilient batting may get him an extended run in the team at number eight.
Dane Pidet – 6
10 wickets at 45.50
Was tidy with his offspin and offered some variety to the South African attack.
van Zyl – 2
69 runs at 13.80; 3 wickets at 23.00
A natural number three who has scored tonnes of runs at the domestic level, Van Zyl struggled against the new ball in this series and like Faf saw his lean patch continue on from the tour of India.
Dale Steyn – 6
4 wickets at 20.00
At 32 Dale Steyn will have injuries given the way he bowls but South African are clearly over-dependent on him and it showed. Played only in the first test and bowled only 3.5 overs in the second innings, but when he bowled he showed that he is clearly the best bowler in the world.
Morne Morkel – 7.5
15 wickets at 29.73
Supposedly in the ‘red zone’ , Morkel has had to function as the leader of an inexperienced bowling attack in the absence of Dale Steyn. Although overworked, Morkel bowled well through the series and surprised the opposition with the short ball.
GC Viljoen – 3
1 wicket at 94.00
Took a wicket with his first ball in test cricket but not too much went his way after that.
JP Duminy – 3
73 runs at 24.33; 1 wicket at 28.00
Coming in at number 6, Duminy played carelessly and gave away his wicket. Should take up more responsibility and play longer innings.
Kyle Abbot – 3
2 wickets at 87.00
A forgettable series for Abbot who hasn’t looked like the same bowler who took 9 wickets in his debut test.
Quniton De Kock – 7
143 runs at 143.00; 11 catches
Made a brilliant century at Centurion, and was good behind the stumps. The specialist keeper that South Africa need so as not to burden de Villiers.
Dane Vilas – 4
34 runs at 17.00; 5 catches
Tidy behind the stumps, not as good a batsman as Quinton De Kock is. Was added to the squad after De Kock suffered a freak injury in the third test.
Stephen Cook – 7.5
140 runs at 70.00
A specialist opener, a spot South Africa have struggled since Graeme Smith retired. After scoring a brilliant century on debut, the 33 year old Stephen Cook offers stability at the top and SA will be hoping that he can be their Chris Rogers.bookmark me