January 3, 2000

Donald takes 20th five-wicket haul

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Cape Town - We are unlikely to hear the real reason why the limp rag doll version of Allan Donald this Millennium Test Series against England suddenly came alive after lunch on day one, leading him to take his 20th Test five wicket haul.

Donald did not let anyone in on the secret either apart from saying "it all started to come together".

Apart from that underprepared Chris Scott special green mamba at the Wanderers back in November when he collected 11 wickets, Donald has looked anything but the lively world class act his reputation has cast him in.

He agreed as much today when he suggested it "all started to come together after lunch (on Sunday)" when he bowled what was his best so far in the series.

"You think when the score is 99 for none it is really going to be a tough day then you get a wicket, and another and it is looking, and feeling a lot better," he said.

On Monday he ended with five for 47 off his 26 overs - his 20th five-wicket spread against England at Newlands. It has taken him to 289 wickets in his career, and the chance to collecting his 300th this series in Centurion in a couple of weeks time.

He is now the 13th bowler in Test history to take five wickets or more 20 times, the same as Curtly Ambrose. Malcolm Marshall has 22, Pakistan's Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis have 21 apiece, while New Zealand-born leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who played for Australia managed 21 five-wicket hauls during a career which saw him become the quickest to take 200 in a Test career.

Another New Zealander, Sir Richard Hadlee collected five wickets in an innings 36 times and is well ahead of anyone else such is his remarkable record. Ian Botham is next with 27. The great Syd Barnes - whose record of most wickets in the England-South Africa series Donald surpassed on Sunday - managed to do it 24 times in a career of only 27 Tests. His 189 wickets were 189 at 16.43, which included 49 in a series in South Africa.