Kane Williamson is on the top for amassing 209 runs while Quinton de Kock gains high marks for scoring 210 runs, 13 catches and 2 stumpings in the series    AFP & Getty Images
Kane Williamson gains top marks from New Zealand for 309 runs while Quinton de Kock is on top for scoring 210 runs, 13 catches and 2 stumpings in the series AFP & Getty Images

New Zealand, who needed 5 wickets to win on the final day of the third Test, were unable to complete their summer season on a high. South Africa ended up with the last laugh, who began as No. 7 jumped to No. 2, toppling Australia in Test ranking. On the deciding Day Five of the first Test in Dunedin, rain played the role of party spoilers. Similarly, on Day Five of the final Test at Hamilton, rains washed out New Zealand s hopes of winning their last Test and equalling the series. The outcome benefited South Africa, as they clinched the series 1-0 after winning the Wellington Test.

Tottering at 94 for 6 then, South Africa added 265 runs to it, thanks to Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma s 160-run stand for seventh-wicket in the first innings. There were chances for Faf du Plessis and de Kock to repeat the same stance in final Test as they were 80 for 5 on the penultimate day, responding to New Zealand s 175-run lead. With this victory, South Africa have maintained their impressive record away from home, barring the India tour in 2015-16, for over 10 years. The series saw some exemplary performances and Let us take a look at how the players from both sides fared in this rain-affected series:

New Zealand s performance:

Kane Williamson (309 runs at 77.25 and 2 catches) 8.5/10:

Although it was not the end that Williamson was expecting for the long Test season, but it was nothing less than a dream series for the captain. Williamson showcased all-round performances with two centuries and a half-century, coupled with catches to get rid of Dean Elgar and Keshav Maharaj in the first innings and in the second, a splendid run-out in the final Test of debutant Theunis de Bruyn. In the process, he also found his name in the record books by breaking the record of Martin Crowe becoming the fastest and youngest to 5,000 Test runs off 110 innings for New Zealand. He also holds the record of scoring most centuries (17) along with Crowe.

Meanwhile, Williamson s use of DRS remained questionable.

Jeet Raval (256 runs at 64 and 1 catch) 8/10:

Raval has been a boon for New Zealand in this series, especially when his opening partner Tom Latham failing to provide any impetus in the first 2 Tests. With three half-centuries and bettering his own highest Test score in a space of two matches, Raval seems to have fixated a spot for himself in the side. He was equally athletic on the field grabbing Temba Bavuma in the first-innings of third and final Test.

Colin de Grandhomme (61 runs at 20.33, 6 wickets at 2.36 and 1 catch) 7/10:

Entering the three-Test series in the second Test, de Grandhomme did not get a perfect start. He claimed 3 wickets in Wellington and was dismissed for single digits, succumbing to the South African spinners. But he rose to the occasion in Hamilton where he not only brought up his maiden fifty, but took the New Zealand lead to 175. He also exploited the tailor-made conditions of Hamilton bagging three wickets. To make the final Test a memorable one, the Zimbabwe-born New Zealander also caught a crucial catch of Amla, leaving South Africa in trouble at 49 for 3 in their second-innings.

Neil Wagner (38 runs at 19, 12 wickets at 3.25 and 1 catch) 7/10:

With no Tim Southee and Trent Boult in the last two matches, Wagner was the spearhead. He not only rounded off the series with 11 wickets but also built the lead in the first innings of first Test scoring a crucial 32 that consisted of 5 fours and 2 sixes. Apart from multi-tasking with the bat and ball, Wagner showed his acrobatic skills at backward point in the first innings of Dunedin Test to dismiss de Kock for 10.

Trent Boult (2 runs at 2, 5 wickets at 2.05 and 1 catch) 7/10:

When Boult entered the series, he with a five-wicket haul. He swung the ball both ways and kept South Africa under toes. He equally showed his presence on-field by getting du Plessis at deep square-leg in first-innings at Dunedin. However, an unfortunate groin injury kept him away from the rest of first Test as well as series.

