The recent series between India and South Africa was one of the most closely fought contests of our times and Ganesh Venkat of CricketWeb rates both the teams
Sachin Tendulkar - 326 runs @ 81.50 - 9/10
What more is left to accomplish for this man and what more needs to be said about him?Scored his 50th and 51st tons during the series and was one of the crucial factors for India to draw the third and final Test with his brilliant 147 and his dogged 14* in the second innings. Although he missed out in Durban he would fondly remember this series for his half-century of centuries.
Gautam Gambhir - 242 runs @ 60.50 - 8/10
Looked terribly susceptible to the short ball at Centurion during the first dig, However bravely overcame that and played a great hand in the second innings and two gritty knocks in Cape Town after missing the Durban Test owing to a hand injury. Finished up with three fifties, But still needs to work on his technique when dealing with short-pitched bowling, This series was a good start for him in that regard and hope he continues to improve.
V.V.S Laxman - 196 runs @ 39.20 - 8/10
A modest average of 39.60 does not tell the whole story. He was the chief-architect of the series leveling win at Durban with a superb 96 in the second innings and one of the few Indian batsmen who looked comfortable against the scorching pace of Dale Steyn. Along with Tendulkar he helped India secure a draw with his 29* at Cape Town and was his usual sublime self during that 96 and 38 in the second Test. Was extremely unfortunate not to get a 100 at Durban.
M.S.Dhoni - 179 Runs @ 35.80 with 13 catches - 7/10
Hardly noticed behind the stumps, Dhoni Played some crucial knocks during the series, His 90 in the second innings of the first Test lent some respectability to the Indian total and chipped in with useful knocks throughout the series. His catching was exemplary, However his captaincy was at best defensive. Needs to be more assertive and aggressive with his captaincy if he wants to win some Test series' overseas. Incidentally with a draw in this series he is still clinging on to the record of not having lost a Test series as captain.
Virendar Sehwag - 144 @ 24.00 - 5/10
Apart from his swashbuckling 63 in the second innings at centurion, he was absent throughout the series, Playing his natural game is one thing and chasing after wide balls is altogether a different approach, he was completely out of touch, lacked any idea and was a pale shadow of a batsman who had destroyed attacks. Needs to be more measured in his aggressive approach and should focus on staying free from niggles which will enable him to bowl more often. He is a better bowler than he and his skipper think.
Rahul Dravid - 120 @ 20.00 - 4/10
By any standards, this series was a big letdown for "The Wall", A great performer for India overseas, he was a total failure in this series and got out after getting 20's and 30's . The time is fast running out for him with the likes of Virat Kohli and C.A. Pujara breathing down his neck. It remains to be seen how long will the Indian selectors give him time or whether he will call it a day. The only bright spot for him this series was him crossing 12,000 runs and taking a blinder at slip to get to 200 catches.
Harbhajan Singh - 15 Wickets @ 29.60 - 7/10
He silenced his critics with some outstanding returns, Grabbed a 7fer in the final Test and provided some crucial breakthroughs in the Second Test that India won. With the bat he was feisty, flamboyant and put on a crucial stand with Tendulkar at Capetown to save India from a mini-collapse. This series should have provided him some much needed confidence ahead of the World Cup and the deluge of overseas tours that await India next year.
Zaheer Khan - 10 Wickets at 24.60 - 8/10
He missed the opening Test and the Indian attack looked extremely toothless, He came in for the second Test and suddenly there was a spring in the step of the Indian attack. Bowled outstandingly well at Durban to blow away South Africa for 131 and had the wood on the South African captain Graeme Smith causing him a lot of trouble and dismissing him two times. Along with Laxman he helped India secure the share of the spoils. As a leader of the attack he should have bowled a little bit more aggressively when India had South Africa on the mat at 130/6 in Cape Town. Need to be more match fit and focus on staying out of Injury.
M.Vijay - 28 @ 14.00 - 3/10
Filled in for Gambhir at Durban and extended his winning streak in Test matches played. He did well to blunt the new ball, But needs lot of work on his technique if he is nursing hopes of playing Tests for India on a regular basis.
C. Pujara - 31 @ 10.33 - 4/10
For a debutant he looked the deal at Durban and got some unplayable deliveries from Steyn, There is no doubt that he is the one for the future, he displayed some great technique and with experience he could evolve in to some one who can fill the void by Dravid, when he retires eventually. His catching was out of the world and took a total of six catches.
Ishat Sharma - 7 Wickets @ 48.14 - 5/10
Two words describe his performance - "Consistently Inconsistent". He could not produce the consistency that SreeSanth and Zaheer Displayed, Although he proved to be an ideal foil for Zak and Sree at Durban and got some vital scalps. He tries too many things and needs to learn to bowl in one area and work on a plan and he definitely needs to get a hair cut too.
S.K.Raina - 6 Runs @ 3.00 - 2/10
Played a grand total of 16 balls in two innings and appeared clueless during both his innings. Does not inspire any confidence at the Test level and it remains to be seen if he can be part of India's Test future unless he can improve his ability to handle himself well on bouncy tracks.
