On the first day Australia set a frenetic pace reaching 5/482 in 86.5 overs (run rate 5.55) which from this list looks like the most runs made by a team in a day with a run rate exceeding 5 runs per over. Their total of 550 in 107.2 (run rate 5.12) ended up being the third highest run rate for a completed test innings. Australia were 3/55 at one stage before Warner and Clarke added 155 in just 24.2 overs (run rate 6.37)! Interestingly there have only ever been three other partnerships of 150+ in fewer than 150 balls in test cricket (noting that only in more recent times have the length in balls of partnerships been recorded), and Clarke features again in of them.
- Hayden and Ponting (151* in 24.2 overs) vs Zimbabwe in Sydney, 2003
- Clarke and Gilchrist (162* in 20 overs) vs England in Perth, 2006 (while Gilchrist smashed 102* off 59 balls, Clarke remained 135*)
- Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi (170 in 21.3 overs) vs India in Lahore, 2006 (in this game only 8 wickets fell in two innings and there were 6 century-makers!)
Straight after lunch on the first day the number of runs per over were 10, 10, 11, 6, 9, 17, 8, 6, 16: 93 runs in 9 overs! Warner scored 50 off 26 in that time finally falling for 119 off 112 balls. In all 178 runs off just 26 overs were scored in the middle session.
The next partnership between Clarke and Hussey was worth 272 runs in just 49.3 overs, with Hussey bringing up his second century of the series. Clarke at one stage had 33 4s in reaching 168* with more 4s than singles (28)! He ended up with 224 runs for the day despite coming in during the 15th over. Only eleven times have more runs been scored by a batsman in a day of test cricket, three of those times by Bradman and three more by Sehwag. Clarke also became the first person in test cricket history to score 4 double centuries in the same calendar year (in just his 8th test). (Don Bradman once scored 4 double centuries in the space of 7 tests in 1930-31.) Clarke must have tremendous stamina and concentration to achieve such a feat. He currently averages over 100 in both Brisbane (916 runs @ 114.5 in 9 tests, 11 innings with 4 100s) and Adelaide (1109 runs in 8 tests, 13 innings with 5 100s).
Imran Tahir ended up with bowling figures of 23 overs for 180 in the first innings and 14 overs for 80, to concede the most runs in a match without taking a wicket. The first innings economy rate in fourth in this list of expensive bowling analyses in a test innings (minimum 10 overs).
Australia set South Africa 430 to win in well over 4 sessions and after South African slumped to 4/45 it seemed like the game might end on the fourth day. Wickets 5 to 10 then survived for 762 balls, the most in the fourth innings in a test. South Africa managed to defy the Australian attack for a total of 148 overs, the longest fourth innings in overs since England’s effort against South Africa in 1995 (in that game Mike Atherton and Jack Russell batted together for the last 274 minutes). After the fourth wicket fell it was Faf du Plessis on debut and AB de Villiers who dug deep and blunted the attack, with a partnership of 89 runs in 68 overs (32 in the first 29 overs including 1 run in a stretch of 8 overs).
According to this list AB de Villiers with his 33 off 220 balls set a record for the longest test innings in balls faced without scoring a b0undary (in games in which this was recorded). There are only two longer individual innings in minutes where a boundary was not scored:
- Jimmy Adams scored 48* off 212 balls in 334 minutes vs Pakistan in 2000
- Colin McDonald scored 47 off 169 balls in 248 minutes vs England in 1958/59
It was also the second slowest 30+ score in test history, second to Chris Tavare’s 35 off 240 balls.
Nathan Lyon toiled for 50 overs conceding just 49 runs. The last time someone bowled as many maidens (31) as he did was back in 1982 by Dilip Doshi according to this list.
Du Plessis stayed until the very end, having by far the longest innings by a debutant in the final innings of a test. He survived for 466 minutes and 376 balls while the next best by a debutant was 313 minutes. Even by a non-debutant only six individual fourth innings have lasted longer. What an amazing way to start a test career!