South Africa Wins Series and Vernon Philander Named Best Player

Australia may have clinched a seven-wicket win over the Proteas in the third Test match at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday, but South Africa leaves victorious, having won the Series 2-1.

Proteas celebrate after Vernon Philander got a wicket. Source:
Proteas celebrate after Vernon Philander got a wicket. Source:

South Africa’s Vernon Philander was named Player of the Series. Usman Khawaja was named Man of the Match for his first innings century.

Philander restored his ranking as one of the best all-rounders in current Test match cricket, averaging 27 with the bat and 23 with the ball.

Stephen Cook managed to delay the Australian victory with his second career century at this level (104 off 240 balls, 8 fours) before he was the last man out, thus narrowly missing out on the honour of becoming the seventh South African opening batsman to carry his bat.

In the final analysis Australia’s greater experience in using the pink ball, particularly in the bowling department, proved to be decisive. They produced four of the five biggest partnerships in the match, including the only one of more than 100, and that was also a significant factor.

The Proteas will nevertheless look back on an excellent series in which they dominated the first two matches and didn’t give the Australians much of a look-in. This was a real team performance with five of the seven specialist batsmen scoring centuries in the series and the three frontline seamers all having excellent returns.

This effectively negated the absence of AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn plus the loss of form of Hashim Amla.

The Proteas can take particular confidence from the form of some of the youngsters who had never played a Test in Australia before such as Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, who must have pushed Philander hard for man of the series, and Kagiso Rabada.

There has also been a good investment in the spin bowling opportunities given to Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, the two new caps in the squad.