Five best Test match knocks by JP Duminy
It was an unexpected ending, but most endings are unexpected; it was a journey which left many unfulfilled hopes, but most journeys are unable to fulfill all hopes. South Africa’s middle-order mainstay JP Duminy, who burst onto the Test scene on Australian soil in 2008, has retired from the longest format following a topsy-turvy ride of 46 Tests in nearly nine years.
Despite an excellent conversion rate in whites – he has crossed hundred six times out of the fourteen when he reached fifty – Duminy, with his handy off-spin and agile fielding, failed to live up to expectations which his maiden Test series brought with him.
Flown in as a replacement for Ashwell Prince, the southpaw from Cape Town returned from Australian shores with an average of 61.50, which included a gutsy hundred in just his second Test at Melbourne. Gaining fame courtesy of a multitude of shots – he has the clean cover drives, the confident cuts and nimble wrists and flicks in his repertoire – Duminy has ended with a disappointing batting average of 32.85, but some of his Test knocks shall remain worth cherishing for a long while.
#1 166 vs Australia, Melbourne 2008
Duminy's most memorable Test knock came with his team in deep trouble. Duminy was fresh from his first Test fifty in the second innings of the preceding Test at Perth – that game remains renowned for South Africa hunting down 414, still the second highest Test run chase – and in the following game at the MCG, a stand of 180 for the ninth wicket with Dale Steyn showed his tough character in difficult circumstances.
The score swelled to 459 from 251/8 with Duminy the last man to be dismissed after a patient and gritty 166, his maiden Test century and highest Test score.
Out of nowhere, South Africa found themselves 55 runs ahead of the Australian total, and despite the warhorse-like efforts of the opposition captain Ricky Ponting – he fell for 101 and 99 – the hosts lost momentum courtesy of a Steyn ten-for in the match.
A paltry target of 183 was chased down with ease as Duminy announced himself in the Test arena, gaining massive confidence from scoring against the likes of the lethal duo of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson.