South Africa won the recent series 2-1, thus completing a hat-trick of successive Test series victories in Australia. They had earlier won 2-1 in 2008-09 an 1-0 in 2012-13. However, Australia was doing better in South Africa, winning 2-1 in 2008-09, drawing 1-1 in 2011-12 and winning 2-1 in 2013-14.
It may or may not be significant that Australia won the last Test which was a pink-ball Test, the second to be played in Australia.
Here we see the summary of all Tests between these teams:
Australia still has a healthy lead across all venues. The long-forgotten neutral Tests were part of the Tri-Series in 1912, the only Test series of its kind. It was given up as a bad idea (appropriate as it was the year of the “Titanic”).
However these were the first neutral Tests ever played. Kelleway and Bardsley scored centuries at Lord’s, and their names finally went up on the “neutral” batting board there in 2010 when another Test between Australia and Pakistan was played there. Marcus North and Shane Watson got on the bowling board then. It was the only Test where Shahid Afridi led Pakistan, and was followed by the short and ill-starred reign of Salman Butt.
Coming back to the usual numbers:
Most runs (800 and above):
Amla and Warner are the only current players here. Note Bradman’s meteoric series, in which he became the only Test player to be left on 299 not out. No one has scored 199* in a Test, though there have been a few 99*s.
Harvey and Ponting scored 8 centuries each, followed by Hayden with 6.
The most scores of 50+ were made by Ponting (19), Kallis (15), de Villiers (14) and Harvey (13)
Highest innings (175 and above):
Nothing from this low-scoring series, though there are some from 2012.
Batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, average 30 and above):
Amla and Duminy represent the current players. Harvey has an average much higher than that of Graeme Pollock, the next in line.
Now for bowling:
Most wickets (30 and above):
Warne has by far the highest tally. Steyn, Siddle and Lyon represent the current players.
Best innings bowling:
Nothing from the current players. Note the havoc which Grimmett used to cause.
Best match bowling:
Again, nothing from the current players though there is one by the recently-retired MG Johnson in 2014. Grimmett dominates here as well.
Bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):
Grimmett and other old-timers occupy the top 3 places followed by Warne. Steyn, Siddle and Lyon are also there.
It can be seen that the best economy rate is by Goddard (1.72) and the best strike rate is by Whitty (41.1) followed by Steyn with 46.2
To be continued