South Africa captain AB de Villiers suspects that England will emerge as “the team to beat” in Test cricket over the next couple of years.
De Villiers was fulsome in his praise for England after South Africa grabbed a consolation 280-run win in the final Test at Centurion today.
Alastair Cook’s side had already wrapped up the series after impressive wins in Durban and Johannesburg and, while England sit fifth in the ICC’s Test Rankings, De Villiers thinks they are a team on the rise.
“I wanted to give them a lot of credit for the way they’ve played,” said De Villiers, who took over the Test captaincy midway through the series.
“They completely outplayed us in the first two Tests, no doubt. They’re possibly the team to beat in the next year or so.
“They have a lot of experience, a lot of match winners and the future is looking bright for their side.
“They have a very stable captain in Alastair Cook and have a good two years to come where they will be a force to deal with.”
Proteas coach Russell Domingo pin-pointed Ben Stokes as the key to England’s series win.
Stokes crashed 411 runs at 58.71 and took 12 wickets at 29.16 to be named man of the series and Domnigo likened him to South Africa’s former all-round great Jacques Kallis.
“England are very fortunate. They’ve got Ben Stokes who gets hundreds and takes five-wicket hauls” he said.
“He gives them what South Africa had a year or two ago: four frontline seamers and a spinner. Jacques Kallis used to do that for South Africa, it’s a massive factor.”