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
|GA Lohmann||14.2*||6||28||9||2.33||England||South Africa|
|M Muralitharan||40.0||19||51||9||1.27||Sri Lanka||Zimbabwe|
|RJ Hadlee||23.4||4||52||9||2.19||New Zealand||Australia|
|DE Malcolm||16.3||2||57||9||3.45||England||South Africa|
|M Muralitharan||54.2||27||65||9||1.19||Sri Lanka||England|
|N Kapil Dev||30.3||6||83||9||2.72||India||West Indies|
|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|
|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
|KA Maharaj||41.1||10||129||9||3.13||Sri Lanka|
|GB Lawrence||30.3||12||53||8||1.73||New Zealand|
* 8-ball overs
Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images