South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, 3rd day November 11, 2011

Smith's fourth-innings heroics

South Africa survived a manic second day to pull off an incredible eight-wicket victory in Cape Town. Stats highlights from what turned out to be a pretty tame third day

  • The result is South Africa's greatest come-from-behind win in Test cricket. Their previous largest first-innings deficit which they turned around into a win was 148, also against Australia, in Durban in 2002. That, though, was in a dead rubber, as Australia had already sealed the three-Test series with wins in the first two. For Australia, this was their fourth-largest first-innings lead in a match they ended up losing.

  • Australia have been at the receiving end of such results far more often than other sides. Of the ten largest first-innings leads which have eventually led to defeats, Australia have been on the receiving end on five occasions. (Click here for the list of largest leads in defeats when the losing team has bowled first, and here when they have bowled second.)

  • After a day in which 23 wickets went down in 79.3 overs, only one batsman was dismissed in 33.2 overs on the third. That's largely due to a fantastic 195-run stand between Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, which is South Africa's highest for the second wicket against Australia. The previous best, of 173, had stood for more than 109 years.

  • Smith's unbeaten 101 is his fourth hundred in the fourth innings of a Test, which equals the record that is also held by Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Younis Khan and Ricky Ponting. Among batsmen who've scored at least 1000 fourth-innings runs, only two batsmen have a higher average than Smith's 56.92.

  • All four of Smith's fourth-innings hundreds have come in wins, making him the first player to score four centuries in victories. He is also the first to pass 1000 runs in fourth-innings wins. Of Smith's 23 hundreds, 16 have come in wins and seven in draws, which means he hasn't yet scored a hundred in a Test defeat.

  • The entire Test match lasted only 1007 deliveries, which is among the shortest since 1940 for a Test which produced a decisive result. In these 71 years, only six Tests have ended in fewer deliveries, and that includes the one-innings-per-side game between South Africa and England in Centurion in 2000.

  • Despite so many wickets falling and a low batting average (20.71), the run-rate throughout the match was remarkably high. The rate of 3.95 runs per over is the highest in a Test match with a decisive result in which the average runs per wicket was less than 25. The previous best was in 1902, in a match between the same teams in Johannesburg.

  • For the third time in less than 20 days, a debutant won the Man-of-the-Match award in a Test. Bangladesh's Elias Sunny won the award against West Indies in Chittagong, while R Ashwin did the same in his first Test against West Indies a couple of days ago in Delhi. Vernon Philander, with match figures of 8 for 78, justified his selection over Lonwabo Tsotsobe and made a dream start to his Test career.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter