Australia vs South Africa: 10 years ago on March 12, Proteas chased Aussies’ mammoth total of 434

Exactly 10 years ago On March 12, 2006, the greatest ODI match between South Africa and Australia was played in Johannesburg. The first time any team had scored over four hundred in International cricket and the side batting second managed to chase it down.

Australia had won the toss and elected to bat. The game was electrifying from the word go, with both the Australian openers managing to score half centuries. The first wicket partnership of Adam Gilchrist and Katich was worth 97 runs from 92 balls.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting batted beautifully, managing two big partnerships with Katich and Hussey both worth 119 runs and 158 runs, respectively. He also managed a quick 33-run partnership from nine balls with Andrew Symonds. Ricky Ponting entered when Australia were 97/1 (15.2) and was out by Telemachus when Australia were 407/4 (47.4). He scored a whopping 164 runs from 105 balls, and batted for over two-and-a half-hours. His innings included 13 fours and 9 sixes with a strike rate of 156.19.

Mike Hussey played an important innings too. He scored 81 runs from 51 balls at a strike rate of 158.82. His innings included 9 fours and 3 sixes. Hussey played more of a supportive innings to Ricky Ponting putting Australia in a healthy position before Symonds joined the party and scored a quick-fire 27 runs from 13 balls.

Australia seemed all set for a victory in the game and series but they knew they had to keep fighting against a strong South African side. Having scored 434-4 from 50 overs, Australia seemed to be in a healthy position to wrap up the series. But the best was yet to come….

South Africa got off to an edgy start, losing their first wicket early for just 1 run. The team was at 3-1 from 8 balls when Herschelle Gibbs came to the centre to bat. He along with Grame Smith put South Africa in a fighting position, restoring the team’s faith that 434 was achievable.

Smith was second to go at 190-2 having scored 90 runs from 55 balls, his innings included 13 fours and 2 sixes. Smith dismissal put an end to the 187-run partnership (highest of the game) from 125 balls. Gibbs and AB De Villiers managed a 94-run partnership. AB played a very supportive innings, giving majority of the strike to the inform Gibbs.

AB De Villiers was out at 284-3. Next to go was Gibbs at 299-4. The wicket of Gibbs put everyone at the edge of their seats. He batted for over two hours, having scored 175 runs from just 111 balls (his career best). Gibbs innings included of 21 fours and 7 sixes.

With 136 runs to chase from 109 balls it was time for South Africa’s middle order to step up. Mark Boucher stepped up to the occasion. He played a calm innings and fought on till the very end. The 35 runs of 18 balls from Van Der Wath was a handy innings. Towards the end the figures read, 2 runs needed from 3 balls with 1 one wicket in hand. Ntini gave strike to Mark Boucher and the scores are level.

With just one run to get, Mark Boucher hit a four taking South Africa to 438-9 with one ball to spare. South Africa sealed the match and series in the best game to have ever been played in International cricket.

The man of the match award was given to both Ponting and Gibbs for their brilliant innings. South Africa lost a few quick wickets towards the end but the composure of Boucher ensured that they reached home safely.

Gibbs innings is the most memorable one as it led South Africa to the most successful run chase in the history of one day internationals.