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Proteas Player Ratings v England 3rd Test

21 January 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld Proteas player ratings: Maharaj the shining light Keshav Maharaj was South Africa’s shining light over five dark days of Test cricket in Port Elizabeth. The humiliating home defeat, by an innings and 53 runs, comes as a massive setback for a Proteas team looking to rebuild under new […]

Proteas Player Ratings v England 3rd Test

21 January 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld

Proteas player ratings: Maharaj the shining light

Keshav Maharaj was South Africa’s shining light over five dark days of Test cricket in Port Elizabeth.

The humiliating home defeat, by an innings and 53 runs, comes as a massive setback for a Proteas team looking to rebuild under new coach Mark Boucher. Barring rain, England were always going to get over the line on Monday, having the hosts dead to rights at 102 for six at the start of the final day. Maharaj and debutant Dane Paterson produced late fireworks before a run-out brought an end to their stand and the lopsided contest.

For England, it was the most emphatic of wins, one that saw them take control of the series, as they now head into the fourth and final Test, starting at the Wanderers on Friday, with an unassailable 2-1 lead. For the Proteas, it was a crushing technical knockout on a road of a pitch at St George’s Park.

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Proteas.

With England having declared at 499/9, it appeared as if the veteran opener would take the fight to the visitors in one of his vintage marathon innings. He hit six boundaries and looked more comfortable after ever blow only to become the first of Dom Best’s five victims for 35 runs. With the follow-on enforced, he was the first to go. In a massive moment in the context of the match and series, he was clean bowled by Mark Wood for 18, minutes after the rain delay.

Was unable to kick-on from his heroic 84 on debut at Newlands. Would be bitterly disappointed with the way he scooped the ball right back to Bess for 18 in the first innings, bringing a promising 50-run opening partnership to an end. Looked his usual composed and solid self in the second, lasting 115 minutes before being trapped lbw by England captain Joe Root for 12.

It’s safe to say that Hamza will make way for Temba Bavuma for the fourth and final Test. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old has been found wanting at the highest level, with England exposing technical flaws in his game. He managed 10 in the first innings and just 2 in the second and will have to go back to the drawing board.

It’s clear by his form, body language and attitude that the Proteas captain’s on his way out. He looked despondent and weary in the post-match interview, admitting that both he personally and his team are feeling the pressure and offered no words of encouragement losing skippers usually share. He also said it was “a possibility” that the next Test at the Wanderers could be his last at home. Since the start of the India series in October, he’s averaged 21.25 (255 runs in 12 innings) and went out cheaply (8 and 36) and in worrying ways again. Not giving Kagiso Rabada the new ball first up was a big mistake as well.

It hasn’t taken eagle-eyed England long to spot a chink in Van der Dussen’s armour, that being his approach to facing spin. He’s been caught in no man’s land far too often in this, his debut Test series, either not being far enough back or fully forward, and it cost him in both innings, first chopping it on off Bess for 24 and then falling to Root for 10 after a great catch by Ollie Pope.

De Kock is his own worst enemy and makes life unnecessarily difficult on his coaches and team. He has all the talent in the world, but like a certain teammate of his, he’s not learning from his mistakes. It’s tough to be overly critical of De Kock given the circumstances – he’s the Proteas’ top run-scorer of the series with 265 and top-scored in the first innings with 63. However, he threw his wicket away for the umpteenth time, poor shot selection seeing him being bowled (by Sam Curran) for the seventh time in 13 innings. His dismissal for 3, after a wild swing, with South Africa at 74/4 was just criminal. Sooner or later, he HAS to get his mental game up to his prodigious skillset.

While he’s excellent at tying up his end and frustrating batsmen to the point of them trying and failing to take on other bowlers, Philander has to pick up wickets of his own. The dead pitch diluted his potency, and he was restricted to just 16 overs (0/41). At least the all-rounder continued his solid contributions with the bat, chewing up 71 minutes for his 27 in the first innings and just over an hour for his 13 in the second.

Worked his socks off and showcased the fighting spirit most of his teammates lacked with ball and bat in a brilliant response to his poor performance in Cape Town. Was the spark, workhorse and undoubted star of the pitiful Proteas. The left-arm spinner bowled 58 overs in England’s lone innings – 58! – and was rewarded with a hard-earned five-for. With the result a foregone conclusion on Monday, Maharaj refused to roll over and thrilled with an excellent 71 off 106 balls. He played some brilliant shots in what he called an “expression session,” and claimed a share in an unlikely world record when he smashed 24 (three consecutive fours followed by back-to-back sixes) of the 28 runs from Root’s last over, condemning the England skipper to the most expensive over in Test history along with George Bailey and Robin Peterson.

Like De Kock, “KG” is a supernova who’s proven to be a slow learner. His celebration under Root’s nose after he’d bowled the England captain on the opening day – as a repeat offence – earned him a suspension for the final Test. The ban affected the rest of his performance; he was uncharacteristically loose, bowling four no balls and two wides, and he didn’t make a meaningful contribution with the bat.

Hit the pitch hard and bowled with aggression for his one wicket (1/97 in 25 overs) but the real story was his batting. He showed what a capable and focused batsman he is in his debut at Centurion and he underlined his status as new nightwatchman extraordinaire with a gallant effort for the ages in the first innings. He remained resolute for a full 189 minutes for his 18 runs. His 136-ball stand was the fifth longest-ever by a South African nightwatchman.

Putting the new ball in a debutant’s hand can do wonders for his confidence, but it can also cast doubt if it doesn’t have the desired effect of picking up early wickets. Unfortunately, the latter fate befell Paterson, despite his best efforts. He kept at it, though, and picked up his maiden Test wicket, the key scalp of Ben Stokes for 120. After failing to make further inroads with the ball (1/62 from 24 overs), he whacked 39 not out from 40 balls, including three fours in the penultimate over of the match in an entertaining 99-run last-wicket partnership with Maharaj.

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Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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