Proteas big three chase milestones in upcoming Tests

2012-12-24 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Three Proteas stars Dale Steyn, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis can etch their names deeper into the Test record books over the next few months.

The Proteas tackle New Zealand in a two-Test series from January 2 next year, before three home Tests against Pakistan the following month.

Not only can Smith’s men increase their lead atop the ICC world Test rankings, but the star trio will also be out to make history.

While Steyn and Kallis look set to reach their milestones in the New Year’s Test at Newlands, Smith may have to wait longer to reach his.

Steyn — the world’s best Test bowler — needs one wicket to become only the fourth South African and 25th bowler in history to take 300 Test wickets. The other South Africans are Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald.

Veteran batsman Kallis is only 20 runs short of becoming the fourth batsman in history to pass the 13 000-run mark in Tests, thereby joining an illustrious group consisting of Sachin Tendulkar (15 645 runs), Ricky Ponting (13 378) and Rahul Dravid (13 288).

Smith could become the most successful Test captain in history if the Proteas win four out of their next five Tests. He currently has 45 wins, only three behind the recently retired Ponting from Australia.

However, Smith will struggle to eclipse Ponting’s winning percentage as skipper. Ponting’s 48 wins came in 77 Tests, a win percentage of 62,34%, while Smith has thus far won 46,39% of his Tests as captain of South Africa.

While Smith’s winning percentage may seem low, it has to be taken into consideration that of all the captains in Test cricket history who managed more than 20 wins, only Steve Waugh (42 wins at 71,93%), Hansie Cronjé (27 at 50,93%), ­Michael Vaughan (26 at 50,98%), Viv Richards (27 at 54%) and Mark Taylor (26 at 52%) fared better.

South Africa’s first Test against New Zealand starts at Newlands on January 2, followed by a Test in Port Elizabeth from January 11.

The three-Test series against Pakistan starts at the Wanderers on February 1, followed by Tests at Newlands (February 14) and SuperSport Park (February 22).

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