I realize the zip incident may make some of us a bit impartial towards the Saffers, but I am willing to treat it as a one-off incident and leave it at that.
At a time when the standard of test cricket has plummeted worldwide, we must recognize SA as a truly worthy no.1 team. Any no.1 team must set the pace for the rest of the world to follow, perform in all conditions and have the ambition of champs, and SA qualify.
When Australia were dethroned in 2008, India took over the mantle under Dhoni's leadership. Yet fine a captain as Dhoni was, he took his team to the top by virtue of success at home more than anything abroad. India boasted a great batting lineup but their bowling, with only Zaheer and Harbi as standouts, was the worst of any no.1 team ever. An 8-0 thrashing in England and Australia vanished any pretensions to greatness for this team.
England promptly crushed India at home in 2011 and, backed by a jubilant British press, were seen to be marching towards domination worldwide. This balloon was popped by Pakistan and Sri Lanka as England lost 4 tests on the trot. Then SA toured England and ended debate on who was best once and for all. The English team looked good on paper, but lacked consistency and had a soft underbelly that was exposed under pressure.
SA, since taking over as no.1, beat Australia away in a hard fought series, whitewashed NZ and Pakistan at home (thus removing their relatively poor record of finishing home series), and have become the first team to win a test in the UAE. They have two of the last remaining all-time greats in cricket (Steyn and Kallis), and potential greats in Amla, DeVilliers and Philander. Their batters can adjust well to pace and spin, and under Smith's leadership, their away record is even better than Australia in their prime (unbeaten since 2006). And as they've shown in this series, when you do beat them they come back roaring.
So, zipper incident notwithstanding, thank you SA for being one of the few team to consistently deliver quality test cricket, still the best to watch.