BJ Watling (137 runs at 34.25, 8 catches and 1 stumping) 6.5/10:

Watling started the series slamming 13th fifty of his Test career. He maintained his consistency with the bat and was efficient behind the stumps as well. He took 8 catches and was also part of the run-out between Amla and de Bruyn in the final Test, coordinating with the captain on time by dismantling the bails off swiftly. However, dropping Elgar twice in both the innings of first Test makes him lose spome points.

Tom Latham (74 runs at 18.50 and 2 catches) 6.5/10:

Being on top in the Bangladesh series with a century and a half-century, Latham was out of sorts at Dunedin and Wellington Test with scores below 10. However, Hamilton witnessed a rejuvenated Latham not only as batsmen but also as a fielder. He claimed his first Test fifty in series and also caught a blinder at short leg to take a catch of du Plessis off Mitchell Santner s first over. He was at his best with yet another classic catch when he got de Bruyn at the second slip, during South Africa s first-innings.

Matt Henry (12 runs at 12, 5 wickets at 3.22) 6/10:

Recalled in the absence of Boult and Southee, Henry was on the money. He ended with figures of 4 for 93 in the first innings. Henry partnered de Grandhomme well in the tail-end.

Jeetan Patel (38 runs at 12.66, 7 wickets at 2.60 and 1 catch) 6/10:

After an impressive beginning to the series with 5 wickets and 36 runs off the first 2 Tests, Patel was unable to grab wickets on turning track. He managed to add just 5 runs to the lead of 175 in the first innings. However, jolting South Africa with successive wickets in second innings gives Patel the extra brownie points.

Henry Nicholls (118 runs at 34.25 and 2 catches) 5/10:

Nicholls made complete use of the opportunity in the middle order in the absence of Ross Taylor in the last 2 Tests. He raised his maiden century in the first innings of Wellington Test and was the top-scorer then. He also grabbed two brilliant catches at short-midwicket. But he was not convincing enough with the bat in Dunedin and Wellington, losing out on few marks.

Mitchell Santner (41 runs at 22.50 and 2 wickets at 2.04) 4/10:

Santner, who scored just 4 runs and got a wicket, was dropped in the second Test. However, Santner defined his comeback with a gritty 41 runs in the final Test, building an 88-run stand with captain along with a thrilling wicket of du Plessis. However, he was kept out of action for 60 overs, given his shoulder niggle.

Tim Southee (27 runs at 15.50 and 3 wickets at 3.48) 4/10:

With just one game on hand and filling in for injured Boult, Southee was declared unfit for the final Test as well. Otherwise, he picked up 3 wickets and scored a rapid 40-ball 27.

James Neesham (15 runs at 8.66, 2 wickets at 4.47 and 4 catches) 3.5/10:

Being a hard-hitter in the limited-overs format, Neesham failed to create an impact in this series. He managed just a wicket and 7 runs in the first Test. In the second, he added 8 runs and grabbed a wicket. The only significant point for Neesham was his excellence on the field. At Dunedin, he got rid of Maharaj at midwicket, while at Wellington he took three catches.

Neil Broom (32 runs at 10.66) 2/10:

Broom would consider his Test debut as a rather forgettable event. Beginning with nought and then building 20 runs in the first Test, Broom was unable to bring his limited-overs experience to full use. The poor run continued, as he added 12 runs in the final Test. However, the only bright point for him will be his partnership with de Grandhomme in Hamilton to gain a vital lead.

Ross Taylor (15 runs and 1 catch) 1/10:

New Zealand missed their experienced player from the Wellington Test. He scored only 15 runs. He gets grace marks, as he caught Duminy at first slip and left South Africa in disarray.

Over to South Africa s performance…

Quinton de Kock (210 runs at 52.50, 13 catches and 2 stumpings) 9.5/10:

de Kock rightly deserves full marks, though he began on a slow note. But, back-to-back score in 90s, saving South Africa from scraps, was indeed commendable. Being injured ahead of the third Test and unsure on playing in it, de Kock showed grit and often took his team out of woods.

Apart from his work with the bat, he showed his excellence with the gloves. He was smart with his stumpings at Wellington to remove the dangerous Raval for 80 and Neesham for 15. Out of his 13 catches behind the stumps, 5 came in the final Test showing no signs of discomfort due to injury.

