Fifth ODI, Australian cricket team in South Africa in 2005–06

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Fifth ODI, South Africa vs Australia
Event Australian tour of South Africa, 2005–06
Australia South Africa
Australia South Africa
434/4 438/9
50 overs 49.5 overs
Date 12 March 2006
Venue New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Umpires Aleem Dar and Brian Jerling

The 5th One Day International cricket match between South Africa and Australia was played on 12 March 2006 at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. The match broke many cricket records, including both the first and the second team innings score of over 400 runs. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. They scored 434 for 4 off their 50 overs, breaking the previous record of 398–5 by Sri Lanka against Kenya in 1996. In reply, South Africa scored 438–9, winning by one wicket with one ball to spare. The match has been acclaimed as the greatest One Day International match ever played[1][2] and has been referred to as the "438 match"[3][4] or "438 game"[2][1] in the media.


For some years, there had been an intense rivalry between Australia and South Africa in One-Day Internationals, dating from the semi-final of the 1999 Cricket World Cup, where South Africa could only tie against Australia in a match they needed to win to progress to the final. Some followers of cricket considered that to be the greatest game of all time.[5][6] Earlier in the 2005–06 season, South Africa toured Australia, where they failed to reach the final of the three-team one-day series, including losing three of their four matches against Australia. They also lost the three Test series 2–0. It was also of constant irritation to the South Africans that the Australians were referring to them as "chokers".

This match was the final match of a five-match series in South Africa. South Africa won the first two matches comfortably, but Australia fought back to win the next two, making this the deciding match. Australia had to play the series without their best one-day bowler, Glenn McGrath, whose wife was suffering from cancer. The South African team also missed their best one-day bowler, Shaun Pollock, in the final match due to a back strain.

The match[edit]

Australian captain Ricky Ponting chose to bat after winning the toss. Adam Gilchrist and Simon Katich got the side off to a good start, both scoring fifties. A difficult catch by Andrew Hall diving to his left removed Gilchrist in the 16th over while the partnership was on 97. Ponting then scored his fastest century with 100 off 73 balls, and went on to his highest score at the Wanderers ground with 164 from 105 balls, including 9 sixes and 13 fours. Ponting and Katich put on 139 runs for the second wicket, before Katich was caught at third man by Roger Telemachus off Makhaya Ntini. Michael Hussey was promoted up the order and made 81. Ponting was dismissed after his drive shot was caught by Boeta Dippenaar in the 47th over. By the end of the innings, South Africa were under pressure with Telemachus beginning the 48th over with four consecutive no-balls. Australia made 53 runs off its last three overs;[7] Andrew Symonds and Brett Lee helping the side past the world record with 27 and 9 runs respectively and Australia became the first side to ever score 400 runs in a One Day International.

News sites reported how Australia had just smashed the world record.[8][9][10][11]

With the series at two all, South Africa went out batting, giving it their all, requiring 8.7 runs per over from the start. In the interval, Jacques Kallis had broken the ice in a sombre dressing-room with the words "Come on, guys: it's a 450-wicket. They're 15 short!"[12] Such a chase had never been attempted before – at that point, the previous highest first innings score was Sri Lanka's 398 against Kenya. The previous highest second innings score was 344/8, scored by Pakistan against India at Karachi on 13 Mar 2004 (a game which India eventually won, by only five runs).[13][14] The early loss of Boeta Dippenaar for 1 made the South African run chase seem more difficult. Herschelle Gibbs batted at number 3 and reached his 16th ODI hundred in 79 balls, beating his own South African record for the fastest score of a hundred that had previously been off 84 balls against Zimbabwe.[15] Gibbs scored the second highest total by a South African with 175 off 111 balls. He and Graeme Smith had a 187 run partnership, bringing the South Africans back into the game. When Smith was out for 90, Gibbs shared another strong partnership, this time with AB de Villiers. Australia kept the pressure on after Gibbs' dismissal with consistent wickets, but big hitting by Johannes van der Wath and Mark Boucher kept the Proteas in the hunt. Nathan Bracken, in contrasting fashion to the rest of the match, bowled particularly well collecting 5 wickets and keeping his economy a respectable 6.7. By the final over of the match, South Africa needed 7 runs off 6 balls, with Boucher on strike. He pushed a single, giving the strike to Andrew Hall who hit a four, leaving 2 required off four balls. However, he was out caught attempting to repeat the shot, leaving the side at 433–9. Ntini, the number 11 batsman, managed to get the bowler, Brett Lee, away for a single to third man and tie the scores. Boucher then hit a four the next ball (getting his 19th fifty in ODI cricket), with commentator Tony Greig exclaiming "Straight down the ground! What a victory! That is a sensational game of cricket!".

