A piece of South African cricketing history was written on Thursday as the first delivery of the final Test between Australia and South Africa was bowled at the Adelaide Oval. South African opener Stephen Cook chose to face the first ball, in turn becoming the first South African ever to face the pink ball in Test match cricket.
It was a 141 kph delivery from Australia’s left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc which Cook solidly played on the offside.
Well, some 25 years back it was Cook’s father Jimmy, who became the first South African to face a white ball in the international arena. He was also the first South African to face the red ball after a gap of 22 years.
In 1991, South Africa were in India on a historic tour and Jimmy Cook in the third ODI faced Indian legend Kapil Dev on November 14 at New Delhi.
It was a day and night game and the sides had to switch to coloured clothing and the white ball.
But neither father nor son had an innings to savour. Jimmy Cook went on to make 35 on the day as South Africa grabbed their first post-isolation win in international cricket.
He shared a 72-run first wicket stand with his partner while chasing a score of 287. In the Test at Durban against India where he faced the red ball, he was caught at second slip by Sachin Tendulkar without opening his account.
In Adelaide, his son could have got out off the 12th delivery he faced when he was hit on the back leg by Mitchell Starc but the umpires suggested that the Australian paced spearhead had overstepped.
Stephen was batting on 5 then and that was the reprieve he needed and he made quite good use of it in the first session. Before this knock, the 33-year-old had struggled in the series with a best of just 23.
Stephen then survived a testing spell from Starc who swung the ball brilliantly in both ways. Starc also tested him with pacy Yorkers. The Proteas batter finally got going against Jackson Bird and helped his skipper Faf du Plessis build a partnership after three quick wickets.
But after facing 98 balls and hitting four boundaries he finally succumbed to an angled delivery from Starc which he edged to Steve Smith stationed at second slip.