S.SreeSanth - 9 wickets @ 41.77 - 6/10
Blew hot and cold and finished up with a 5fer at Capetown and bowled a snorter of a delivery to dismiss Jacques Kallis during the second Test. Consistently troubled the South African batsmen with his swing and reaped rewards for that, If only he can get his head right and concentrate just on his bowling he could lead India's seam bowling attack for the future.
Jaidev Unadkat - No wickets and No rating
Not being too harsh on the youngster, But he does not look Test material. No pace and hardly was effective with the new ball at Centurion. Needs to build his body and play more domestic cricket before he can play anymore international cricket.
South Africa Ratings
Jacques Kallis - 498 runs @ 166.00 - 9/10
He was The rock, for he was virtually immovable. In five Innings he was dismissed by the Indian bowlers only twice, once to a peach from SreeSanth and the other time when he was going for some extra runs. Got his first double hundred at Centurion and helped South Africa thump India, Tormented the Indians in the third Test with his twin hundreds, bowled a penetrative line whenever given the opportunity with the ball and was greatly missed by Graeme Smith when he could not bowl during the third Test. He has carved his name in history with his impeccable record and it would not be an exaggeration to say he is probably as good if not a greater all rounder than Sir Gary Sobers the game has ever seen.
Hashim Amla - 250 Runs @ 50.00 - 8/10
Serene, sublime, cool, composed - I run out of adjectives to describe how he played. Along with Dale Steyn and Kallis, He was part of the trio that South Africa was heavily dependent on hugely in this series. He setup a massive win at Centurion when he scored 140 in a partnership of 230 With Kallis, he failed in the second Test and played a sweet knock in the final Test. It's certain he has come off age and looks to be a great find for the South Africans. His close in fielding was exceptional too.
Ashwell Prince - 121 runs @ 40.33 - 4/10
Not some one you would spend your money to watch, But he did scratch around and made some reasonable contributions, However both his knocks came in a losing cause for South Africa at Durban and failed at Cape Town in both the innings, when he could have made the difference. With J.P Duminy waiting in the wings he needs to focus on getting some runs or else he could find himself out of the team sooner rather than later.
A.B. DeVilliers - 201 runs @ 40.20 - 6/10
Apart from his 129 on a flat deck at Centurion he managed 71 in four innings and looked out of depth when facing some top quality swing bowling from Sreesanth and Zaheer. Need to curb his natural instinct to play the drive for balls that leave him and needs to be patient when the bowling is tough. There is no doubt that he has the talent but needs to prove that he can be much better than what he did in this series.
Alviro Petersen - 170 runs @ 34.00 - 5/10
Looked solid, if not spectacular, but failed to kick on after getting some good starts. His 77 at centurion showed that he has some crisp shots in his repertoire and with more international games he will grow in confidence. It looks as though he will represent the Proteas for a long time as their opener. However needs to show some consistency and needs to be more picky with his shot selection.
Graeme Smith - 143 @ 28.60 - 4/10
Scored 62 when Zaheer was absent from the attack and as soon as he came on, he struggled and struggled big time both against Zaheer and Bhajji. His problems against left-handers is very well known, but he has not seemed to have done any work to improve that area of his game. His leadership was at the very least uninspiring, especially during the third Test where he let South Africa bat on for too long in the second innings. Even in the first Test he let his team bat on and on with the threat of rain looming.
Mark Boucher - 72 @ 24.00 - 6/10 with 15 catches
Superb behind the stumps and caught everything that came his way, nevertheless his batting was a big letdown although he played one of the most crucial knocks of his career during the second innings of the third Test to bail South Africa out of trouble in the second innings which saved the game for them. Apart from his 55 , he generally struggled with the bat. Needs to contribute more with the bat if he wants to hang on to the Test team for some more time.
Morne Morkel - 15 Wickets @ 24.06 - 8/10
The ideal partner for Dale Steyn, His 5fer Was instrumental in setting up the South African victory along with Steyn in the first Test. With his height, accuracy and bounce he had the Indian batsman hopping on occasions. Not as devastating as his bowling partner he does tend to lose steam after a couple of hostile spells. Nevertheless one of the success stories for South Africa in the series and even wielded the long handle to good effect low down the order
Dale Steyn - 21 Wickets @ 17.47 - 9/10
Easily the best bowler from both sides and was virtually unplayable during some of his spells. Probably bowled one of those spells from hell during the Third Test and finished with a 5fer in the first innings. Had the number of most of the Indian batsmen. His accuracy combined with his lethal pace and his unrelenting energy during anytime of the day was a sight to watch and if he can stay injury free, it won't be long before he joins the long list of all time great fast bowlers.
Lonwaba TsotSobe - 7 Wickets @ 48.85 - 5/10
His figures suggest that he had an ordinary series, but there were almost half-a-dozen catches dropped of his bowling, He had the distinction of dismissing
Dravid, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Laxman in this series. With his nagging line and his angle he seems to be a good prospect for South Africa, However he still has a long way to go as an international cricketer.
Paul Harris - 4 wickets @ 64.25 - 2/10
Utterly disappointed with the ball, he failed to cause any sort of trouble to the Indian batsmen, both at Centurion and on the last day at Cape Town. Even in Durban he did not have the penetration and was completely lacking. Wheeled away for 112 overs for just four wickets in the three Tests. with Johan Botha proving to be a better option in the limited games he has played, It would be a surprise if Harris retains his place in the Test side for the next series.