Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

What makes South Africa the most dominant force in Test cricket

What makes South Africa the most dominant force in Test cricket

South Africa can well go on to dominate international cricket for a few years © Getty Images

By Meit Sampat

Test cricket is the ultimate format – something any cricketer, be it a debutant or one playing his 100th Test, will endorse. West Indies dominated this format in the 80s. The Australians were dominant in the 90s and a major part in the 2000s. India were the No 1 team for a year or so followed by England’s rule for a year. But there is a change of guard with South Africa on top of the heap.

Be it home or away, South Africa are the team to watch out for. Two major series victories last year took them to the top of the 2012 rankings. It’s not easy to beat England in England and Australia in Australia. But South Africa beat England 2-0 and Australia 1-0.

Graeme Smith can find a place in any team in the world. With youngsters like Alviro Petersen and Faf du Plessis joining the ranks, the batting seems to be in safe hands. The free-stroking AB de Villiers scored 33 in 246 minutes to save the Adelaide Test against Australia in November last year. In the same Test, debutant du Plessis batted 466 balls for 110 runs to save the same Test. It speaks volumes about the temperament of these players.

The South African bowling attack is the best in the world when it comes to the pace. Dale Steyn is the best fast bowler in contemporary cricket. He has 300 Test wickets in his kitty and with around four to five years of cricket ahead of him he could swell that tally to 500. History is replete with examples of fast bowlers hunting in pairs: Dennis Lillee-Jeff Thomson, Wasim Akram-Waqar Younis, Courtney Walsh-Curtly Ambrose and Allan Donald-Shaun Pollock to name a few. Steyn has support at the other end in the form of Morne Morkel, who makes it doubly potent. But if one goes back in time, the dominant sides of the past had in excess of three fast bowlers at their command – the West Indies had a four-pronged attack under Clive Lloyd while the Australian juggernaut under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting had Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. The present South African side has Vernon Philander to support Steyn and Morkel. Philander has eight five-for innings hauls in 13 Tests, in which he has captured 74 wickets.
 
The challenge ahead for South Africa is to retain the No 1 slot. Beating England in England, two series wins in Australia in 2008 and 2012, two drawn series against India is ample proof that they have it in them to dominate world cricket for years to come. They have not lost a Test series abroad in a long time. They did not lose a Test in 2012 and have started 2013 on a positive note by thrashing New Zealand.

Jacques Kallis is 37. He does not have too many years of cricket ahead of him, given his workload. All-rounder of Kallis’s quality is rare to find. South Africa have tried Paul Harris, Imran Tahir and now Robin Peterson, but have not found a high quality spinner yet. If they fine one, the bowling attack will perfect one.

Factoring a mix of exciting youth and brilliant experience, South Africa can well go on to dominate international cricket for a few years, especially with Gary Kirsten’s superb backroom support.
 
(Meit Sampat loves blogging and reading. His passion for cricket has got him invited as a guest on TV cricket shows)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014  at Dubai

Chennai Super Kings won by 7 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

IPL 2013: Chris Gayle’s monumental 175 against Pune Warriors India

Who else but Shakespeare on the World Book and Copyright Day?

IPL 2013: Shane Watson’s scintillating century against Chennai Super Kings goes in vain

John Small — The first man to use a straight bat

IPL 2014: Dwayne Bravo’s absence a major blow for Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab KXIP vs SRH KXIP vs SRH 2014 MS Dhoni Rajasthan Royals RR vs CSK 2014 Sanju Samson Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sachin Tendulkar turns 41, celebrating birthday away from cricket field

IPL 2014 set to break all records

Saleem Malik hits out at PCB for not reviewing his life ban

IPL 2014: Ravindra Jadeja says he enjoys bowling after Chennai’s win over Rajasthan

David Miller believes three consecutive wins in IPL 2014 ‘phenomenal’ for Kings XI Punjab

Sachin Tendulkar: Five forgotten gems

Sachin Tendulkar: A timeless fairytale

Sachin Tendulkar: Why he remains my favourite cricketer

Sachin Tendulkar: How he made me fall in love with cricket

Sachin Tendulkar: The child, the father, but sexy? Not quite

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Google Street View now lets users go back in time

Is Cameron Diaz planning holiday for Gwyneth Paltrow?

Apple Q2 2014 earnings: 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads sold

Sonakshi Sinha beats Akshay Kumar in basketball – Watch video!

Sachin Tendulkar turns 41, celebrating birthday away from cricket field

Sachin Tendulkar: Five forgotten gems

Also on cricketcountry.com