As a brief break from the madness of the World Cup, let’s look back at some of England’s finest moments on South African soil. We’re heading there this winter, and what better to whet the appetite than our very own highlights reel?
We’ve compiled a list of our top five moments in South Africa, and it’s full of iconic performances.
Some of Test Cricket’s finest moments have involved a battle to save the day, and Athers’ effort in 1995 will forever be remembered as one of the very best. The innings lasted 643 minutes, involved 429 balls, and left England’s ex-captain with 185 in red ink next to his name.
Jack Russell should be afforded some credit, too; his 235-ball 29 also proved crucial. The day will be remembered, however, for one of cricket’s most battling performances delivered by a captain, and rightly so. It may have felt like Anderson and Panesar batted for a whole day in Cardiff ten years ago, but Atherton actually did.
On the very same tour that the ’05 Ashes bowling attack was formed, one of England’s most attacking batsman also made his first impression with three lions on his chest. He may divide opinion, but Kevin Pietersen undeniably remains one of England’s most exciting cricketers. Even though his international debut came against Zimbabwe, he would go on to announce his intentions and showcase his ability after Flintoff withdrew from the 04/05 South Africa tour.
In the face of some serious hostility from the local crowd, Pietersen scored 108* from 96 balls in the second ODI of the series. He followed that with 75 at Cape Town, 100* in East London, and 116 in the final game at Centurion Park. Combine those scores with the “skunk” haircut he showcased, and you’ve got one memorable young player.
The build up to the 2005 Ashes is rightly cited as being as, if not more, crucial as the series itself. An essential component of that build up was England’s 04/05 tour of South Africa, during which they unearthed that revered bowling attack.
One of that attack’s leaders, Matthew Hoggard, used the South African batsmen (or perhaps their off stumps) as target practice as he returned figures of 12-205. The blonde-haired swing bowler developed a taste for Southern-Hemisphere wickets, and continued that excellent form against Hayden, Ponting, Langer et al. The best part? Hoggy remains one of the Barmy Army’s biggest fans!
Stuart Broad, on his way to 437* test wickets, has established himself as a man who can get on a roll. The 2009 Ashes and India’s visit in 2011 proved that, before his school-game-esque figures of 8-15 at Trent Bridge made 6th August a day to forget for the touring Aussies.
His performance in Johannesburg in January 2016 was right up there. Against a line-up including Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, Broad ran through the hosts by taking 5-1 in 31 balls before ending with figures of 6-17. Considering how finely poised the game was, it’s fair to label that performance as one of Broady’s absolute best.
The last time England were in South Africa, they left their mark in more ways than one. Perhaps the most memorable moment, though, was the merciless double hundred scored by Ben Stokes in Cape Town during the second test. Spectators were treated to Ben Stokes at his brutal best, against an attack including Kagiso Rabada. He bullied the South African bowlers for over a day, as he and Johnny Bairstow delivered one of the most punishing partnerships in recent memory.
We could go on. This list isn’t even close to being exhaustive, simply because England tend to do rather well in South Africa. If you like the idea of seeing something similar for yourself this winter, head over to the Barmy Travel website and book yourself a place on our tour. Chances are, you’ll see something pretty special.
We are proud to be working with the Tourism Board for South Africa to ensure our trip to the beautiful country is safe, embraces the local culture and has a positive effect on local business and conservation. Visit www.southafrica.net for more information.