Our Legend of the Week is Sourav Ganguly, brought to you by Aquavita.
As the former Indian skipper celebrates his 44th birthday, we take a look back at his history against the Proteas, and more times than not, especially in the Test arena, the South Africans got the better of Kolkata’s favourite son.
Ganguly played 113 Tests in all, recording 16 centuries at an average of 42.17. Two of those came in his first two innings of his career, against England. Three Tests later in 1996-97 he played South Africa for the first time in a run of five Tests against them, only recording fifties in the third and final Test in Johannesburg with the series already sealed by the hosts. Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock took a particular liking to him as he was shifted up and down the middle order throughout.
In the 17 matches he played against them, he only scored seven fifties at an average of 33.82, with a high score of 87.
His ODI record painted a different picture, however. One of few back then to be in a different specialist position to that of the longer format, the opener has scored the third-most hundreds for India behind Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Three of his 22 tons came against the Proteas, and they all came within the space of a year and a half.
The first was a Man-of-the-Match 105 not out in 2000 which proved pivotal in allowing India to win an enthralling series on their own turf 3-2. Then came another match-winning 141 not out performance in an ICC KnockOut match half a year later, which allowed the Indians to win by 95 runs. His 127 a year later was overshadowed by Gary Kirsten, who scored 133 in the Proteas’ six-wicket victory over them in a Triangular Tournament match.
His average across 29 matches against them read an impressive 50.50, and across his 311 matches in a career spanning 15 years, he was the rock at the top of the order for the Indians.