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Stats Analysis

The best bowling day in more than 100 years

A stunning day of Test cricket in Cape Town produced a whole bunch of statistical highlights. Here are some of the major ones

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Michael Clarke was one of two batsmen to be dismissed twice today. Jacques Rudolph was the other, making it the first time a batsman from each team had been dismissed twice on the same day in a Test  •  Getty Images

Michael Clarke was one of two batsmen to be dismissed twice today. Jacques Rudolph was the other, making it the first time a batsman from each team had been dismissed twice on the same day in a Test  •  Getty Images

  • Twenty-three wickets fell in the day, which is the highest in over 100 years. In fact, only three times have more batsmen been dismissed in a day, and all of them before 1903. The record stays at 27, in a Test at Lord's between England and Australia in 1888. The same two teams were involved in the other two matches also when more than 23 wickets fell: in Melbourne, when 25 went down on the opening day in 1902, and at The Oval in 1896, when 24 wickets went down on the second day.
  • Australia were bundled out for 47, which is their lowest score in, once again, over 100 years. South Africa's innings lasted only 24.3 overs, which is their lowest since their readmission to Test cricket.
  • For only the third time in Test history, some part of all four innings of a match were witnessed in a single day - Australia lost two wickets from their first innings and all ten in the second, while South Africa were bundled out in their first and then lost a wicket in their second. The two previous occasions when this happened were both relatively recent: in 2000 at Lord's when England played West Indies, and in the New Zealand-India Test in Hamilton in 2002.
  • However, for the first time in the history of Test cricket, a batsman from both sides was dismissed twice in a day: for Australia, Michael Clarke suffered that fate, while Jacques Rudolph was the unfortunate batsman for South Africa. On the two previous occasions when a part of all four innings were played on a single day, the team batting last ended the day without losing a wicket.
  • In Australia's second innings, Nathan Lyon, the No.11 batsman, top-scored with 14, which makes it only the eighth instance of such an occurrence. Bizarrely, three of those have happened in Cape Town. The previous such instance was also at Newlands in 2005, when Steve Harmison top-scored with 42 in a team total of 304. (Click here for the full list.)
  • When Australia's ninth wicket fell in their second innings, their score was 21. The last wicket put together 26, more than double the runs scored by all the previous wickets. That's only the second such instance - the only previous such example was in a drawn Test between England and West Indies at The Oval in 1980. In their second innings, England lost their ninth wicket at 92, but eventually finished with a total of 209.
  • For both sides, there were some stunning performances, almost entirely from bowlers. Two bowlers bowled less than eight overs and finished with five-wicket hauls, which are among the quickest such hauls.
  • Philander took his wickets on debut, which makes his effort extra special: only four South African bowlers have taken more wickets on Test debut.
  • Conditions were so difficult that even Jacques Kallis couldn't survive, falling for his first duck in almost four years. The last time he was dismissed without scoring a run was in the Boxing Day Test against West Indies in 2007. He played 56 innings in the interim period, and got off the mark each time, except once, when he remained unbeaten on 0.
  • Despite being bundled out for 96 in their first innings and conceding a 188-run lead, South Africa batted with such poise in the second that they have a fine chance of winning the match. If they do, it'll be the biggest first-innings deficit that they've turned around into a victory. The previous largest was 148, also against Australia in Durban, but that was a dead-rubber game in 2002 after Australia had already taken a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series. In fact, South Africa have been pretty good at turning around first-innings deficits into wins against Australia: of their five Test wins after 100-plus deficits, three have come against Australia. (Click here for their wins after deficits when they batted second, and here when they batted first.)
  • With inputs from Travis Basevi.

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