Last Updated: February 23, 2023, 07:58 IST
On this day in 2002, Australian legend Adam Gilchrist produced one of the most devastating innings in his Test career when he pulverized a skilled South African attack to all parts of the ground. In the first Test of the Australia tour of South Africa 2001-02 that year, the opening day had ended with the honours pretty much even at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
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Opener Matthew Hayden gave a good start to his side as he scored a quickfire hundred (122 from 189 balls) against the home team which had the likes of Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Andre Nel among others. Hayden’s ton was studded with 18 boundaries and two maximums before he was dismissed late into the fifth hour. Skipper Steve Waugh could make 32 before being sent back.
Gilchrist came into the match in the last hour of the first day when his team were tottering at 293/5. Gilly and Damien Martyn played out the remaining 10 overs of the day to finish on 331. The following day, he was dropped by Kallis on 35 before he launched one of the most brutal assaults ever witnessed in Test history.
After reaching his fifty, Gilchrist stepped up the tempo as his fifth Test century came in 121 balls. But it took just 91 balls to reach his double-century, which would remain the highest score of his decorated career.
His unbeaten 204 off 213 balls blitzkrieg was dotted with 19 fours and eight sixes, which also set the standard for the rest of the series. At one point, when he was on 169, Gilly narrowly missed hitting an advertising hoarding that promised a bar of gold to anyone who hit it. Despite missing out on becoming a millionaire, he also added 317 runs with Damien Martyn who finished on 133.
He also became the fifth wicketkeeper ever to score 200, Imtiaz Ali, Taslim Arif, Brendon Kuruppu, compatriot Greg Blewitt and Andy Flower reached that milestone before him. The Aussies closed their innings at 652/7, and they rolled the Proteas for 159 and 133 and won the match by an innings and 360 runs. Glenn McGrath being the chief destroyer picking eight wickets.
While the world witnessed one of the most aggressive innings ever in Test cricket. But it was short lived as Gilchrist’s record was overtaken three weeks later by New Zealand’s Nathan Astle with his 222-against England.
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