The Centurion Test is proving to be a memorable affair for South Africa’s pacers. On day 1 of the Boxing Day Test, Dale Steyn created history by breaking Shaun Pollock’s record and becoming the leading wicket-taker for South Africa. However, the Test has belonged to 25-year-old right-arm pacer Duanne Olivier who showed his class to dismantle Pakistan for the second time in the match. After picking up 6/37 in the first innings, Olivier picked up 5/59 to finish with 11/96 in the match. In the process, Olivier created some records in Centurion and also for South Africa as Faf du Plessis’ side look to chase down 149 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Olivier’s haul of 11/96 is the 10th best haul by a South Africa pacer in Tests. Makhaya Ntini leads the list with 13/132 against the West Indies in Port of Spain in 2005. Kagiso Rabada is next on the list with 13/144 against England in Centurion in 2016. Hugh Tayfield, the right-arm offbreak bowler who played in 37 Tests from 1949 to 1960, is the only Proteas pacer to pick 13 wickets twice. He had figures of 13/165 against Australia in Melbourne in 1952 while he picked 13/192 against England in Johannesburg in 1957. Sibley Snooke, Bert Vogler, Allan Donald and Keshav Maharaj are the other bowlers to have taken 12 wickets in a Test.
In the first innings, Olivier’s consistent strikes had reduced Pakistan to 111/8 before Babar Azam stepped up and played an attacking knock of 71 to help Pakistan reach 181. South Africa managed to take a crucial 42-run lead but Pakistan started strongly in the second innings, reaching 103/2 with Shan Masood striking an attacking fifty. However, Olivier, along with Kagiso Rabada, ran through the lower-middle order as Sarfraz Ahmed’s side lost eight wickets for 87 runs to be bowled out for 190.
Olivier’s haul of 11/96 is the third-best haul by a bowler in Centurion. Rabada holds the best figures at this ground with 13 wickets against England in 2016 while Australia’s Mitchell Johnson picked up 12/127 in 2014 in what was South Africa’s second loss in what is considered their fortress.
The 25-year-old pacer made his debut in the series against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg in 2017 following the retirement of Kyle Abbott. The right-arm pacer made a decent start, picking up five wickets and was selected on the tour to England where he played in Trent Bridge and Manchester. However, he stuggled for impact in the two Tests against Bangladesh but has made a big statement as one of the future stars in the South Africa bowling line-up if they have to look at a future without Dale Steyn.