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News

Stubbs smashes first-class triple-century to enter South African record books

He batted for eight hours and 19 minutes to face 372 balls for his 302*

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
23-Feb-2024
Tristan Stubbs made 3 and 1 on Test debut, South Africa vs India, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 1st day, January 3, 2024

Tristan Stubbs made his Test debut last month  •  AFP/Getty Images

Tristan Stubbs became the 11th batter to score a first-class triple-century in South Africa, and the eighth since readmission in what will be seen as a major boost for the Test team. Stubbs is now the leading run-scorer in Division 1 1 of the domestic four-day competition, with two centuries from five matches.
Stubbs made his Test debut in the New Year's Test against India last month and was part of South Africa's A squad that toured Sri Lanka last July, where his century in Colombo suggested he was ready to graduate to the senior side. He was given the opportunity at Newlands, where he batted at No. 4 in Temba Bavuma's injury-enforced absence and scored 3 and 1 in a match that lasted just two days and South Africa lost by seven wickets.
Like most of the first-choice Test players, Stubbs was contractually obliged to play in the SA20 instead of the Test series in New Zealand and had a successful tournament. He was the leading run-scorer for Sunrisers Eastern Cape, who won the title for the second time, with 301 runs, including three half-centuries, and a strike rate of 168.15. But, less than two weeks after lifting that trophy, Stubbs has shown he can play a similar way for longer.
He batted for eight hours and 19 minutes to face 372 balls for his 302* as Warriors declared on 517 for 3 against Kwa-Zulu Natal Inland. Neither side is in with a chance of making next week's final with Warriors currently in fifth place and KZN Inland in last place.
The match also marked a return to action for Mondli Khumalo, who last played in February 2022 and has been recovering from injuries sustained from an assault in the UK. Khumalo underwent four rounds of surgery and was cleared to play a year later, and returned to North Petherton Cricket Club in Somerset for the northern hemipshere summer. This is his first match for his home team since the incident and he was their only wicket-taker. Khumalo bowled 25 overs with a return of 3 for 92 and will continue to play club cricket in England this year while nurturing dreams of higher honours.
For Stubbs, those are already coming true and he could find himself an all-format international in the next few months. He is already a T20 regular - and a sought-after player in leagues - and could add to his lone ODI cap as South Africa look to build towards the 2027 World Cup, and should be part of the immediate Test plans.
South Africa's next Test assignment is a two-Test series in the West Indies in August, followed by two matches in Bangladesh in October before home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to close out the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle. They are expected to have Bavuma back to lead the side but with Dean Elgar's retirement, Tony de Zorzi (incidentally the last batter to get a triple-century in South Africa) is expected to move up to open and there could be space for Stubbs in the middle order.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent for South Africa and women's cricket