South Africa have won two Test series in this calendar year    Getty Images
South Africa celebrate post series victory along with birthday boy Kepler Wessels Getty Images

South Africa embarked on their journey of a three-match Test series against Australia away from home post their humiliation against India in 2015; their first away series loss innine years. That series triggered the downfall of South Africa: series defeat against England, being wiped off early in the ICC World T20 2016 and finding no luck to reach to the final stage of the tri-series against West Indies and Australia. Some off-field refurbishes provided maiden captaincy opportunity to Faf du Plessis. New captain and new journey it was for the Proteas. What followed was a series win against New Zealand at home and now against Australia. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test at Adelaide

After whitewashing their competitors in five-match One-Day International (ODI) series, we saw a new and attractive South African side enter the southern land with an aim to claim first-ever whitewash against Australia. But the tables turned. A wounded Australian side, post humiliating whitewash against Sri Lanka, repaired the damages to turn around their fortunes. It was indeed a fairytale end to this rather dramatic series. South Africa might have taken the lead with 2-0, but Australia had the last laugh.

From the Protea camp, we saw some new faces besides some old ones, power-packed performances and some who failed to impress the Adelaide spectators. Shruti Hariharan presents to you the report card for the Proteas in the three-Test series:

Quinton de Kock (8/10): Four centuries in a calendar year: twice in Tests, once in an ODI and the other in IPL; tally of 281 runs and strike rate of 72.72 in the current series is enough to keep him at the top of the charts. Bundling out Australia for 85 at Hobart, it was all zeroed down to South Africa. When the entire team was almost wiped offfor single digits, it was De Kock s century that held Proteas ahead in the league. Results: an innings and 80 runs victory.

Temba Bavuma (7/10): A thumping 104* against England at Cape Town earier this year and scores of 51, 8, 74, 8, 21 with surprising bowling skills along with a wicket, make him a strong contender at No. 2. Apart from being the first black African batsman picked in the South African Test squad, his game of finesse and patience has taken him to a different level.

He might be mocked for various reasons, but his bowling surely left every cricket expert spellbound.

Vernon Philander (7/10): This powerful all-rounder who tasted successearly in his career , securing 50 Test wickets in only seven matches, proved why he remains vital for South Africa in the lower-order. Philander was rightly rewarded the Man of the Series award, ending the Australia series with score of 126 at strike rate of 44.97 and claiming 12 wickets.

Faf du Plessis (6.5/10): From leading the ship as the captain, achieving back-to-back Test series wins, to rolling the lollies, to giving a fitting reply with his defiant century at his favourite venue shows why he is a man of substance. Du Plessis, who successfully took over the responsibility of captaincy from AB de Villiers, was the centre of attraction by the end of the series.

He scored a hundredat Adelaide and boom, he left a mark that can never be forgotten by many. That instant reaction of declaring the innings with a wicket to spare, which left many astonished, earns him that extra brownie point.

Stephen Cook (6/10): Beginning your Test career with a century against confident England at home and ending the year with a resounding century against Australia says it all. It demonstrates the perfect opener that South Africa need in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. He might have taken 240 deliveries to reach to the second century of his Test career and first against Australia, but his resilience is what was needed at Adelaide.

He ended up scoring 140 runs in total at strike rate of 43.33 and answered all the answers to his recent poor run in Test cricket.

Keshav Maharaj (6/10): Beginning your debut with a boundary to Josh Hazlewood and then playing a cross-batted sweep to Mitchell Starc is not normal by any stretch of imagination. It does not stop there. He silenced WACA with back-to-back sixes off Nathan Lyon, leaving the hosts as mere spectators.

Maharaj s 3 for 56 and 4 wickets in the match and 41 not out promise a lot for the future.

Dean Elgar (5.5/10): Elgar began with a thumping fifth Test century and thenthe graph stooped down, leaving South Africa tottering at Adelaide. He ended with scores of 161 with his score of 127 being the only defining moment for the opening batsman . He also was provided opportunity to bowl at Adelaide, ending his spells with decent economy rate of 5.50. His best bowling figures remain 4 for 22 against India in India last year. Complete package he is.

Kagiso Rabada (5/10): Rabada might have received cheeky comments from his captain, but brushing them aside, he went upwardsin ICC Test rankings with his 5-wicket haul at WACA and 4 for 34 at Hobart. He carried his excellence with the ball until the second Test but was unable to do much at Adelaide.

Kyle Abbott (5/10): Dale Steyn s absence was boon for the right-arm seamer. He was spot-on with his 6-wicket haul, leaving Australia reeling at 161. He also stitched a beneficial partnership with de Plessis of 54 runs that helped South Africa put 259 runs on board in the first innings of the final Test at Adelaide. He ended the series with 13 wickets, maintaining an economy rate of 2.58.

JP Duminy (4/10): Rarely do you find any batsman who began his Test career against the same team at the same venue start the series on a flying note and end it on a low note. He was the driving force at WACA with his knock of 141 but ended the series with scores of 5 and 26. Duminy had no luck with ball claiming just a wicket by the end of the series.

Tabraiz Shamsi (3/10): Shamsi might have been lucky under the captaincy of Virat Kohli in IPL, but at Adelaide he did not find the right rhythm. He did add vital 39 runs with du Plessis in the first innings being the last batsman to enter. However, claiming just 2 wickets and score of 18 runs was just not enough to keep him at the top of the report card.

Hashim Amla (3/10): The Amla we saw in this series was not the one the cricket experts saw against England. He started off the year resigning as the captain of the Test side.. Scores of 0, 1, 45, 5 and 47 can be horrifying for a classy batsman like Amla. Sloppy fielding also kept him lower down the order in the report card. However, his competition with Hazlewood grabbed the eyeballs of many during this series.

Dale Steyn (2/10): It was a moment all the cricket experts were waiting for. Steyn coming back into the Test arena after 2015 saw him claiming success at home against New Zealand. He bagged 10 wickets, leading to his side s series victory against the visitors. But once again injury struck Steyn and left a question to be answered ; was this the end of Steyn?

But his confirmation of returning back after 6 months post injury was music to the ears for all cricket Lovers.

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)