After the spectacular display this morning I have spent some quite a bit of time today on Statsguru to see where this it fits in. (If you don’t like stats you should stop reading straight away, but if you’re reading this in the first place you probably like stats.)
– Australia’s first innings lead in this match was 188, but they may still lose. There have been six previous instances of team losing after posting a first innings lead greater than 188 (throwing out Pakistan’s forfeiture at The Oval in 2006 and the bookmaker affected Test in Centurion twelve years ago). Interestingly, Australia have been involved in all six. They’ve been on the losing end three times though; in addition to Headingley 1981 and Calcutta 2001 the also lost at the SCG in 1894 after scoring 586 in the first innings. One of their victories was in South Africa though. At Kingsmead in 1950 they were bowled out for their previous lowest score in South Africa, 75, and conceded a first innings lead of 236. They bowled South Africa out for 99 in the second innings, however and successfully chased 336 to win.
– A draw seems unlikely, so one of South Africa or Australia will win with a completed innings score under 100. South Africa look the more likely victors; if so their 96 all out will be the twelfth lowest all time in a win and the third lowest since the war. The smallest ever is England’s 45 all out at the SCG in 1887 and each of the lowest four are from before 1900. The lowest post-war total in a winning cause is the same 75 all out from above, which may give Australia some hope. The second lowest is New Zealand’s 94 all out against India in 2002. Should Australia come back, their 47 all out will be the second lowest all time.
– Whilst taking five wickets on debut is not too unusual (it’s happened 89 times since the war) Vernon Philander did so with the fewest total deliveries. He bowled seven overs for his 5-15. The only other bowler to take a five-fer on debut in under ten overs is Graham Onions, who took 5-38 in 9.3 overs at Lord’s in 2009.
– Shane Watson’s 5-17 in five overs is the fourth fastest five-fer of all time. The fastest is Ernie Toshack’s 5-2 in just 19 deliveries (2.3 eight ball overs) against India at Brisbane in 1947.
– If Watson’s performance is on the losing side in this Test, he will at least have an understanding captain. Clarke took 6-9 in 6.2 overs in Mumbai in 2004, a Test that Australia lost by 13 runs. That currently stands as the shortest losing five-fer and is level with compatriot Tim May’s 5-9 as the fewest runs conceded in a losing five-fer.