• Masterful Maharaj’s 9-129

    Keshav Maharaj took the second-best bowling figures for a South African in Test cricket in a brilliant display in the second Test in Colombo.

    His first innings figures of 41.1-10-129-9 (econ 3.13) took him to 87 Test wickets, bettering his previous best Test innings figures of 6-40, and match best of 9-225. He is the first bowler to take nine wickets in a Test innings against Sri Lanka.

    ‘Accolades mean a lot more when you can get the team to win a Test match,’ he said after the day’s play. ‘Hopefully, in the second innings, I can put in another performance and be on the winning end of it.’

    His 41.1 overs included a marathon opening spell of 25 overs, and he admitted that he ‘did get a little bit of assistance off the wicket. It is a little bit different here to Galle. The ball skids on, which showed with the lbw and top-edges off the sweep. I feel I also did beat some of the batsmen in the air with the ball dipping on them.

    ‘Their batsmen showed the application that our batsmen need to take,’ he said ahead of the Proteas first innings. You don’t need to take the risk… there will be an opportunity to score.’

    Sadly, his teammates didn’t get the memo, crashing to 125 all out in under 35 overs, giving Maharaj little time to get his feet up before having to open the bowling for the Proteas in Sri Lanka’s second innings with victory (or even a draw) looking a long, long way away.

    Maharaj’s nine wickets against Sri Lanka, first innings, Colombo

    MD Gunathilaka c Rabada b Maharaj
    FDM Karunaratne c de Kock b Maharaj
    DM de Silva lbw b Maharaj
    BKG Mendis c Rabada b Maharaj
    AD Mathews c du Plessis b Maharaj
    N Dickwella c du Plessis b Maharaj
    MDK Perera c Ngidi b Maharaj
    RAS Lakmal c Markram b Maharaj
    HMRKB Herath c Elgar b Maharaj

    Six different fielders (including wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock) took catches off Maharaj’s bowling in the innings. Eight of his wickets were thanks to catches, while just one was trapped leg-before. This was the second time after West Indian Jack Noreiga’s 9-95 against India in 1971 that eight catches had been taken off one bowler in a single Test inning.

    Maharaj’s incredible bowling performance also earned him the 19th spot on the all-time best Test bowling figures in an innings.

    Best bowling figures in a Test match innings

    Player O M R W Econ Team Opposition
    JC Laker 51.2 23 53 10 1.03 England Australia
    A Kumble 26.3 9 74 10 2.79 India Pakistan
    GA Lohmann 14.2* 6 28 9 2.33 England South Africa
    JC Laker 16.4 4 37 9 2.22 England Australia
    M Muralitharan 40.0 19 51 9 1.27 Sri Lanka Zimbabwe
    RJ Hadlee 23.4 4 52 9 2.19 New Zealand Australia
    Abdul Qadir 37.0 13 56 9 1.51 Pakistan England
    DE Malcolm 16.3 2 57 9 3.45 England South Africa
    M Muralitharan 54.2 27 65 9 1.19 Sri Lanka England
    JM Patel 35.5 16 69 9 1.92 India Australia
    N Kapil Dev 30.3 6 83 9 2.72 India West Indies
    Sarfraz Nawaz 35.4** 7 86 9 1.81 Pakistan Australia
    JM Noreiga 49.4 16 95 9 1.91 West Indies India
    SP Gupte 34.3 11 102 9 2.95 India West Indies
    SF Barnes 38.4 7 103 9 2.66 England South Africa
    HJ Tayfield 37.0** 11 113 9 2.29 South Africa England
    AA Mailey 47.0 8 121 9 2.57 Australia England
    HMRKB Herath 33.1 3 127 9 3.82 Sri Lanka Pakistan
    KA Maharaj 41.1 10 129 9 3.13 South Africa Sri Lanka

    * 5-ball overs, ** 8-ball overs

    Maharaj now occupies the second spot on the list of best bowling figures by a South African, having been 16 runs more expensive than legendary South African Hugh Tayfield when he took 9-113 against England in 1957. 

    Best bowling figures in a Test match innings for South Africa 

    Player Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Econ Opposition
    HJ Tayfield 37.0* 11 113 9 2.29 England
    KA Maharaj 41.1 10 129 9 3.13 Sri Lanka
    GB Lawrence 30.3 12 53 8 1.73 New Zealand
    L Klusener 21.3 4 64 8 2.97 India
    HJ Tayfield 37.7* 14 69 8 1.36 England
    SJ Snooke 31.4 8 70 8 2.21 England
    AA Donald 33.0 12 71 8 2.15 Zimbabwe

    * 8-ball overs 


    ALSO WATCH: Maharaj takes career-best figures

    Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    Post by

    Simon Lewis