PLAYS OF THE MATCH
QUINTON DE KOCK – Playing in a way that his captain said afterwards very few players can play. That first innings of 95 was a thunderous counter-attack, that gave South Africa a foothold. The bowlers then turned it into a proper advantage. There has been a lot of debate about where De Kock should bat. Hopefully this innings settles it. He is at his best and South Africa get the best of him when he bats at 6 or 7, not 1,2,3, or 4. South Africa should produce batsmen who can play and make runs in those positions.
KAGISO RABADA – He bowled 39 overs in the match – another big workload. Unlike earlier in the year when he looked flat, this was a re-energised Rabada. He was outstanding every time Du Plessis called on him to bowl. His pace was up, his lines were accurate, he was physically intimidating and looked motivated for the contest. Lets hope, Rabada is indeed back and we see more of this for the remaining three Tests.
NIGHTWATCHMAN – It’s always a contentious debate; to use or not use? South Africa moved their no.11 up to no.6 in the order with 20 minutes to play on day two. From the groans in the Grandstand it was clear that wasn’t a popular decision. Nortje survived those 20 minutes, and then 100 minutes more the next morning. He scored 40, shared a partnership of 91 for the fifth wicket with Rassie van der Dussen. Nortje performed his primary role pretty well too, claiming five wickets. It won’t end debates about nightwatchmen, but in this game it worked.
QUOTE – “There is a lot more confidence in the structures from the top. There were plans in place before, but right now I feel there are better plans. We’ve got the right people in the right jobs, the right people at the top in Cricket SA, which is really important. Leadership always comes from the top and filters down. Starting that, set the tone for how we played. You have to put those things in place, for the things underneath to work in your favour. Now we can trust the system a little bit more and focus on playing cricket.” – Faf du Plessis about the changes in CSA and the affect on the South African team.