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Test # 1812 South Africa in Sri Lanka 2006 (2nd Test) at P Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo
The test match could have produced all the four results and it’s a tribute to Sri Lanka that they won the test match at the end without choking like they did against the same rivals at Asgiriya stadium , Kandy in 2000 (t1505) when they fell short by 8 runs chasing a modest victory target of 176 and were 161 for 6 before losing their last 4 wickets for 8 runs.
Four years later at the same venue in 2004 (t1688) playing against Australia, Sri Lanka was chasing exactly the same score of 352 as in this test. They were crusing along comfortably at 319 for 7 at one stage needing just 33 more runs for victory. Sri Lanka started the final day at 301 for 7 and were inching towards victory with their 8th wicket pair Vaas(30*) & Lokuarachchi(13*). They needed to score just 51 more runs on the final day and were doing well to take the score to 318 for 7 before a sudden rush of blood made Chaminda Vaas threw his wicket away by trying to slog sweep a Warne’s delivery and was out getting caught in the deep. That triggered a Sri Lankan collapse as they lost their last 3 wickets for 5 runs and fell short of the target by just 11 runs.
Memories of those two test matches may have been lingering through the minds of five members of the current Sri Lankan squad ( Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene Vaas & Muralitharan) who were part of those two losses, when Malinga joined Maharoof with Sri Lanka needing just two runs. But Maharoof and Malinga took a single each to register a dramatic win for Sri Lanka and in this case made sure that history does not repeat itself and they no more a bunch of chokers who would wilter under pressue.
Here are the some statistical highlights of this test:
Sri Lanka’s 352 run chase for a victory is sixth highest in test cricket.
Muralitharan registered another 10-wicket haul, a record 18th time in a test career, thus making it 4-in-row (t1803,t1804,t1810 & t1812). This is the second time that he achieved this remarakable feat having done so earlier in 2001(t1559,t1561,t1567 & t1570). No other bowler could achieve this feat even once. Only bowler who came anywhere near this record was Australia’s Clarrie Grimmet , who in 1935/36 series against SA (t249,t250 & t251) took 10 wickets in each of the 3rd,4th & 5th tests. His feat though was unique in its own way as he is the only bowler in test history to have taken 10 wickets in a test 3 times in the same series. Muralitharan’s with his twin 5-wkt hauls in this match 5 for 128 in 1st innings and 7 for 97 in the 2nd has also extended his 5 wicket in an innings of test match record to 56. Muralitharan at the end of this series has taken his career tally to 657 wickets from 108 tests at an average of 21.89 at phenomenal strike rate of 6.08 wickets per test. He is now just 28 wickets short of Shane Warne's record. Warne has 685 wickets from 140 tests at an average of 25.25 and a strike rate of 4.90. Just for those who are stistically minded like me. Warne has taken 134 tests to take 657 wickets. In 9 tests that Murali played this year he has taken 73 wickets with eight 5-wkt hauls in an innings and seven 10-wkt hauls in match. That is truly amazing.
Following is the list of Murali’s and Grimmett’s 3+ consecutive 10 wicket hauls:
Muralitharan also claimed his 100th test wicket against SA and became only the 2nd bowler in test history after Shane Warne to have claimed 100+ wickets against springboks. In all, there are 32 instances of a bowler claiming 100+ wickets of the same opponent. 11 of them took 100+ wickets against Aus, 17 against Eng, 2 against SA, 1 each against WI & NZ. Kapil Dev missed to become a part of this club by a whisker. His 99 wickets against Pak is highest against that country. Kapil’s counterpart Imran Khan holds the record for most number of wickets against India.with 94 wickets. Anil Kumble with 66 against Sri Lanka and Muralitharan with 87 against Zimbabwe and 50 against Bangladesh holds the records agsinst those countries.
