Morne Morkel 78 runs at 15.60, 19 wickets at 26.36
Voted man of the series by the opposition, Morkel performed better than the numbers suggest. He pitched the ball up beyond his natural length and produced unplayable deliveries in every match, but lacked the support he required from the other side. A feature of Morkel's tour was his ability to bowl for long periods of time, often for eight overs, and create discomfort for left-handed batsmen from around the wicket - notably Alastair Cook. He beat the bat countless times and could easily have claimed many more scalps but goes home having finally established himself as the leader of the attack.
Keshav Maharaj 83 runs at 13.83, 17 wickets at 30.35
South Africa have travelled with Maharaj as their sole specialist spinner since the tour of Australia last November and he has repaid their faith in him handsomely. Maharaj is not a great turner of the ball but he is disciplined and he can hold up an end for sessions at a time to allow the quicks to rotate. His skill is in making batsmen come after him - Moeen Ali at Lord's, Jonny Bairstow at Trent Bridge, Tom Westley at The Oval - and then catching them off guard. His batting is improving at international level and he has become one of South Africa's most reliable performers.
Dean Elgar 291 runs at 36.37
The only centurion in South Africa's last two Test series, Elgar's hundred at The Oval came in tough circumstances. Chasing an improbable 492, South Africa were seeking to save the game and Elgar gave them their best chance. He put together a knock of resilience and grind, even after being hit on the hand, and though it was in a losing cause, it added to his maturing as a batsman. His other innings of significance was an 80 to set up the Trent Bridge win and his importance to South Africa's future is obvious.
Temba Bavuma 257 runs at 32.12
The man with the best technique in the batting line-up, Bavuma did not manage to add a second century to his statistics but confirmed his ability to anchor the side. Bavuma routinely had to drag South Africa out of holes their top-order dug and his half-century in the first innings at The Oval saved them from utter embarrassment when they were reduced to 61 for 7. He was moved up to No. 4 for the final fixture and it is probably where he should stay. He needs to work on his low conversion, though, as the selectors will want to see hundreds soon.
Vernon Philander 10 wickets at 23.40, 177 runs at 44.25
Arguably, Philander is South Africa's most valuable player, so valuable they played him despite a dodgy ankle in the first Test and an upset stomach in the third. He was Man of the Match in the second with five wickets and a fifty and, when he was on the field, was mostly unplayable as a bowler, nagging away outside off stump. Philander loves bowling in English conditions, caused major problems for Keaton Jennings and showed his ability to become a genuine allrounder. But when he missed the final match with back spasms, his former captain Graeme Smith brought his fitness into sharp focus and suggested unless Philander's conditioning improves, it could cost both him and the team dearly.
Hashim Amla 329 runs at 41.12
The last time South Africa toured England, Amla scored 311 runs in a single innings. This time, he managed only 18 more across eight innings. Amla's form was a concern for South Africa over the course of the home summer and he was thought to be on the wane, but seemed to find his touch in this series. Twin half-centuries in the Trent Bridge win and a fighting 83 at Old Trafford gave South Africa hope of sharing the spoils but he could not do it alone. The shaky opening partnership isn't helping him but South Africa will hope he can continue to provide stability as their line-up finds its best combinations.
Kagiso Rabada 85 runs at 14.16, 16 wickets at 28.43
One of the most highly rated members of the South Africa squad, Rabada underwhelmed as he struggled for rhythm throughout the series. There were glimpses of his quality and aggression in bursts - the bouncer to remove Ben Stokes at Lord's, the yorker to remove him at Old Trafford - but he struggled to sustain pressure. His battles with Stokes were particularly eye-catching, though he may reflect that he came out on the losing side. Rabada missed the second Test because of a disciplinary offence after giving Stokes a send-off.
Chris Morris 75 runs at 18.75, 8 wickets at 25.75
An X-Factor cricketer who bowls quickly and bats aggressively, Morris had the opportunity to make a case for a more permanent place in the Test squad and there seems to be something to work with. He delivered fiery spells at Trent Bridge and The Oval, produced magic balls - the most memorable a yorker to dismiss Joe Root - and had staying power at the crease but consistency is his major issue. His coaches have acknowledged too many boundary balls in his repertoire and a tendency to bowl both sides of the wicket and Morris will need to tighten up to have a long-term Test career.
Quinton de Kock 185 runs at 23.12, 17 catches, two stumpings
The stage was never really set for de Kock in a series where even his glovework was up and down. Was considered wasted at No.7, where he scored the first of his two fifties, so moved up to No. 4 at Trent Bridge. The experiment worked at first, as he scored an aggressive 68, but then quickly fizzled out. De Kock was unable to adapt to batting more conservatively when he needed to and was then moved back down in a bid to give him the freedom he thrives under. Behind the stumps, he took some screamers, but also had a few blunders and will leave knowing he did not show England his best side.
Faf du Plessis 171 runs at 28.50
South Africa's captain briefly managed to conjure up the inspiration his men needed to perform when he returned from paternity leave after the Lord's Test to guide them to victory at Trent Bridge. But his own form let him down when matters became decisive and he was twice out lbw padding up at The Oval. At Old Trafford, he made his first tactical error in leadership, when he spread the field against Jonny Bairstow and the tail, allowing England to put on 100 runs on the second morning and seize momentum. Du Plessis showed signs of the batsmen he made his name as when he partnered Amla to try and pull off a coup in the final Test but their stand did not last. He remained honest throughout the series, faulted Philander for his lack of fitness and bluntly told the team to get over AB de Villiers. He has now been in the job for a year and this was his first series defeat.
Duanne Olivier Four runs at 2.00, seven wickets at 27.57
His Test career is still in its infancy but the diamond that South Africa deem Olivier, the leading wicket-taker in the first-class system, to be needs a lot of polishing. He was wayward and expensive at Trent Bridge, where his inexperience was obvious but looked better at Old Trafford. Olivier has a good bouncer in his arsenal and started to adjust his lengths to conditions that demanded slightly fuller bowling, but needs to work on his control if he is to seriously push for a more regular Test spot.
Heino Kuhn 113 runs at 16.14
South Africa's attempts to find a new opening partner for Elgar failed after seasoned performer Kuhn could not handle the step up to international cricket. In Kuhn's defence, conditions were tough for batting all round and he managed two stays of more than two hours at the crease but uncertainty outside off stump against two of the game's best bowlers saw him get more rattled as the series went on. He ended it limping, literally, with a serious hamstring problem that may impact on how soon he can play again.
Theunis de Bruyn 60 runs at 15.00
As one of the most promising batsmen on the domestic circuit, more was expected of de Bruyn, especially as he played lower down the order in this series - having debuted as an opener in New Zealand - but a composed 48 at Lord's was as good as it got. Like many players new to England, de Bruyn was unsure of when to go forward and when to hang back and has technical tweaks to make before he plays again.
JP Duminy 17 runs at 8.50
Duminy's Test career all but ended at Lord's, when he smashed a short ball straight to midwicket moments before tea on the fourth day as South Africa were trying to save the game. He also dropped Root, on his way 190, in the first innings. Duminy's inability to consistently supply big runs cost him his place for the second Test and he was sent home midway through the tour. It is tough to see how he will find a way back.