It is only day three of the second test against Pakistan and the Proteas have a lead of 205 on the Pakistanis. There are some comments needed on the performances of the batters in the first and second tests
Faf du Plessis
After a duck on both innings in the Pretoria tests on a difficult pitch he managed to score 103 runs off 225 balls on an equally difficult pitch in Cape Town. He showed grit and determination and there can be no doubt that he made major contribution to the second test thus far.
The show thus far is a problem. Th situation thus far is as follows in the test innings played are as follows:-
Score - Balls strike rate
Pretoria test 8 16 50
63 145 42,5
Cape Town 24 64 37,5
There was lots of praise for Amla after the second innings in the Pretoria test having recovered his form - but Amla as nearly out twice because of poor fielding by the Pakistanis, Be it as it may in the innings thus far Amla made 95 runs off 225 balls for a strike rate of 42,2.
I think in view of his performance against Australia where in three tests he had the following results it may be time for seriously considering his departure from the test scene:-
Score - Balls strike rate
Durban test 0 3 0
8 19 42,1
Port Elizabeth 56 148 37,8
27 42 64,3
Cape Town 31 87 35,6
31 80 38,8
Johannesburg 27 81 33,3
16 48 33,3
In the four tests he effort was as follows:-
Total runs scored - 196
Average per innings - 24,5
Strike rate - 38,6
Amla used to have a career batting average of 53,3 - but over the last year the average slipped to 47,6 - a massive downward trend due largely in part the latest test series.
It would perhaps be better if he retires from test cricket himself since it seems as if he is on a downward slide which seems to be irreversible.
The situation is that he was shockingly poor in the recent Mzanzi series and he was not offered a contract in the IPL, He is poor in both formats of the shortened game and going into the WC series later this year would not be advisable. If I was Gibson I would keep Amla in the squad for the upcoming ODI's - but blood Raymond van Tonder as a replacement. A person cannot take a youngster (20 years old) like Van Tonder into a WC series without prior experience on international level.
Quinton de Kock
This guy has been criticized for being erratic - yet he against Pakistan scored in two innings played against Pakistan scored 104 runs facing 130 balls for a strike rate of 80.
In comparison he scored more runs in two innings than Amla did in three with a strike rate nearly double of that of Amla. Still a very valuable player in all formats of the game.
This guy is a phenomenon - in the three innings he bowled against Pakistan he took 15 wickets out of potential 30. The rest were spread between Rabada and Steyn. He was also excellent in the shortened version of the game and to my mind a must for the ODI series to come and the WC