Durban cricket pitch is known for its pace and bounce. For the past several years it had deteriorated a lot and now it assists batsmen so much unlike previously.
I remember during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, India took on England in a day and night encounter at Durban and many cricket enthusiasts talked about winning the toss and batting first. Because Durban had a history of assisting fast bowlers, when they bowl second. After winning the toss Sourav Ganguly rightly asked England to bowl first. Ashish Nehra justified Ganguly’s decision by taking 6 wickets in that match. My friends and me had talked so much about the English batsmen in that match. Except Andrew Flintoff everyone struggled. The conditions will become more favourable for fast bowlers when lights are on. It is extremely difficult to bat second at Durban against fast bowlers under lights, although the situation is slightly okay for batsmen nowadays when compared to previous cases.
So how about batting second at Durban under lights and scoring a hundred at brisk pace. That too against the home team who has had a history of top class fast bowlers. I am sure that this South African bowling attack had more finesse than the Indian bowling attack that took on England during the 2003 encounter. Also this match was played one year earlier than the India-England match. I am sure that either the quality of this pitch would have been at par with the 2003 pitch, or it had more for the bowlers than the 2003 pitch. I had watched almost all matches of this ODI series and before that, all matches of the test series. But certainly I could not remember this innings of Adam Gilchrist. I have come across this knock accidentally and then I realized that I had watched this series.
I really admire Gilly due to this ability of him which majority of other batsmen can’t do. I have heard that Viv Richards did the same though I had not watched his knocks. Only few would disagree when it comes to picking up Gilchrist as the all-time greatest wicket-keeper batsman. Once Brian Lara had picked up Kumar Sangakkara ahead of Gilchrist, among the list of best players he had played against in his career. But I will definitely pick Gilchrist as my all-time favourite wicket-keeper batsman. Also the bowling attack of their team when Gilchrist, Richards and Sangakkara played is something to be looked into. Despite many great knocks of Sangakkara, Sri Lanka was on the losing side. And that was not the case with West Indies and Australia. Because their bowling unit was quite brilliant. Almost all great knocks of Viv and Gilly resulted in victory for their teams.
I have great memories of day night matches. It started from various tournaments played at Sharjah. Then when it comes to matches in West Indies and South Africa, even if you watch day matches it will be night here in India due to the difference in the time. I also like the natural beauty of West Indies and South Africa.
- Series – Australia tour of South Africa, 7 Match ODI Series, 5th ODI
- Year – 2002
- Venue – Kingsmead, Durban
- Date – 3 April, 2002
- Result – Australia won
- Margin – 8 wickets
- Player of the match – Adam Gilchrist
- Series won by – Australia
- Margin – 5-1
- Player of the series – Ricky Ponting
Written on June 2016