Keshav Maharaj (9 runs at 5, 15 wickets at 2.60 and 2 catches) 9/10:

Maharaj was in contention for Man of the Series, along with de Kock. South Africa, in some way or the other, have won this series due to Maharaj s brilliance, given he was the leading wicket-taker. He also got his maiden five-for at Dunedin. He then went on to grab 8 wickets at Wellington, where he also go to his career-best figures of 6 for 40.

Maharaj was effective in getting the better of New Zealand s middle order at Wellington. However, in Hamilton he had a late bloom. After 273 deliveries, he dismissed the tail-end and removed Watling and Henry in succession. Maharaj was equally active on the field with some stunning catches at cover.

Morne Morkel (49 runs at 49 and 11 wickets at 3.29) 8/10:

It was a perfect comeback for Morkel after a year. He last played against England in 2016 at home. This time around, he took 3 wickets lesser than Maharaj did. He bowled some threatening short deliveries.

Morkel also completed 250 Test wickets with the perilous Latham being his victim during New Zealand s first innings in final Test. At the end of the innings he claimed a 4-for.

Kagiso Rabada (34 runs at 15.66 and 8 wickets at 3.11) 8/10:

Rabada continued to pose threat to New Zealand throughout the series, not just with the ball but with the bat as well. He considered himself as a benchmark and went past his previous best of 32. With that rapid 31-ball 34, Rabada showed glimpses of his all-round abilities.

Faf du Plessis (198 runs at 66 and 2 catches) 6/10:

Du Plessis will be happy to have lived up to the expectation of his team, reaching the No. 2 spot in Test team rankings, but it was not all hunky-dory under pressure situations for the captain. He made inspiring bowling changes throughout the series. He also had heated conversations for changing the ball as it went out of shape on Day Three at Hamilton.

Du Plessis scored 3 fifties off 5 innings. And knowing that he never makes an error in catching, du Plessis stunned many with his one-handed stunners.

Dean Elgar (265 runs at 44.16 and 2 catches) 5/10:

By amassing 229 runs off the first Test itself, Elgar was the visitors best man. Additionally, he was decent with the ball. However, had he continued his brilliant form, he would have got all the points.

JP Duminy (104 runs at 20.80, 4 wickets at 4.19 and 6 catches) 6/10:

Duminy can even beat a cat with the amount of lives he got, given New Zealand s error in taking reviews that went in his favour. Even though he continued his poor form since the Australia series with the bat, Duminy stood out at Wellington claiming his best figures in this series of 4 for 47. He also excelled on the field with 6 catches.

Temba Bavuma (189 runs at 37.80) 5.5/10:

Bavuma found his lost mojo in this series. He began with half-century at Dunedin and then stitched a very crucial partnership of 160 runs at Wellington with de Kock when South Africa were 94 for 6.

Hashim Amla (153 runs at 30.60 and 2 catches) 5/10:

Amla scored 1 and 24 at Dunedin, followed by 21 and 38 at Wellington. He finally got his first fifty in this series, when it was needed the most, at Hamilton. After the opening batsmen failed to provide the required starts, it was Amla who came to rescue in the first innings of third Test. Amla also picked some blinders, with one of them being a low catch at the second slip of Nicholls.

He also got involved in a comical run-out with de Bruyn.

Vernon Philander (70 runs at 35, 2 wickets at 2.33 and 2 catches) 4/10:

Philander started off with 2 wickets at Dunedin. He was very good with the old ball, making I reverse swing. A lot was expected from the seamer, but a very little went his way. Although he kept the length and lines tight, it bore no result. Barring an important catch of Williamson in Hamilton at deep fine-leg and Southee in Wellington at first-slip, Philander had nothing much to rejoice.

Theunis de Bruyn (12 runs at 6) 1/10:

A debutant being dismissed in the most hilarious fashion and the world watching it can be embarrassing. Nervous as he looked, he was edged and was picked by Henry for nought. However, in the second innings, a cautious performance did see him bring up first few boundaries of his Test career, but that mix-up with Amla showed cricket can be cruel as well.

Stephen Cook (17 runs for 4.25) 0.5/10:

The other Cook was found in a rather precarious situation since the beginning of the series. Being dismissed for single digits and then 11 off the second innings in Wellington, the axe finally fell on Cook and he was dropped for the final Test.