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Donald debuts on the World Cup stage

Donald makes South Africa's debut World Cup game one to savour

Dileep Premachandran

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The dressing room celebrates a famous victory © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Allan Donald
Series/Tournaments: Benson & Hedges World Cup

Allan Donald
3-34 v Australia, 6th match, 1992

Allan Donald had already announced his arrival on the world stage two months earlier, taking 5 for 29 against India in South Africa's first match after nearly 22 years of isolation. His duel with Sachin Tendulkar had been especially eye-catching, but change was still the name of the game as South Africa headed across the Indian Ocean for their first World Cup.

Clive Rice, in the twilight of a remarkable career, was controversially left out of the squad, and it was Kepler Wessels, who once donned the baggy-green cap, that led the side out for their opening game against Australia. For South Africa, it was an especially poignant moment, because the SCG had hosted both their first and last Tests on Australian soil.

The match couldn't have had a more dramatic start. Donald, face daubed with zinc cream and resembling an ancient warrior, ran in smoothly and produced a magnificent delivery that shaped away from Geoff Marsh. The thin edge was seen and heard by thousands, but umpire Brian Aldridge, from New Zealand, didn't respond to the vociferous South African appeal.

Donald's first spell was a luckless one, but with Marsh barely able to time the ball off the square, and the fielding tigerish, the batsmen were never allowed to get away. Adrian Kuiper then struck twice in two deliveries, producing a peach to nail Allan Border, and by the time Donald returned, Australia were in disarray.

He duly pushed them over the edge with some wonderfully controlled pace bowling. Tom Moody went leg before, the hamstrung Ian Healy hit one into the capacious hands of Brian McMillan, and Peter Taylor had little idea about the ball that messed up his stumps. Australia limped to 170 for 9 from their 49 overs, with Donald's 3 for 34 leading an impressive bowling effort.

Wessels and Peter Kirsten knocked off the runs with more than three overs to spare, and after all those years away, South Africa were back on the big stage that they had been forced to vacate after the triumphs of the van der Merwe-Bacher years.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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