Top of their game
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For a while now, South Africa has been the most-represented nation in ICC Top Ten lists of bowlers and batsmen. In Hashim Amla, they had a W.G. Grace-lookalike with a Bradmanesque run-making streak. There was Jacques Kallis, who could match the numbers of the all-time best all-rounder, Garry Sobers. A wicketkeeper, A.B. de Villiers, who had a Test average of about 50 and a highest individual score of 278 not out ó SA's highest for a long time. The pace trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander possessed an intimidating aura, something only the Caribbean bowlers from the 1980s did before them. These six table toppers are led by an equally talented skipper in Graeme Smith, at the helm for close to a decade, providing solidity at the top of the order and also keeping together a dressing room that regularly has to deal with race issues.
Despite the individual achievements of this post-apartheid Golden Generation, however, South Africa has been seen as a team of underachievers. Although they have been on the top of the Test podium since September, somehow they hadn't earned their halos. But the 1-0 series win over Australia might have seen Smith and his boys do just that.
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