There’s a very good reason why some cricket fans are wary of the Proteas slumping in the first Test against England starting on Thursday.
South Africa have a really proud record at Lord’s, known as the “home of cricket”, since re-admission to international sport.
They haven’t lost there in five Tests and actually won four of them.
Here’s how things panned out previously.
1994: Won by 356 runs
This was a momentous occasion for the Proteas, who were still trying to find their feet after only returning to Test cricket two years earlier.
Captain Kepler Wessels led the way with a typically dogged 105 as South Africa reached 357 in their first innings.
Fast bowlers Allan Donald (5/74) and Fanie de Villiers (3/28) then delivered a fine exhibition in restricting England to 180.
Armed with a great lead, the Proteas batted solidly in their second dig to thoroughly demoralise the English, who collapsed to 99 in their second innings.
To rub salt in the wound, the hosts’ captain Mike Atherton was accused of ball-tampering.
1998: Won by 10 wickets
It all seemed to be going pear shaped for the Proteas after they stumbled to 46/4 during the first session.
But then England discovered just how feisty Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes could really be.
Clearly not too worried about the match situation, the pair decided to attack and put on 184 for the fifth wicket at a run rate in excess of 3.5.
Remember, in those days, that was almost revolutionary.
South Africa recovered brilliantly to make 360 with Cronje making 81 and Rhodes a superb 117.
Donald was at his fearsome best in scalping 5/32 and formed a great combo with Shaun Pollock (3/42).
Forced to follow-on, England looked comfortable at 222/4 before the irresistible Jacques Kallis changed the course of the game again.
He bowled a devastating spell of 4/24 and had a perfect partner in spinner Paul Adams (3/62).
2003: Won by an innings and 92 runs
This was the match where Makhaya Ntini became a legend.
His first imprint was a haul of 5/75 on the first day as England were shot out for 173.
The Proteas then absolutely tormented the home side’s bowlers in piling up a massive 682/6.
Graeme Smith had tongues wagging the previous game with a record-breaking 277 and continued his streak with 259 here.
Gary Kirsten’s 108 headlined the supporting acts.
Ntini then wrote himself into the annals of history with 5/145 … and 10 wickets for the match.
2008: Match drawn
The Proteas were in heaps of trouble in this match.
After fighting back with the ball in England’s first innings, the imperious Kevin Pietersen (154) and classy Ian Bell (199) stacked a massive partnership of 286 as the led their side to 593/8.
The gritty Ashwell Prince played a lone hand in making 101 as South Africa were dismissed for 247.
It meant they still had a deficit of 346 to wipe out.
In the end, South Africa batted 167 overs in their second innings to do just that.
The top three of Graeme Smith (107), Neil McKenzie (138) and Hashim Amla (104*) all scored centuries.
2012: Won by 51 runs
This was a magnificent game of cricket and a fitting way for the Proteas to be crowned the top ranked Test side in the world.
A determined effort by the lower order – JP Duminy and Vernon Philander both made 61 – saw South Africa scrape together 309 in their first innings.
England were indebted to young Jonny Bairstow’s 95 for gaining them a six-run lead.
Hashim Amla’s classy 121 gave the Proteas a stable platform but England kept chipping away as the tourists eventually set a target of 346.
At 45/4, South Africa were coasting but the home side’s strong middle-order fought back well to sow some anxiety at 282/7.
But Philander wasn’t to be denied as he collected a superb 5/30 to decide the contest.
Source: The Citizen Sport
Full Story: Proteas have a proud record to protect at Lord’s