At about 18:20 GMT on March 19, 2001, Courtney Walsh, the tireless Jamaica and West Indies fast bowler, made more history by getting that unprecedented 500th Test wicket. His victim was South Africa's Jacques Kallis, LBW for no score. Walsh had earlier dismissed Gary Kirsten, brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs for 22, low down on the off-side, for his 499th Test victim. Wickets 499 and 500 both came with the score on 38.
Considering that Walsh has already bowled over 4800 overs in Test cricket alone, not to mention over twelve years of playing for both Gloucestershire and Jamaica, it is very conceivable that Walsh has bowled almost 15,000 overs in first class cricket. At about 20 metres of a run up, that is about 1,800,000 meters, 1800 kilometres of delivering a 5.5 ounce ball over the years. Cars do not last that long sometimes, much less human bodies, which are more easily broken. Yet, Walsh has soldiered on since 1983/84. What longevity; what a warrior, what a survivor!
At the close of day three of the Second Test at Port of Spain, Darryl Cullinan, who played flawlessly for 103 in the first innings, is again playing nearly as well, and is 41 not out. Opener Herschelle Gibbs, probably batting and battling for his team's survival, has 57 not out, his fifth Test half century, as South Africa closed the day on 130-2, 74 ahead. South Africa must be looking for a further 250 runs to be in a favourable position to win this Test. Anything less, and they could well lose the game.
Earlier, the West Indies, thanks again to Jacobs, the batsman this time, managed a useful 56 run lead. For the second time in Test cricket, Jacobs had been left standing high and dry in the 90's, 93 not out this time, as the West Indies recovered from losing their 8th wicket for the overnight 250. Jacobs and fast bowler Merve Dillon put on 71 for the 9th wicket to allow the West Indies that small but significant lead, a lead that cost South Africa at least two wickets. Dillon was out in the last over before lunch, but Walsh and Jacobs did put on 21 runs for the 10th wicket before a mix up between the two robbed Jacobs of his first Test century.
It was a hard for the South African bowlers, but Allan Donald persevered to get 4-91 from 30 overs. Shaun Pollock also managed 3-55 from 28 overs. It was difficult early day for the South African bowlers, and Pollock showed how frustrated the West Indies lower order batsmen had made him.
South Africa still have much to do, to set the West Indies a challenging target, but day three was all about one man, Courtney Walsh, a great colossus, in his 129th Test, getting his 500th Test wicket.
What a monumental achievement that is.