Cape Town - South
Africa have a notable track record of bossing home Test series against current
visitors Pakistan, as reflected in their winning four of the five played so
far, with one shared outcome in the 1997/98 duel.
have been some pulsating, dramatic individual contests along the way, which
made nailing down just five for special attention a tough task.
first Test of the 2018/19 series beginning at Centurion on Boxing Day, here is
my choice of prior classics, for varying reasons …
2012/13: 1st Test,
Wanderers - SA won by 211 runs
the “Dale Steyn Test”. The Phalaborwa Express claimed career-best match figures
of 11/60 at the Bullring, including an astonishing first-innings blitz as the
Pakistanis were truly routed.
the Proteas’ far from muscular first-knock total of 253, all it took were 29
overs for the tourists to be back in the pavilion, tails between legs … bundled
out for 49, with Steyn grabbing six for eight in 8.1 jaw-dropping overs.
Villiers and Hashim Amla then rubbed salt in at the crease as the hosts
cantered to a decent second-innings total before sounding the bell.
Pakistanis were more resilient the second time around, but still never came
close to reaching a fourth-innings target well in excess of the 450-mark, as
player-of-the-match Steyn came to the fore anew with another five-for …
253 (J Kallis 50; M Hafeez 4/16) and 275/3 dec (AB de Villiers 103no, H Amla
74no). Pakistan 49 (D Steyn 6/8) and 268 (Misbah-ul-Haq 64; D Steyn 5/52)
2006/07: 2nd Test, St
George’s Park - Pakistan won by five wickets
just Pakistan’s second Test victory on SA soil, and teed up a memorable
final-match climax by levelling the series at 1-1.
Graeme Smith opting to bat after winning the toss, his charges were skittled
for 124, the moody but fearsome shock bowler Shoaib Akhtar snaring four
required a major share of their runs in reply from veteran Inzamam-ul-Haq (an
unbeaten 92 out of 265) … but that still meant a tidy lead.
Kallis got into the nineties himself in SA’s second innings of 300-plus, with
the smooth-action Mohammad Asif the tourists’ most stellar seamer this time
Younis Khan kept his nerve admirably to guide Pakistan pretty safely to their target
124 (M Boucher 35; S Akhtar 4/36) and 331 (J Kallis 91; M Asif 5/76). Pakistan
265 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 92no; M Ntini 6/59) and 191/5 (Younis Khan 67no)
2002/03: 2nd Test,
Newlands - SA won by innings and 142 runs
This was a
massacre by the fired-up Proteas at one of their favourite home hunting
grounds, most memorable for the monster, record-toppling opening partnership
between Herschelle Gibbs and Capetonian colleague and skipper Smith.
plundered 228 and Smith just over 150 as their alliance netted 368 runs - at
the time the best for any wicket by the country, and fourth-highest opening stand
in Test history.
really enough to knock the zest out of the Pakistanis, as they posted moderate
totals in both their first knock and the followed-on second.
exception to the rule was opener Taufeeq Umar, who top-scored for them each
time with 135 and then 67, although that durable athlete Makhaya Ntini was busy
in the wickets column for SA each time.
620/7 dec (H Gibbs 228, G Smith 151; S Mushtaq 3/237). Pakistan 252 (T Umar
135; S Pollock 4/45, M Ntini 4/62) and 226 (T Umar 67, Inzamam-ul-Haq 60; M
1997/98: 1st Test,
Wanderers - match drawn
nothing especially stellar about this Test match at first glance: after all, it
ended in a very tame stalemate at the Bullring with weather intervening often
and the whole fourth day being lost.
disguises the earth-shattering event in South Africa’s only completed innings
(there was just one by each side in the game).
It was the
incredible ninth-wicket valour from the unlikely duo of gnarly off-spinner Pat
Symcox, batting at No 10, and fresh-faced wicketkeeper Mark Boucher (No 8) as
they utterly transformed a hitherto wobbling knock.
with the host nation an unflattering 166 for eight and Waqar Younis and Akhtar
steaming in with purpose and venom, they posted 195 runs to more than double
the total, Symcox notching his first and only Test ton – certainly one of the
most popularly-received ones in SA history – and Boucher ending not too far off
innings also provided a story of lower-order glory, as No 7 all-rounder Azhar
Mahmood was responsible for 136 runs alone of their 329.
364 (P Symcox 108, M Boucher 78; M Ahmed 3/66) and 44/0. Pakistan 329 (A
Mahmood 136; L Klusener 4/93)
1994/95: Only Test, Wanderers - SA
won by 324 runs
solo feats didn’t come dime-a-dozen in this Test, save for the majestic bowling
efforts of SA’s “Vinnige Fanie” de Villiers who registered match figures of
strikes in the Pakistani first innings and further four in the second ensured
that the home country romped to a large-margin victory.
But it was a
poignant occasion nevertheless: the first time these nations had ever met in a
Test, which was an unusual once-off clash.
SA held the
whip hand from the moment they went above 450 runs in the first innings,
strapping all-rounder Brian McMillan earning his maiden Test century, the first
of three in a career shortened – like so many compatriots – by the isolation
460 (B McMillan 113, J Rhodes 72, G Kirsten 62; Aaqib Javed 3/102) and 259/7
dec (D Cullinan 69no, H Cronje 48). Pakistan 230 (S Malik 99; F de Villiers
6/81) and 165 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 95; F de Villiers 4/27)
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