The victory sparked off wild celebrations, and many South African spectators broke down in tears of joy. Tony Greig himself sounded emotionally exhausted as he said, "Look, there are tears, they are crying out there! The South Africans at the Bullring today have seen the best one day international ever played."

Both Ponting and Gibbs were awarded the Man of the Match, but Ponting declined it, saying that it belonged to Gibbs.[16] Shaun Pollock was named Man of the Series, although he was resting for a back injury during this game.


The huge score led Steve Waugh to say that 500 in an innings is the next possibility. Others have said that scores like this are bad for the sport, with Barry Richards saying, "There is such a propensity for hitting boundaries that bowlers have been taken out of game".[17] This was said despite Nathan Bracken picking up career best bowling figures.

Cricinfo's headline for the match was "South Africa win the greatest game", while The Sydney Morning Herald called the match "The greatest the world has seen";[18] The Advertiser called it the "Greatest of all time";[19] The Age "The best one dayer";[20] iAfrica called it "The greatest match ever"[21] and IOL "the greatest match ever played."[22]

The victory was also seen as redemption for the South Africans for the infamous 1999 World Cup semi-final, also against Australia. That match ended in a tie following a disastrous run-out in the final over involving Lance Klusener and Allan Donald and was called the "definitive one-day choke" by This victory buried the ghosts of 1999, and the South Africans' "choker" tag was finally gone. Although, soon afterwards, in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, when the South Africans played the English in the first semi-final, the tag "chokers" was again used and the South African coach Gary Kirsten admitted that the team "choked" that day.[23]


 Australia innings
Batsman Method of dismissal Runs Balls 4s 6s
+A. C. Gilchrist c Hall b Telemachus 55 44 9 0
S. M. Katich c Telemachus b Ntini 79 90 9 1
*R. T. Ponting c Dippenaar b Telemachus 164 105 13 9
M. E. K. Hussey c Ntini b Hall 81 51 9 3
A. Symonds not out 27 13 3 1
B. Lee not out 9 7 0 0
Did not bat: D. R. Martyn, M. J. Clarke, N. W. Bracken, S. R. Clark, M. L. Lewis
Fall of wickets: 1–97 (Gilchrist, 15.2 ov), 2–216 (Katich, 30.3 ov), 3–374 (Hussey, 46.1 ov), 4–407 (Ponting, 47.4 ov)
Extras (lb 4, w 5, nb 10) 19
Total (for 4 wickets, 50 overs) 434
 South Africa bowling statistics
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
M. Ntini 9 0 80 1
A. J. Hall 10 0 80 1
J. J. van der Wath 10 0 76 0
R. Telemachus 10 0 87 2
G. C. Smith 4 0 29 0
J. H. Kallis 6 0 70 0
J. M. Kemp 1 0 8 0

