Allan Donald, who turned 50 on Thursday, is our Legend of the Week.
Donald, the first South African to take 300 Test wickets, will go down as one of the country’s fiercest competitors, and in his prime, would have walked into any side.
Traditionally seen as one of the great battles in Test cricket, the stand-off between Donald and Michael Atherton in 1998 will remain difficult to forget.
A first-innings score of 374 gave South Africa a solid platform in the fourth Test against England in Nottingham, but their 208 in the second innings gave the hosts a chance to level the series.
Needing 247 for victory, Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain nailed down after the early loss of Mark Butcher. After getting a five-for in England’s first innings, Donald was on fire, and wanted more of the same in the second.
His spell around the wicket was unrelenting, and when Atherton should have been on his way for 27 when he gloved one behind, it only fired Donald up more. The tall paceman got Atherton in the first innings, but Atherton refused to back down in the second.
When Boucher dropped Hussain soon after Atherton’s reprieve, Donald let all his rage out on the opener. Short balls were constantly followed up with verbals as Atherton stood his ground. Eventually, somehow, Atherton withstood the pressure, and the 277 balls he faced yielded 98 runs, as he saw his side over the line to win by eight wickets, and square the series.
It might have been a famous victory for the English, but it will forever go down as Atherton and Donald’s battle.
Donald has just finished his stint as Australia’s bowling coach, and has returned to South African shores to join up with the Knights as a consultant.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images