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Stats highlights from South Africa's historic run-chase against Australia in Perth
December 21, 2008
As was pointed out in last week's Numbers Game column, successful fourth-innings chases have been far more common in the 2000s than in previous decades, and this becomes the 32nd 200-plus chase in these nine years. No wonder, then, that the fourth-innings runs-per-wicket figure in this decade is 29.21, higher than it had been in any decade since 1950. AB de Villiers' match-winning 108 was the 46th fourth-innings century during this period; add 242 fifties to it, and you'll get a good idea of how good this decade has been for batsmen in the last innings.
The pitch in Perth stayed pretty good throughout the five days, which isn't so unusual these days either. The Chennai track had a mean look to it but wasn't particularly spiteful on the final day, which was one of the reasons why India's fourth-innings total was the highest of the match, as was the case in Perth. Till October 2008, this had only been achieved 17 times in the entire history of Test cricket. In the last two months, however, three more instances have already been added, with New Zealand, India and South Africa all getting the highest total of the game in successful run-chases. South Africa have successfully chased 200-plus targets seven times since 2000, the most by any team during this period.
What's also incredible is the apparent ease with which most of the highest run-chases have been achieved - in four of the top five such cases, teams have won losing fewer than five wickets: Don Bradman's Invincibles chased 404 for the loss of only three wickets at Headingley in 1948, while India lost only four in chasing 406 and 387.
|Geoff Boycott||34||1234||58.76||3/ 7|
|Sunil Gavaskar||33||1398||58.25||4/ 8|
|Graeme Smith||26||1128||56.40||3/ 6|
|Ricky Ponting||35||1187||53.95||4/ 3|
|Gordon Greenidge||38||1383||53.19||3/ 6|
Limiting the results to just wins in fourth innings, Smith's stocks go up even higher - with 844 runs from 15 innings, his average is an incredible 84.40, next only to Ricky Ponting's 92.77 (with a cut-off of 500 runs). They are the only two to score three hundreds in fourth-innings wins.
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