Australia have played ten Tests at Kingsmead in Durban, the venue for the first Test of their upcoming series against South Africa. Since their first appearance there in 1935-36, they have won five Tests and lost three. Nine Australian batsmen have scored eleven Test hundreds between them at the venue over the last 83 years. Here is a look back at those instances, in chronological order.
Stan McCabe and Arthur Chipperfield, First Test, 1935-36
The opening Test of the 1935-36 series resulted in a facile nine-wicket win for the visitors. After the spin duo of Chuck Fleetwood-Smith (4/64) and Bill O’Reilly (3/55) kept South Africa to 248, Stan McCabe imposed himself on the proceedings. Batting at number three, McCabe struck a fine 149, adding 161 for the second wicket with Bill Brown, and 96 for the third wicket with Len Darling.
McCabe’s dismissal to Bob Crisp induced a wobble from 269/2 to 299/6, but Arthur Chipperfield, who came in at 277/4, ensured that Australia’s grip on the Test was not lost. He went on to reach his only Test century, before being the ninth man out for 109 in just under three hours. Australia gained a first-innings lead of 181, and comfortably achieved their target of 102 on the final day.
Jack Fingleton, Fifth Test, 1935-36
Australia resoundingly won by an innings and six runs to clinch the series 4-0. South Africa were bowled out for 222, thanks to leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett (7/100), to which Australia replied with 455. An opening stand of 162 between Jack Fingleton and Bill Brown set the tone, with the former going on to score 118 – his third consecutive ton. Fingleton amassed 478 runs in the series, at 79.66.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting celebrates the second of his two centuries in the 2005-06 Durban Test (source – gettyimages)
Neil Harvey, Third Test, 1949-50
Leading the five-match series 2-0, Australia staged an incredible come-from-behind victory at Kingsmead to seal the rubber. After Eric Rowan (143) guided South Africa to 311, the off-spin of Hugh Tayfield (7/23) demolished Australia for a paltry 75. Ian Johnson (5/34) and Bill Johnston (4/39) then helped bowl South Africa out for 99 in the second dig, the last eight wickets falling for 14 runs.
Australia were reduced to to 59/3 in their chase of 336, at which point strode out Neil Harvey, the supremely talented 21-year-old southpaw. The score at the start of the last day read 80/3, which soon became a disconcerting 95/4 with the departure of opener Arthur Morris. However, Harvey and Sam Loxton (54) put on 135 for the fifth wicket to turn the tide.
Harvey was undeterred by the deteriorating pitch, and ended up producing one of the great fourth-innings efforts in Test history. He batted for nearly five and a half hours, staying unbeaten on a resolute 151, and shared in an unbroken stand of 106 with the patient Colin McCool to take Australia home by five wickets with 25 minutes remaining.
Mark Waugh, Third Test, 1993-94
The teams were locked at 1-1 coming into this deciding Test, which marked the end of the illustrious Test career of Australian captain Allan Border. South Africa led by 153 on the first innings, and had Australia at 157/4 on the final day. But Mark Waugh, batting at number five, ensured the safety of a draw with a stylish, unbeaten 113. Waugh and Border shared a fifth-wicket stand of 140*.
Phillip Hughes was only 20 years old when he scored hundreds in both innings at Durban in 2008-09, the youngest man to achieve the feat (source – gettyimages)
Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, Second Test, 2005-06
Australian captain Ricky Ponting immediately asserted himself on this Test, with a first-day knock of 103. His third-wicket partnership with Damien Martyn realised 101, and laid the base for Australia’s sturdy total of 369. South Africa then conceded a first-innings lead of 102 – despite a gritty 114 from Jacques Kallis – with Brett Lee (5/69) starring with the ball for the visitors.
The second innings saw a second-wicket stand of 201 between Matthew Hayden and Ponting, which brought Australia closer to the series win. Hayden compiled a sedate 102, while ‘Punter’ was more aggressive, belting 116 to achieve the feat of scoring twin hundreds in a Test for the third time within four months. Set 410 to win, South Africa caved in to Shane Warne (6/86) and lost by 112 runs.
Phillip Hughes and Simon Katich, Second Test, 2008-09
The next Australian batsman to score centuries in each innings of a Test was the late Phillip Hughes, with Kingsmead being the scene again. South Africa were taken to the cleaners on the first day, as the left-handed opening duo of the 20-year-old Hughes, playing only in his second Test, and Simon Katich (108) put on 184 at more than four runs an over, until Hughes fell for 115 from just 151 balls.
The openers’ display steered Australia to 352, after which South Africa folded for 138. With the cushion of a big lead, Hughes piled on the runs again, this time scoring a career-best 160 to help set the hosts a target of 546. Australia triumphed by 175 runs to win their fourth successive series in South Africa, while Hughes became the youngest man to hit centuries in both innings of a Test.