English cricket December 4, 2009

Atherton's Johannesburg epic belongs to another era

In 1995, England's captain Mike Atherton on their first post-apartheid tour played a career-defining knock of 185 – and reminisces about it ahead of the series with South Africa. Vic Marks has more in the Guardian.

He clipped a short ball from Donald off his hip. "When I hit it I thought that's three." In fact it hit the midriff of Gary Kirsten at short leg and bounced to the ground. "It would have been an unlucky dismissal. But the adrenalin was pumping now. I was waiting for a short one next ball." It duly arrived and Atherton hooked it for four.

He embraced a startled Smith, who expected Atherton to show his customary reserve in his celebrations – "I just released all my emotions for a minute or so." Now the fluency returned. But at 11.45am Smith was out, caught at third man. Enter Jack Russell.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo