Compared to the efforts of his team-mates, Janneman Malan’s exploits on the South Africa U19 tour of England in August might have them considering erecting a statue in his honour at Waterkloof High School in Pretoria.
Malan was the only obvious success story to come out of a tour in which the SA U19s failed to win a game. The strong performance of the first four-day youth test, which was drawn, gradually gave way to a series of disappointing performances, especially by the batsmen.
Malan, however, batted superbly, passing 50 in six successive matches on tour, before being run out for 3 in the final ODI.
The optimism of the first two days of the series, when South Africa scored 433 in the first youth test at Fenners, Cambridge, thanks to Grant Roelofsen’s 149, and then reduced England to 199 for six, was in stark contrast to the end of the tour, with Lawrence Mahatlane’s new-look team suffering a 5-0 whitewash in the limited-overs games.
The determination of the English lower-order saw them save the first test and the frailties of the South African batting line-up then became apparent in the second test as they were bundled out for just 77 in their first innings in Northampton.
But with Hanco Olivier showing his mettle in batting for five hours in scoring 79 not out and Malan making 55 in three hours, South Africa were able to save the game and draw the test series as the fourth and final day was entirely washed out.
Malan, who scored 83 in the second innings of the first test, continued his brilliant run by making 56, 76, 52 and 51 in the first four ODIs, but his efforts were in vain as England took the spoils every time.
Keith Dudgeon sparked a late comeback by taking five wickets in the first ODI at Edgbaston, but South Africa had only posted an insufficient 227 and lost by two wickets with four balls to spare.
It was the closest match of the series as South Africa’s junior internationals were given the mother and father of hidings thereafter, twice in Nottingham and once each in Leicester and Derby.
The hosts won the toss in all five ODIs and certainly made it count, opening batsman Haseeb Hameed starting the series with two scores of 97 and then making 125 in the decisive third ODI; while number three Tom Alsop made a century in the second game and 57 in the third.
Pacemen Luke Wood, Josh Shaw and Will Rhodes were a handful for the SA U19 batsmen throughout the tour.