As AB de Villiers prepares to play his 100th Test for South Africa in Bengaluru, we look at five of his best innings over the years.
33 off 230 balls
Australia vs South Africa, 2nd Test in Adelaide in 2012
When you think of AB de Villiers in any context you think of flair, innovation and runs scored at a blistering pace. His innings in Adelaide, however, was exactly the opposite of that. The anti-thesis of the De Villiers we’ve come to know and love. Patient, measured, grafting for every run at a strike-rate of 15. You are unlikely to see that ever again. But it was exactly what his team needed. South Africa were set an a target of 430 to win and started day five on 77-4. It was the same Test in which Faf du Plessis made his mark in Test cricket, batting out the whole day for his unbeaten 110. Together they shared a 89-run partnership and in the context of the match De Villiers’s 33 was the equivalent of a hundred. South Africa managed to draw that Test to keep the series locked at 0-0 with a game to play.
169 off 184 balls
Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test in Perth in 2012
De Villiers followed up his 33 off 230 balls with a scintillating 169 off only 184 deliveries to help South Africa reach 569 in their second innings. It gave Australia a target of 632 runs to win the Test and thereby the series, but they succumbed to 322 all out as Graeme Smith’s men clinched the three-match series 1-0. The knock included two century partnerships, first with Hashim Amla (149), who scored 196, and then 102 with Faf du Plessis. The Test will also be remembered as Ricky Ponting’s last Test for Australia.
278 off 418 balls
Pakistan vs South Africa, 2nd Test in Abu Dhabi in 2010
Although the Test ended in a draw, it will be remembered for De Villiers reaching the highest score by a South African in Test history. He overtook Graeme Smith’s previous record of 277 against England in 2003 as the Proteas posted 584-9 in their first innings. The record was broken again only two years later when Hashim Amla (311 not out) became the first South African to score a triple century for South Africa.
106 not out off 186 balls
Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test in Perth in 2008
After scoring 63 in the first innings, De Villiers batted with debutant JP Duminy (50 not out) in the second, sharing a 111-run partnership as South Africa registered the second-biggest successful run-chase in history. Australia’s only answer was Mitchell Johnson, who took (at the time) a career-best 11-159, but the rest of the performance was as worrying as South Africa’s was outstanding as they reached 414-4 to go 1-0 up in the series.
217 not out off 333 balls
India vs South Africa, 2nd Test in Ahmedabad in 2008
This was De Villiers’ first double hundred. He walked out to bat with South Africa on 117-4 after they bowled India out for 76 in their first innings. Together with Jacques Kallis (132), they put on 256 for the fifth wicket as South Africa reached 494-7, only batting once in the match as they bowled India out for 328 to win by an innings and 90 runs.
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