March 12, 2006 – The Greatest One-Day International match in the history

Australia nine of their previous ten bilateral ODI series before touring South Africa in 2006.

South African team
The South African team celebrates the win. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The World Champions Australia toured South Africa at the start of 2006 for five ODIs, three Test matches and a one-off T20I. Not so long ago, South Africa failed to make it to the final of the VB series in Australia that included Sri Lanka. Coming into this tour, Australia were undefeated in their previous ten bilateral ODI series of which they won nine. They shared/won their previous 20 out of 21 ODI series/tournaments in a four-year span expect the Champions Trophy in 2004.

The hosts won the one-off T20I by 2-run margin before heading to the 5-match ODI series. The Aussies came back strongly to level the series after losing the first two matches by big margins. The Australian team elected to bat first on a batting paradise at the New Wanderers in the series-deciding 5th ODI. Simon Katich (79) and Adam Gilchrist (55) gave a perfect start to their team with a 97-run stand before Ricky Ponting entered. He led his team from the front with a blistering 164 that came off just 105 balls with 13 fours and nine sixes.

Ponting departed in the 48th over after sharing century stands with Katich and Mike Hussey (81) as they became the first team to break the 400-run barrier in the ODI format. Aussies scored 270 runs in the second half of their innings including 133 runs in the final ten overs to end up with 434/4 in the 50 overs. All the South African bowlers conceded over seven runs an over including Graeme Smith who had to roll his arm for four overs during the massacre.

Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa celebrates the win. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Saffers lost in form Boetha Dippenaar in the very 2nd over before Smith took on the Aussie bowlers with a quickfire 55-ball 90. The South African skipper put on 187 in just 20.5 overs along with Herschelle Gibbs as the hosts raced along in the chase. Gibbs smashed his career best of 175 in only 111 balls which included 21 fours and seven sixes. He got out at South Africa’s total of 299/4 in the 32nd over. Despite losing wickets regularly, small contributions from middle and lower order took the home team close to the target.

Mark Boucher anchored the innings with an unbeaten knock but a 5-wicket haul by Nathan Bracken brought the Aussies back into the game. Andrew Hall got out in the final over as the 9th wicket when they needed two runs from the last three deliveries. Makhaya Ntini took a single on the first ball he faced while Boucher smashed one down the ground to complete his fifty and hand a historic win for his team. A total of 872 runs were scored in the game which is still the highest in an ODI and also in any List A game. Aussie pacer Mike Lewis conceded 113 runs in his ten overs which are the most conceded by any bowler in an ODI.