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.
- 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