Pant has the best strike rate among current players, after Kapil and Sehwag. Buttler and Ashwin are a little below, followed by Bairstow. Many of the higher strike rates are from recent years.
Next we take up
Most wickets (40 and more):
Anderson leads by a large margin over Chandrashekhar. Ashwin and Broad are next among current players.
Chandra has the most 5-fors (8) followed by 6 by Anderson, Ashwin and Botham.
Bedser is the only one with 2 10-fors, which came in his first 2 Tests.
Best innings bowling (includes all 7wi and above):
Nothing much from recent years. The 3 best performances were 50 or more years ago.
Best match bowling (includes all 10wm and above):
While there a few from recent years, such as Ashwin’s 12-for in 2016, we can also note AR (Axar) Patel’s 11-for in 2021 which is the best in any pink-ball Test. Note Bedser’s twin 11-wicket hauls at the start of his career. And JK Lever’s 50 and 10-for on debut.
Best bowling average (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, maximum 35.00):
The bowling averages are headed by Illingworth and JK Lever,
The best economy rates are by Illingworth and Nadkarni
The series in 2021-22 resulted in a 2-1 win for South Africa, after India won the first Test. India has failed to win a Test series in SA, although they have won at least one series in all other countries. The best India has done there is an 1-1 draw in 2010-11. The 2021-22 series followed the pattern of 2006-07 where India won the first Test but lost the next two.
Here is an overall summary of Tests between these two countries:
SA leads India 17-15 overall. Both sides appear to have strong home advantages.
We now look at individual performances, starting with
Most runs (500 or more):
Led by Tendulkar and Kallis.
These two have the most centuries (7)
Amla, Kallis and Tendulkar have the most 50+ scores (12).
From the above table, the best by current players is 1236 by Kohli, followed by Rahane, Pujara and Elgar with 800+. RG Sharma is further down.
Highest innings (125 or more):
The highest by current players are 254* by Kohli, followed by double centuries by MA Agarwal and RG Sharma. But no one crossed 125 in this series.
Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):
Kallis has the highest average, followed by Kohli at some distance. Other current players here are Rahane, Elgar and Pujara.
Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):
Sehwag and Azharuddin lead here. Among current players there are RG Sharma (in 3rd place), Kohli and Rahane. Also note Dravid at the bottom of this list.
Most wickets (12 or more):
Led Kumble, followed by Steyn and Srinath at a distance. Ashwin (56) has the most by a current player, followed by Shami, Rabada and Jadeja. Also note M Jansen with 19 in his debut series.
The most 5-fors are 5 by Steyn and Ashwin. No one has taken more than one 10-for.
Best innings bowling (includes all 6wi and more):
The best performance was an 8-for by Klusener on his debut.
Current players here include SN Thakur, Ashwin and Ngidi.
Thakur’s 7-61 in this series is the best for India against SA, surpassing the earlier record of 7-66 by Ashwin (Nagpur, 2015) and 7-120 by Harbhajan (Cape Town, 2011) which was India’s best in SA.
Best match performances (includes all 8wm and more):
Led by Ashwin and Donald with 12-fors, and 10-fors by Steyn, Pollock and V Prasad.
Current players here include Ashwin, Jadeja and Ngidi.
Best bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, all instances):
Headed by Donald and Jadeja (!) Current players here include Jadeja, Shami, Ashwin and Rabada.
Here we see the table of those who scored the most centuries in the first innings:
Ponting (21) is followed by Kallis and Tendulkar with 20. Next are the two Steves, Smith and Waugh with 17. From India, others with 10+ centuries are Dravid (15), Gavaskar (11), Pujara (10) and Sehwag (10).
Current players with 10+ centuries are SPD Smith (17) and Pujara (10).
Those who loved the first innings:
JM Bairstow (Eng) made all his 6 centuries in the first innings.
AF Rae (WI) and Wasim Raja (Pak) made all 4 of their centuries in the first innings.
Also note SP Fleming (NZ) who made 8 of his 9 centuries in the first innings. And KC Wessels (Aus/SA) made 5 of his 6 centuries in the first innings.
Those who hated the first innings:
Taufeeq Umar (Pak) made 7 centuries but none in the first innings.
WW Armstrong (Aus) similarly had 6 centuries, and MG Burgess (NZ) had 5.
The fourth-innings chase is often regarded as the ultimate challenge for a batter. Let us see who have done the best in successful chases.
Most runs: (400+):
GC Smith is the clear leader here. He also has the most centuries (4) and most 50+ scores (10, followed by contemporaries Hayden, Ponting and JL Langer with 7). Also note CG Greenidge’s 214*.
Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag have the most runs for India.
Williamson and Karunaratne are the only current players here, with Amla, Cook and Younis from recent years.
Bradman is not here (but when he batted, a fourth innings chase was often not needed by Australia).
Highest scores in these cases (115 and above):
A total of 76 centuries have been scored here.
Only two double centuries, with KR Mayers scoring his on debut. The next highest in recent years was 153* by K Perera in 2019. There are Morris and Bradman in the same Test at Leeds in 1948, which was the only successful 400+ chase until India followed in 1976. (Years later, MA Butcher emulated Bradman’s 173* at Leeds).
The highest from India are not in the above list.
Viswanath (112) and Gavaskar (102) made their centuries in the same match in 1976, while Tendulkar and Laxman have made 103*.
Highest averages (Minimum 15 innings):
These 21 entries are the only ones with 15 or more innings. GC Smith leads here as well, with Ponting close behind.
From the recent past there are Cook and Amla. Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag represent India.
Kisrsten and Dravid are among those who did not score a century, although Hutton has a 98*.
We will take up bowling in 4th-innings wins in the next part.