No cricket fan can ever forget the 2006 Johannesburg ODI between Australia and South Africa where the latter chased down 435 runs to win the five-match ODI series 3-2. The match witnessed such high drama that the Proteas fans were left in tears when Mark Boucher smashed Brett Lee over mid-on for a four to win the contest for the home team. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith revisited the classic and revealed Jacques Kallis’ words at the mid-innings which “broke the ice” after their team conceded 434/4 in 50 overs.
“Walking off the field after winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, you can imagine I wasn’t feeling that great as a captain. We had a very short space of time to turn it around. I thought ‘Let me pad up first as I have to open the batting. Let me get that done first’. It’s about getting my head ready to bat and we’ll get the team in the right frame of mind,” Smith told cricket.com.
“While I was padding up, Jacques Kallis came launching into the room and said, ‘Bowlers we’ve done a great job and Australia are 15 runs short’. When the opposition had scored 434, it broke the ice a little bit and everyone burst out laughing. We then set some targets and everyone burst out laughing again,” he added further.
For South Africa, Herschelle Gibbs played a knock of 175 off 111 balls with the help of 21 fours and 7 sixes. Smith also played an innings of 90 and in the end, it was Mark Boucher with this knock of 50 who sealed the win for the Proteas.
“Then it was just about knowing, ‘I’m going out first. How do I get the team off to a good start and help the side get some momentum.’ But what a rollercoaster! Herschelle Gibbs was incredible and so was Ricky Ponting’s knock. And I think it’s still the greatest ODI ever played in terms of the ebbs and the flows, the final-ball finish and the emotions at the Wanderers,” said Smith.
Earlier in the game, Australia captain Ricky Ponting scored 164 runs with the help of 13 fours and 9 sixes to help the side post 434/4 at the Wanderers.
Michael Hussey also chipped in with 81 runs. For South Africa, Roger Telemachus returned with the figures of 2-87.
In this particular five-match series, South Africa had taken a 2-0 lead but then Australia won the third and fourth ODI to bring the series to 2-2 and it all came down to the series decider in Johannesburg.
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