South Africa just keep rolling on. Another three day demolition, this time Pakistan the victims, shows that the Proteas spell as number have the depth that is key to longevity at the top of the world’s Test pile.
Having lost both Morne Morkel, and crucially Jacques Kallis, the man who has given South Africa balance year after year after year, Rory Kleinveldt was drafted, as was Kyle Abbott for his Test debut.
Perhaps seen as more a steady performer than the sort of bowler to blow sides away, Abbott bowled and excellent line and length, akin to the sort of stuff Vernon Philander normally dishes out on a regular basis. This, aided with his above average bounce saw his pick up the best ever 1st innings debut figures for a South African bowler, and the second best of all time for the Proteas, behind Lance Klusener’s eight in India over 10 year ago.
After posting 400 plus, the Proteas bowling once again showed its class. It would be heartening since Kleinveldt seems to have the chops for Test cricket, while Abbott’s performance means there are now three high quality replacements when needed if the likes of Steyn, Morkel and Philander aren’t fit.
It also gave a glimpse into what the team’s future will be like when Kallis does eventually call it a day. Given the strength of the top six, South Africa at this stage can afford to pick five bowlers, with all of them able to hold a bat while Philander and Robin Peterson are more than capable of making regular contributions.
This focus will now shift to limited overs cricket as South Africa have some time before playing another Test. As things stand, this is the first time South Africa have swept three Test-plus series (ignoring Bangladesh, ZImbabawe and New Zealand) since the West Indies in 1998.
The signs are good for a long reign at the top.