England’s recent 2-1 victory was a small milestone on the second-oldest Test rivalry which started in 1889 and is only surpassed by the Ashes. The early Tests were often one-sided though SA had a strong set of spinners, though just before the Great War SF Barnes took a record 49 wickets in 4 Tests against South Africa.
South Africa was often more competitive in later years. However, in the 145 Tests between the two countries, England lead South Africa 58-32 with 55 draws. In South Africa, England lead 31-19 with 31 draws in a total of 81 Tests. In England, England lead 27-13 with 24 draws in 64 Tests. There were no Tests between these countries between 1965 and 1994.
We now look at career figures after the recently concluded series. Interestingly, some long-standing records were surpassed or equaled by players on both sides.
Batting: Most runs (1000 and above)
AN Cook is here as he is only 5 short of a thousand. Amla and de Villiers are the only other current players here, while Bruce Mitchell scored the most runs. Kallis has the most centuries (8) while Mitchell has the most 50+ scores (23)
Highest individual scores (175 and above):
Ben Stokes made the highest score (258) for England in South Africa, surpassing the 243 by Eddie Paynter in 1938-39. (That was at Durban, but in the 3rd Test of 1938-39 and not the 5th timeless Test of that series).
It was also the highest score by any No 6 batsman in any Test, surpassing 250 by KD Walters (Aus v NZ) in 1976-77. The previous record for an England No 6 was 178 by GA Hick against India in 1992-93.
Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings batted), 40 and above:
Largely dominated by the old-timers, with only Amla, de Villers and Bell among current players.
Now to bowling:
Most wickets (40 and above):
Several current players here, headed by Anderson and Morkel.
Best bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls, 25 and below):
Barnes inevitably heads this. Verity has the best economy rate with 1.45 and Barnes the best strike rate with 25.5
Best match bowling (12 and more wickets):
Kangiso Rabada now has the best match figures of 13-144 for SA v Eng, surpassing the 13-192 by Hugh Tayfield in 1957.
Innings bowling (8 wickets and above):
Dominated by the old-timers, especially Barnes besides some startling returns by Lohmann and Briggs. The only entry from modern times is Devon Malcolm’s 9-57 in 1994.
This is long enough already, so we continue in a second part. See https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/a-review-of-all-south-africa-england-tests-part-2/