Lance Klusener, who turns 45 today, produced the fourth-best debut figures in Test history.
When remembering Klusener’s career, most people’s memories will turn to the infamous run out involving him and Allan Donald that saw South Africa knocked out of the World Cup in 1999. What people sometimes forget is that he earned four Man of the Match awards in that tournament, on his way to being named player of the event.
It took him almost a year to make his Test debut after he made his ODI bow back in 1996. He would cement his spot in the team on the fifth day of that match against India at Eden Gardens in Calcutta, with debut figures that haven’t been bettered since.
A pair of Gary Kirsten centuries took the Man of the Match honours, but the 329-run victory wouldn’t have been as devastating if it weren’t for Klusener’s exploits. His second-innings figures of 8-64 were and remain the fourth best of all time on debut, and the second best by a pace bowler – only Bob Massie’s 8-53 for Australia in 1972 was better.
Klusener only took four Tests to bring up a maiden century, against the same opposition in Cape Town barely a month later, paving the way for an excellent all-round career.
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