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Wanderers Test: Faf du Plessis master of 4th innings chases

Last updated on: December 23, 2013 15:13 IST

Faf du PlessisSouth Africa almost did the impossible at the Wanderers.

The hosts were given a fourth innings target of 458 by India in the first Test. In the entire history of Test cricket a fourth innings target of 400 had been chased down only four times, the highest being 418 for 7 by the West Indies against Australia at St. John’s in 2003.

- Scorecard

When the match ended, South Africa were just eight runs short of what would have been a phenomenal victory!

The first Test will now go down as one of the closest draws in Test history.

Take a look at Rajneesh Gupta's statistics below, compiled from the batting sides’ perspective.

Closest draws in Test cricket

Runs remaining

Team

Total

Target

Opponents

Venue

Season

1

England

204-6

205

Zimbabwe

Bulawayo

1996-97

1

India

242-9

243

West Indies

Mumbai WS

2011-12

6

India

355-8

361

West Indies

Mumbai BS

1948-49

6

England

228-9

234

West Indies

Lord's

1963

8

Australia

238-8

246

England

Melbourne

1974-75

8

South Africa

450-7

458

India

Johannesburg

2013-14

9

India

429-8

438

England

The Oval

1979

10

New Zealand

274-6

284

Australia

Brisbane

2001-02

South Africa’s total (450-7) is the third highest total by any side in the fourth innings of a Test as is detailed below:

Highest fourth innings totals in Test cricket

For

Total

Opponents

Venue

Season

Result

England

654-5

South Africa

Durban

1938-39

Drawn

New Zealand

451

England

Christchurch

2001-02

Lost

South Africa

450/7

India

Johannesburg

2013-14

Drawn

India

445

Australia

Adelaide

1977-78

Lost

New Zealand

440

England

Nottingham

1973

Lost

New Zealand

431

England

Napier

2007-08

Lost

India

429-8

England

The Oval

1979

Drawn

Highest fourth innings successful chases in Test cricket

Score

For

Opponents

Venue

Season

418-7

West Indies

Australia

St John's

2003

414-4

South Africa

Australia

Perth

2008-09

406-4

India

West Indies

Port-of-Spain

1975-76

404-3

Australia

England

Leeds

1948

387-4

India

England

Chennai

2008-09

369-6

Australia

Pakistan

Hobart

1999-00

362-7

Australia

West Indies

Georgetown

1977-78

352-9

Sri Lanka

South Africa

Colombo PSS

2006

Faf du Plessis seems to be a master of fourth innings chases. On his Test debut he batted for seven hours 46 minutes against Australia at Adelaide in 2012-13, saving South Africa from certain defeat.

On Sunday, he batted for more than six-and-a-half hours at the Wanderers to take South Africa almost through.

Indeed, Faf du Plessis is the first South African to bat for more than six hours in the fourth innings of a Test on two occasions. His 134 is now the highest individual score by any batsman against India in the fourth innings of a Test.

Batsman

Runs

Venue

Season

Faf du Plessis (SA)

134

Johannesburg

2013-14

Duleep Mendis (SL)

124

Kandy

1985-86

Daryll Cullinan (SA)

122*

Johannesburg

1996-97

Desmond Haynes (WI)

112*

Bridgetown

1988-89

Viv Richards (WI)

109*

Delhi

1987-88

Younis Khan (Pak)

107*

Kolkata

2007-08

Ross Taylor (NZ)

107

Wellington

2008-09

Image: Faf du Plessis

Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Rajneesh Gupta