The Proteas’ remarkable Test series victory in Australia has been lauded all around the world. It is well deserved.
Cricket is a game of statistics and the series Down Under has served up a veritable smorgasbord. Nibble on some of these titbits and enjoy if you’re a South African. It might take another 100 years before anything remotely akin to this happens again!:
- South Africa has become only the third team in the history of Test cricket to win three consecutive series against Australia in Australia. Before this South Africa had won in 2008-09 and 2012-13. England won three series between 1884 and 1888, and the West Indies three between 1984 and 1992.
- South Africa won the second Test in Hobart by an innings and 80 runs. It was the first time ever that South Africa managed to beat Australia by an innings in Australia. It was also South Africa’s biggest margin of victory in Australia. The previous biggest was by 309 runs in Perth in 2012.
- South Africa scored 326 runs to complete the innings victory in Hobart. This is the fifth-lowest total by any team to complete an innings victory in Australia and the lowest since 1993. The West Indies made just 322 runs in Perth on that occasion and won by an innings and 25 runs.
- Only 193.5 overs (1,163 balls) were bowled in the entire Hobart Test. The last time a Test match in Australia produced a result in fewer balls was in 1950, when Australia won an Ashes Test at the Gabba in 129.2 eight-ball overs (1,034 balls). In Hobart, the Aussies faced a combined total of 558 balls – the second least in a Test at home in the last 100 years. They had survived just 457 balls against England in 1928-29, also at the Gabba.
- In Hobart Australia lost their last eight wickets for 32 runs. This equals Australia’s worst such collapse in the history of Test cricket. The previous occasion was in 1888 against England in Sydney. In fact, the Australian collapses in the series have been spectacular: 10-86 in Perth (from 158 without loss), 10-83 in the first innings in Hobart, and 8-32 in the second innings.
- In 2016 Australia have lost 22 matches across all three formats of the game. This equals the all-time record for the most losses by Australia in a calendar year. In the process captain Steve Smith has joined Kim Hughes (1984) and Michael Clarke (2013) as the only Australian captains to lose five consecutive Tests.
- Quinton de Kock is rapidly becoming the new Adam Gilchrist of international cricket. After only three innings, he has become only the sixth visiting wicketkeeper to make three or more half-centuries in a series in Australia, and the only one of those six to end the series on the winning side. (English glovemen Alec Stewart (2002-03) and Alan Knott (1974-75), and West Indians Deryck Murray (1975-76) and Gerry Alexander (1960-61) were each part of a losing team; England’s Jim Parks played in the drawn 1965-66 Ashes.) De Kock is also only the sixth visiting player to reach fifty three times in a series in Australia batting at No.7 or lower (after Murray, Knott, Alexander, Fred Titmus (England, 1965-66) and Gerry Gomez (West Indies, 1950-51). In the history of Test cricket, De Kock is the fourth wicketkeeper batting at No. 7 or lower to have scored more than 400 runs at an average above 50 in a calendar year. Prior to him, Ian Healy (Australia, 1996), Gilchrist (Australia, 2001 & 2002) and Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan, 2014) had done so.
- And finally, just for a semblance of a balanced view, a straw for the Aussies to clutch: The last Australian team to lose by an innings against an opposition score of under 350 (1993 against the West Indies in Perth) consisted of Justin Langer, David Boon, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn, Allan Border, Ian Healy, Merv Hughes, Shane Warne, Jo Angel and Craig McDermott. Apart from Angel, the other ten range in the annals of Australian cricket from the very good to the unquestionable all-time greats. Seven ended with more than 100 Test caps, and all ten either scored at least 4,000 runs or took 200 wickets.