Following is the table of all 100+ wicket-takers against a specific country:
South Africa too had their share of test records in this test. They provided the 102nd instance of amassing 350+ runs on the first day of a test match. (refer to my earlier posting on this). But in a stark contrast to such a good batting display in first innings , they lost both their openers for a duck in the 2nd innings thus providing 42nd occasion of a team losing both their opening batsmen for a duck in an innings.
Nicky Boje who had a torrid time in his previous test when his bowling went for a leatherhunt, picked up his 100th test wicket in this test in the form of Mahela Jayawardane. He thus becomes 139th player and 10th from South Africa to take 100 or more wickets in a test career.Having already completed his 1000 test runs , he also becomes the 4th springbok to join the 1000runs+100wkts all roudners club as its 47th member.
In Sri Lanka’s first innings when Mark Boucher caught Chaminda Vaas off the bowling of Steyn he became only the 2nd Wicket Keeper in test cricket to have taken 350 catches behind the wicket. Boucher’s tally includes 2 catches he had taken while playing for ICC XI against Australia.
Another rare occurrence that happened in this test match was that in all four innings of the match 300 or more runs were scored. This in fact is only 13th such instance 8th in a test match that produced a result.
This test match which followed the same course till the final day with Pakistan needing 323 runs for a victory with all their wickets in hand, kind of finished with an anti-climax as Pakistan was bundled out for 155 runs thereby leaving England winners by a huge margin of 167 runs. The Yo-Yo combination (Younis Khan with 173 & Mohammad Yousuf with 192) again produced a huge partnership of 363 runs, but this time in a losing cause. Though their partnership did not help in a victory for Pakistan, it did break a an 81yr old record of 283 run opening stand between Jack Hobbs & Herbert Sutcliffe against Australia in 1924/25 at Melobourne as the highest partnership for any wicket by a losing side.
The 3rd wicket partnership of 363 runs between Younis and Yousuf also set a new partnership record by Pakistan for any wicket against England when they touched the 323 run mark eclipsing the previous best between Javed Miandad and Salim Malik who added 322 at Edgbaston in 1992. When the partnership touched the 339 run mark it became best third-wicket partnership against England, surpassing the previous best of 338 between Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell at Port-of-Spain in 1953-54
With their partnership pakistan amassed 538 runs though no other Pakistani was able to score 30 runs with Danish Kaneria recording the 3rd highest score of 29. Surprisingly this is not a lowest 3rd highest score in a test match innings of 500+ runs. That record still belongs to the 1934 Leeds test in which Australia scored 584 runs in their 1st innings with Bradman making 304 & Ponsford 181 and the next highest score of 27 was being that of Stan McCabe. Following table lists all the test match innings totals of 500 or more in which there were just two 50+ scores. It includes England’s 1st innings too as their 515 total had just two scores of 50+, 135 by Kevin Pietersen and 119 by Ian Bell. This is the one and only such test match occurrence in which both sides scored 500 or more runs with each side having just two 50+ scores.
Both sides making scores of over 500 runs too is a rarity in test cricket.This test match provides 23rd such occasion. This is only the 2nd of those tests which produced a result. Following is the list of all such instances:
Pakistan's loss also provides only the 9th instance of a side making 500+ runs in their 1st innings and still went on to lose the test match. Side batting first is listed first in the table from the left.
Finally some trivia facts:
By getting out with not so common type of dismissals in both the innings , hit wiciket in 1st and stumped in 2nd , Inzamam-ul-Haq becomes only the 2nd cricketer in history to have got out in both the innings of a test match as stumped and hit wicket. Robert Peel of England was the other batsman to have suffered this fate against Australia at Sydney in 1887-88.
Shahid Nazir of Pakistan made a comeback to test cricket after being in oblivion for more than 7 years and missing 65 tests.The record for missing for most number of tests by a cricketer between two test appearances belongs to Mark Bicknell of England who missed 114 tests from 1993 to 2003.
Danish Kaneria with his 1st innings knock of 29 is fast closing the gap between the number of wickets he has taken in test cricket (167) and the number of runs he made (160).