 South Africa innings
Batsman Method of dismissal Runs Balls 4s 6s
*G. C. Smith c Hussey b Clarke 90 55 13 2
H. H. Dippenaar b Bracken 1 7 0 0
H. H. Gibbs c Lee b Symonds 175 111 21 7
A. B. de Villiers c Clarke b Bracken 14 20 1 0
J. H. Kallis c & b Symonds 20 21 1 0
+M. V. Boucher not out 50 43 4 0
J. M. Kemp c Martyn b Bracken 13 17 1 0
J. J. van der Wath c Ponting b Bracken 35 18 1 3
R. Telemachus c Hussey b Bracken 12 6 2 0
A. J. Hall c Clarke b Lee 7 4 1 0
M. Ntini not out 1 1 0 0
Fall of wickets: 1–3 (Dippenaar, 1.2 ov), 2–190 (Smith, 22.1 ov), 3–284 (de Villiers, 30.5 ov), 4–299 (Gibbs, 31.5 ov), 5–327 (Kallis, 37.4 ov), 6–355 (Kemp, 42.1 ov), 7–399 (van der Wath, 46.3 ov), 8–423 (Telemachus, 48.2 ov), 9–433 (Hall, 49.3 ov)
Extras (b 4, lb 8, w 4, nb 4) 20
Total (for 9 wickets, 49.5 overs) 438
 Australia bowling statistics
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
B. Lee 7.5 0 68 1
N. W. Bracken 10 0 67 5
S. R. Clark 6 0 54 0
M. L. Lewis 10 0 113 0
A. C. Symonds 9 0 75 2
M. J. Clarke 7 0 49 1



  • Third highest total in an ODI (highest at the time): 438–9.(Sri Lanka scored 443–9 against the Netherlands four months later)
  • Fourth highest total in an ODI (also the highest at the time): 434–4.
  • Highest successful run chase in an ODI: 438 runs


  • Highest aggregate runs in a match: 872, beating the previous record of 693 (India v Pakistan in 2004).
  • Most sixes in a match: 26, later broken by New Zealand v India, March 2009 (31 sixes).
  • Most fours in a match: 89.


  • At the time of the match Herschelle Gibbs' innings was the tenth-highest individual score in ODI cricket, and the second-highest by a South African.
  • Ponting set a new record for the fastest 150 in ODI cricket, reaching the total off 99 balls; Gibbs fell one ball short of matching this in the second innings. This record was then broken at least twice over the following years. The current record now belongs to South African AB De Villiers (150 runs off 64 balls) who scored 162 runs off 66 balls against the West Indies during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.[24]
  • Mick Lewis finished with bowling figures of 10–0–113–0 which (as of 04 February 2016) remains the most runs conceded in a single ODI match. He was the second bowler to concede 100 runs in an ODI, and the first to do so in a fifty over match (New Zealand's Martin Snedden had previously conceded 105 runs in a sixty over match).[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "438 Game voted the Best ODI Ever". Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "'438' game voted best ever by fans". Times Live. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Gibbs drawing inspiration from epic 438 match". Times of India. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Archie. "Gibbs defends his tell-all autobiography". Times Live. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Real" deal tied, from
  6. ^ Cricinfo, Ball by Ball, Australia v South Africa, 1999 World Cup Semi Final
  7. ^ Guardian, South Africa shatter Australia with record 438-run winning chase
  8. ^, Australia smashes one-day record
  9. ^ The Age, Australia breaks record in final
  10. ^ The Financial Express, Aussies shatter one-day runs mark
  11. ^ Daily News & Analyis, Australia script ODI history, score 434–4
  12. ^ "Wisden - South Africa v Australia, 2005-06". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  13. ^ "Records - One-Day Internationals - Team records - Highest innings totals - ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "1st ODI: Pakistan v India at Karachi, Mar 13, 2004 - Cricket Scorecard - ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Fox Sports, Proteas do impossible
  16. ^ CNN, South Africa win a record-breaker, 13 March 2006
  17. ^ Cricinfo staff (March 13, 2006). "Barry Richards: 'The skill has been taken out of cricket'". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ "The greatest the world has seen". Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  19. ^ The Advertiser, "Greatest of all time"
  20. ^ "How Australia lost the best one-dayer". Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "". Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  22. ^, "Simply the greatest match ever played"
  23. ^ "South Africa win the greatest match of all | South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg Report | Cricket News". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  24. ^ "AB de Villiers blasts fastest 150 ever". 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  25. ^ "Records – One Day Internationals – Bowling records – Most runs conceded in an innings". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 18 Feb 2012. 

External links[edit]