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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Graeme Smith double and Makhaya Ntini 10-fer humble England at Lord's

South Africa's Makhaya Ntini
South Africa's Makhaya Ntini
©Reuters

August 2, 2003 - The South Africa tour of England in 2003 meant a lot for a lot of people. It being a five-match test series, it gave an opportunity to multiple cricketers to make their careers, breaking a couple in the process.

 

It was the same series in which Michael Vaughan got the England captaincy from Nasser Hussain, Graeme Smith established his credentials as a South African captain and young opener, Makhaya Ntini made a name for himself with a 10-wicket haul at Lord's (a 5-fer in each innings), Andrew Flintoff scored his then highest test score of 147. Darren Gough returned to the England team after two years and South Africa almost won a series in England.

After the first test was drawn, England batted first in the second match of the five-match series at Lord's. As England found out that day, Ntini was too good for them and the team was bowled out for just 173 in the first innings. Andrew Hall and Shaun Pollock also shared 5 wickets between them.

For England, newly-appointed captain Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough were the only two batsmen to reach 30s.

It felt as if South Africa were batting on a different pitch altogether as openers Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs added 133 runs for the opening partnership. Smith, who was coming on the back of a 277-run knock at Birmingham in the last match, scored another double century - third in only his 12th test match - a period which also included a score of 151 against Pakistan.

When Smith was finally bowled by Anderson, he had already played 370 deliveries and had been at the crease for 574 minutes in which he struck 34 fours, batting at an excellent strike rate of 70.

 

 

Apart from Smith's 259, Gary Kirsten also scored 108 while Boeta Dippenaar missed his century by 8 runs. Mark Boucher's 68 only added to the lead as South Africa finally declared for 682 for 6.

After both England openers Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan were dismissed within the first 17 overs of the England innings, Mark Butcher and Hussain showed some heart as the duo added over 100 runs between them.

It was a great contest between Makhaya Ntini and Andrew Flintoff as the all-rounder struck almost a run a ball century. A defeat for England was inevitable and they did lose by a big margin of an innings and 92 runs, but they made sure that they came down fighting with the score of 417 in their second innings.

Ntini picked up another 5-wicket haul and finished with a 10-fer at Lord's as the match was done by day 4.

It was not hard to discern that even at a young age of 22, Graeme Smith had a mature head on his shoulders, "It was a fantastic team performance. The batting was superb and the bowlers did really well. They put in the hard work and were very disciplined. There's a lot of carnage. Lots of screaming and shouting, nobody really knows what to do. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had. Everyone is running around mad. It's fantastic. We will celebrate tonight but be humble tomorrow."

After South Africa's historic win, Smith rightfully shared the Man of the Match award with Ntini.

England went on to win the next test by 70 runs and the last one by 9 wickets but South Africa's victory at Lord's and in the fourth test match meant that the series was eventually tied at 2-2.

 

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