South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 5th day

The highest chase in Johannesburg and Philander's feat

Stats highlights from an absolutely riveting day of Test cricket at the Wanderers

S Rajesh

November 21, 2011

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Vernon Philander took 5 for 70, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 5th day, November 21, 2011
Vernon Philander became the fourth South African to take five-fors in his first two Tests © Getty Images

  • Australia's score of 310 is the highest in a successful chase at the Wanderers, and the fourth-highest in South Africa. Australia have been the winning team on three of those four occasions.

  • Ricky Ponting's 62 is his highest Test score in more than a year. During this period, he has averaged 20.46 in 16 innings, with only two fifties. Before this knock, he had gone 13 innings without a half-century.

  • Similarly, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson saved their best for this key day as well. Haddin played 106 balls for his 55 - it was the first time he'd faced more than 100 deliveries in a Test innings in 17 innings, extending over almost a year. Johnson had a poor game with the ball, but as a batsman he made significant contributions in both innings, remaining unbeaten on 38 and 40. His match aggregate of 78 runs was his highest since March 2009, when he'd scored 35 and 123 not out in Cape Town. This was his 26th Test since that game.

  • For South Africa, Vernon Philander was the undoubted star of the series. He finished with 5 for 70 in the second innings, and thus has two five-fors in his first two Tests. The last two bowlers to achieve this were Fidel Edwards and Richard Johnson, both in 2003. Before that, it was Narendra Hirwani way back in 1988. Philander is also the fourth South African to achieve this. The others - Peter Heine, Lindsay Tuckett and Norman Gordon - all achieved it before 1956.

  • The result will hurt South Africa's aspirations to take the top spot in the ICC Test rankings. The defeat pushes South Africa down to 115 points, well behind England's 125. Had South Africa won, they'd have moved up to second place with 120. Had they then beaten Sri Lanka 3-0 in the home series to follow, they'd have moved to No.1 with 126 points. Even if they achieve that margin against Sri Lanka now, they'll only have 119 points.

With inputs from Travis Basevi.

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

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Posted by Humdingers on (November 22, 2011, 6:38 GMT)

@DaveBrown - mate check your stats before writing gibberish. Have a look when the last time India lost at home! They got to no.1 for a reason - not by chance. The same way as England's temporary reign at No.1 - they played good cricket over a period of time. The litmus test for England is that they have to win in ALL CONDITIONS - not just in their backyard. The great team of the WI's and AUS did it. Until this England team can claim that, there is no way they can be branded as great.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (November 22, 2011, 4:28 GMT)

As an SA fan, it's frustrating to watch Mitchell Johnson. I can't figure out whether he is in there for bowling or for batting. As bowler he makes me happy but as a batsman he is irritating.

Posted by Meety on (November 22, 2011, 2:19 GMT)

@Dave Brown - neither assignment in the middle east/asia against Pakistan & SL will be easy, particularly Pakistan are on the rise & have done well recently in the UAE. Sri Lanka at home will be a tough gig! Success in those countries will confirm England's #1 position. Since the fall of the last dynasty - the issue is to actually keep the #1 position for an extended period. Failure to win both series, sets up the need to beat India in India to stay #1, & THAT will be tough! @TheAbacus - very true - but you forgot about a large section of the Indian cricket fans too, who not only have bagged other countries once they got to #1 (particulalrly sticking it to SL fans) - but have since been in denial once losing the top spot! Not to mention the far too unhealthy worship of a certain batsmen searching for a landmark 100!!!!!!!

Posted by sawifan on (November 22, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

@OhhhhMattyMatty... i too think ENG are a better side and will beat SAF in ENG, but dont u think comparing a 2 match series to a 5 match series is stupid?!?! After 2 matches in the last Ashes it was 1-0 to ENG, and after 3 matches (the usual length of a AUS v SAF series) the Ashes was 1-1... Stupid comparison! If it was a 5 match series, SAF could've possibly (tho unlikely) won this series 4-1...

Posted by Wefinishthis on (November 22, 2011, 0:27 GMT)

Why is there no talk of dropping Siddle? For good this time. He is just as inconsistent and incompetent as Johnson and his stats are even worse. When you have players like Copeland, Cutting, Butterworth, Faulkner, Coulter-Nile and Pattinson amongst others who are demanding to be given a fair go, we simply should not be tolerating continuously poor performances from our fast bowlers. O'Keefe should be no.1 followed by Lyon and Haurtiz as well but that is a different story. Harris, Cummins, Copeland, O'Keefe should be the bowlers with Cutting and Butterworth the next in line should any of those not perform.

Posted by TheAbacus on (November 21, 2011, 23:49 GMT)

Fascinating to see English fans sounding exactly like Aussie fans from a few years ago. Cricket is a great leveler kids.. let's see how long Cook and his men live up to their newly earned reputation as champions.

Posted by MinusZero on (November 21, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

Despite Ponting and Johnsons batting. They must both be dropped. Ponting should step down before being pushed. Johnson's bowling is no where near a high enough standard for an opening bowler.

Posted by Don_The_Green on (November 21, 2011, 23:17 GMT)

It's a surprise that Philander has taken this long to debut. With 200+ first class wickets at a tad under 20, he has the performances to warrant his spot. I wish him all the best in his career, and combined with Steyn & Morkel, they could be an attack to rival some of the greats. South Africa will definitely rise further in the Test rankings, but its just a matter of how high!?!

Posted by orangtan on (November 21, 2011, 22:40 GMT)

@Dave Brown, regarding your carping remarks against India, England's pretensions will soon be laid bare, pakistan are very consisitent now and will easily win the series in the UAE while the Sri lankans will take steps to buck up and defeat the old enemy. So, by the time the South africans arrive next year England will already be on the skids.

Posted by mathematicised on (November 21, 2011, 21:15 GMT)

Let's just wait on the English. Wait for them to win on sub-continent wickets. They came close last time and were walloped in the recent ODI series. Granted that Tests are a completely different ball-game, but it's a little too soon to go ga-ga over these guys just yet. India learned the hard way. England, beware!

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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