Gary Kirsten turns 49 today and is our Legend of the Week, brought to you by Aquavita.
Renowned for his amazing ability to spend long hours at the crease, Kirsten’s talent came in to play in full force against England, who he had his best Test run against. He played 22 Tests against them and scored 1 608 runs, including his first ever double century during SA’s tour to England in 1998.
In the reverse fixture, Kirsten managed to equal Daryll Cullinan’s (275 not out) record-breaking score set in February 1998 against New Zealand, which became the highest score by a South African at the time, overtaking a 29-year-record set by Graeme Pollock (274) in 1970.
The left-hander’s efforts against the Three Lions in the third test in 1999-2000, helped SA to their second draw of the five-match series which they ended up winning 2-1.
Kirsten’s 275 was his highest ever score and is the fifth-highest score by a South African with Cullinan, Graeme Smith (277), AB de Villiers (278 not out) and Hashim Amla (311 not out) filling the other top spots.
He played 101 matches for SA, scoring 21 hundreds and 34 fifties at an average of 45.27.
Kirsten’s famous 275:
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images