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My top-two AB de Villiers Test knocks against Australia

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Roar Guru
2 days ago
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While AB De Villiers announced his international retirement three years ago, the South African legend has called it quits after an outstanding career in all forms of the game. With that in mind, I wanted to look back at his top-two Test knocks against Australia.

106*, WACA, December 2008
While Mitchell Johnson ran riot at his adopted home ground with figures of 8/61, De Villiers impressed in the first innings with a fighting 63. With South Africa chasing 414 for victory in the second innings, the South African maestro would have to step up. And the pressure was on South Africa as De Villiers walked in with the Proteas 3-179.

From the outset, he was almost flawless. Taking his time at first, the South African legend got into the groove quickly as he frustrated the Aussie bowlers with strike rotation. Soon after, the boundaries started to flow as he delivered a masterclass of offside strokes. Ricky Ponting could have put all his fielders between point and cover, yet De Villiers would have still found a way to score through there.

His first Test century against Australia would ultimately lead to a South African win by six wickets, and the highest successful Test run chase on Australian soil. When De Villiers came in, Australia were on top. He would leave the WACA with Australia shocked and wounded following a world-class innings in Perth.

https://youtu.be/exYN3qxJsus

126*, Port Elizabeth, March 2018
While the South Africa-Australia Test series of 2018 will always be marred and remembered for Sandpapergate, it should never take away the final brilliance De Villiers showed in international cricket. In response to Australia’s first innings total of 243, he walked in with South Africa 4-155 and the second Test hanging in the balance.

Driving Mitchell Starc past mid-on for a boundary in his third ball, De Villiers signalled his intentions early. He continued to flay the Australian bowlers all over the park, with none of the Australian bowlers having any idea on how to contain him. He would reach his half-century in 62 balls, but wickets kept on falling with South Africa 7-227 and the tail to come.

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That would not hamper him at all. The onslaught continued off his bat while the Proteas tailenders hung around as De Villiers uppercut Pat Cummins to reach his 22nd Test hundred and his sixth against Australia. He would end up 126 not out off 146 deliveries, running out of partners as South Africa were bowled out for 382.

De Villiers’ counter attack ensured South Africa got a whopping first innings lead of 139, as they won the second Test by six wickets and levelled the series at one apiece with two Tests to play.

This would be the final hundred AB De Villiers scored in international cricket before he would call it quits later on in 2018. He was fired up, especially after David Warner had given him a send off in the first Test.

De Villiers let his bat do the talking in the second Test and frustrated the Australian attack on a bowling friendly wicket. His innings would be a crucial part in seeing Australia implode in the final two Tests – thus proving he knew how to wound Australian teams in his career even when Australia were seemingly on top.

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It is a massive shame the South African maestro did not play more international cricket for South Africa. An outstanding batter in all forms of the game, De Villiers averaged over 50 in Test and ODI cricket.

In 24 Tests against Australia, he scored six Test hundreds and 13 fifties at an average of 51.7.

Unsurprisingly, his two blockathons against the Aussies (33 off 220 in 2012, and 43 off 228 in 2014) saw his strike rate against Australia sit at 49.84.

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