January 16, 1998
"Is this a joke? I don't believe you"
Makhaya Ntini's initial reaction on being told that he has been selected to play for South Africa - the first black player to do so. In Perth, the New Zealand batsmen bear the brunt as he bustles in to pick 2 for 31 in a comprehensive win. His first wicket is also Mark Boucher's first international dismissal. It was that kind of a day.
March 19-23, 1998
A tough initiation to whites
Struggles to make an impact on Test debut, managing match figures of 2 for 74, while the rest of the pace attack has a ball against Sri lanka in Cape Town
January 14, 1999
The darkest hour
After overcoming several obstacles to break into the mainstream, Ntini very nearly loses it all when he is charged
and later convicted for rape. Claims innocence and is supported by the United Cricket Board, and is later acquitted on appeal.
March 22, 2000
The second coming
Forces his way back into the team after nearly 20 months in the wilderness and immediately makes an impact, tormenting India en route to figures of 3 for 36 in a ten-wicket thrashing
April 12, 2000
Dominating the champions
Shines against the world's best team, in a critical match
where Shaun Pollock hastily takes over leadership after Hansie Cronje is forced out by the first tremors of the match-fixing scandal. Steve Waugh, Michael Bevan, Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne succumb to a top-class spell of fast bowling, all edging to Boucher.
November 17-21, 2000
The first Man-of-the-Match award
a hapless New Zealand batting line-up in the second innings on an unhelpful Bloemfontein wicket, under oppressive conditions. Impresses everyone with the ability to run in relentlessly and finishes with figures of 31.4-12-66-6.
January 11, 2001
the sorry Sri Lankans to secure a first five-wicket haul in ODIs and a 4-0 lead in the five-match series. Picks the big wickets of Romesh Kaluwitharana and Kumar Sangakkara before polishing off the tail.
October 2, 2001
Another path-breaking distinction
Along with Mfuneko Ngam becomes one of the first two black cricketers to receive South African cricket's highest award when his name is included
in the 2001 Cricketers of the Year list.
March 27, 2002
Scripting a thriller
Earns South Africa a rare reprieve against Australia in a Potchefstroom nail-biter
, but victory remains elusive. Delivers a tight spell of 4 for 33 as Australia's chase ends at 259, level with South Africa's score in the third ODI of a seven-match series. It is a rare moment of parity in a lop-sided series.
January 2-5, 2003
A behemoth at home
Mauls Pakistan with figures of 8 for 98 in the Cape Town Test
. Picks up the Man-of-the-Series award having scalped five more in the previous Test.
August 1-3, 2003
On the honours board
Picks five-fors in each innings to consign England to a crushing innings defeat at Lord's
. Becomes the first South African to feature on the legendary honours board at the home of cricket.
December 12-16, 2003
Knocking the wind out of the Windies - 1
Delivers in both innings to finish with match-figures of 9 for 147 as South Africa prevails over the West Indies in Johannesburg
. Torments the tourists all summer, to finish with 29 wickets and the series award.
April 8-12, 2005
Knocking the wind out of the Windies - 2
Sixteen months later, repeats the dose - this time in the West Indies. Rolls out the hosts to pick 6 for 95 and 7 for 37, leaving very little for his bowling mates to do in Trinidad
December 16-20, 2005
Roaring in the lion's den
Matches the Australians punch for punch in the first Test in Perth
, dismissing Mathew Hayden for a blob in his first over and then going on to pick five of the first six wickets to fall, as South Africa hold the world's best team for a draw. Gets injured and misses the last Test as Australia win the series.
March 3, 2006
Champions? What champions?
Humbles Australia in the second ODI
in Cape Town with a spell of 6 for 22. Chasing 290 for a win, Australia fail to reach three-figures in a rare thrashing. South Africa go on to win the series after chasing 434 in Johannesburg, with last-man Ntini at the crease.
March 31 - April 4, 2006
A third ten-wicket haul
Breathes fire at the Australians once again, with figures of 6 for 100, as the tourists are rolled out for 270 in the first innings in Johannesburg
. Is at it again in the second dig, grabbing four more to make the visitors sweat every inch towards a two-wicket win.
April 15-19, 2006
And a fourth in quick time
Re-establishes his liking for the New Zealand line-up with match-figures of 10 for 145. Chasing 249 in the fourth innings, the money is on the visitors until Ntini runs through the top-order for the second time in the match. Becomes the first South African to take four ten-fors in Tests, and also to perform the feat in successive games. Picks ten more wickets in the series and is adjudged Man of the Series.
October 27, 2006
Steamrolling the Pakistanis
Masterminds another typical ODI demolition as Pakistan are found out in the Champions Trophy
. Finishes with 5 for 21 as none of the top seven manage double figures in a chase of 213.
December 26-30, 2006
Curry for lunch
Decimates India for a match-haul of eight wickets as South Africa draws level in the second match
of the three-Test series. Defending 354 in the fourth innings, Nitin sends back Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to author a memorable comeback. South Africa go on to take the series 2-1 in Cape Town. Picks 19 more wickets against Pakistan who come visiting next.
April 3-5, 2007
Fitting into the support role
Is upstaged by Dale Steyn's match-haul of eight, but quietly contributes six wickets in South Africa's resounding win in Ahmedabad
. It is a script that would play out a few more times in the future as Ntini's powers begin to wane.
December 17-21, 2008
The last hurrah
Sets up South Africa for their most important Test series in the new century, with a fiery opening spell. Mathew Hayden and Ricky Ponting depart with the score on 14 on the first morning as South Africa let out a strong statement of intent in Perth
. They would go on to chase 414 to win the Test before sealing the series in Melbourne, marking the beginning of the end of Australia's almost decade-long Test dominance.
December 16-20, 2009
End of an era?
Goes wicketless in a crucial second innings as England's last pair clings on to avoid defeat in Centurion
. Is preferred for a fateful final over, ahead of young gun Friedel de Wet who had picked four wickets, but is unable to dismiss an obdurate Graham Onions. Knives are sharpened, and the axe falls after a wicketless performance in the next Test
as South Africa slump to an innings defeat. Morne Morkel is tipped as his successor, for all practical purposes ending a memorable career.
November 2, 2010
After being unable to regain his place in the South Africa line-up, Ntini announces his international retirement but confirms he will play on at domestic level.