Graeme Smith – 8
The South African captain once again provided immense substance at the top of the order. His unorthodox strokeplay drove England to distraction and he was solid in trying conditions.
Alviro Petersen – 7
Starting to feel comfortable at international level; a solid series highlighted by his epic, stoic 182 at Headingley after missing out on the Oval run-fest.
Hashim Amla – 9
As reliable and elegant as always, his 311* at the Oval will be remembered forever. When his team were under pressure at Lord’s, he responded with another fine century.
Jacques Kallis – 7
Never failed to impress whether it was in scoring his wonderful, series-defining century at the Oval, making vital breakthroughs with the ball or taking superb catches in the slips.
AB de Villiers – 6
Three 40s suggest there may have been too much of a load on him being asked to keep wicket as well. Reliable with the gloves, but his focus is surely on scoring big hundreds.
Jacques Rudolph – 6
Although he has still not cemented himself at number six, his battling efforts at Headingley and Lord’s were crucial for victory.
JP Duminy – 7
Batted beautifully and with an air of assurance that he has not had for a while. Possibly moved himself ahead of Rudolph in the queue with his defiant efforts down the order.
Vernon Philander – 8
Starred with bat and ball at Lord’s after chipping in with a couple of wickets in each of the first two Tests. His unerring line and length did not bring as much reward as it could have … until Lord’s where he showed what all the fuss was about.
Dale Steyn – 8
Another whose efforts did not always bring the reward they deserved, but he showed his class at the Oval. The leader of the attack even if he didn’t take the new ball and tremendously skilful and fiery.
Morne Morkel – 7
England’s batsmen were kept on their toes when he hit his straps – his pace, bounce and aggression meant they were continually under pressure.
Imran Tahir – 5
Stopped some threatening England lower-order rallies with important wickets, but is still in the developmental stage of his international career. A lack of control at times arrested his ability to build pressure.
Highlights of the series
Kevin Pietersen – The only England batsmen capable of turning a dodgy position at Headingley into a situation where the hosts could be the only winners. The only person capable of sowing such discontent that his international career was seemingly over straight after that innings.
Vernon Philander’s dream day – Philander had an outstanding fourth day at Lord’s. He had been joint top-scorer with Duminy in the first innings and South Africa had been reduced to 282 for seven in their second innings, a lead of just 276, when he scored a crucial 35 to take the target well beyond 300. Philander then claimed two quick wickets to fatally undermine England’s chase.
Oval heroics – There have been many great batting line-ups that have taken on England, but in 924 Tests they had never conceded successive double-century partnerships until Kallis and Amla put on an unbeaten 377 for the third wicket, following the 259 for the second wicket between Smith and Amla. A pitch that had been seemingly flat was then transformed as Dale Steyn took three for eight after lunch on the final day to set up a crushing innings win.