Australia v South Africa 2008-09 / Stats Analysis

Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 5th day

Records galore for South Africa and Smith

Stats highlights from South Africa's historic eight-wicket win, which gave them their first series win in Australia

S Rajesh

December 30, 2008

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Stats highlights from South Africa's historic eight-wicket win, which gave them their first series win in Australia.


At the age of 27, Graeme Smith already holds the record for most number of runs scored in successful run-chases © AFP
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  • South Africa's nine-wicket win ended Australia's 16-year unbeaten run in home series. The last time they'd been beaten was by West Indies in 1992-93, which was also the last time they'd lost successive games at home. For South Africa, it was their first win in Melbourne in five attempts since their readmission to Test cricket, and their third in 14 Tests in Australia during this period. They end the year with a 11-2 win-loss record, easily the best among all teams.

  • South Africa's 11 wins in 2008 is also a record by any team in a single year, and a feat that has only been achieved twice previously - by West Indies in 1984, and by England in 2004. Australia's best is ten, which they've achieved three times - in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

  • South Africa haven't lost a Test series in more than two years, during which time they've won nine series and drawn one: their last defeat was to the Sri Lankans in a two-Test series in July 2006.

  • The chase of 183 made it ten successful run-chases of 175 or more in 2008, with South Africa contributing exactly 50% of those. They finished the year almost exactly like they started it: in their first game of 2008, they chased down 185 against West Indies in Cape Town, losing three wickets.

  • Graeme Smith had led that run-chase too, scoring 85 and sparking off a fourth-innings sequence which is quite incredible: in six innings this year he has scored 85, 62, 3*, 154*, 108 and 75. His matchwinning 75 in Melbourne lifted his aggregate in fourth-innings victories to 919, which is the most by any batsman. Matthew Hayden is next with 913, while Ricky Ponting has 835.

  • Smith's knock also lifted his aggregate for the year to 1656 from 15 Tests at an average of 72. Only two batsmen have scored more in a calendar year - Mohammad Yousuf accumulated 1788 in 2006, while Viv Richards made 1710 in 1976.

  • With so many South African batsmen in superb form this year - four scored more than 1000 - it's hardly surprising that they dominate the partnership stats too. Smith and Neil McKenzie put together the most number of partnership runs - 1552 - followed by Smith and Hashim Amla (1090). In fact four of the top eight pairs of the year are South Africans.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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