Home > Features > Moments in history >

Pat Symcox becomes third player in Test history to score hundred as a No 10 batsman

When Pat Symcox became only the third player in Test history to score a hundred as a No 10 batsman

Pat Symcox scored 108 coming at No 10 and added 195 runs for the ninth wicket with Mark Boucher in the 1988 Johannesburg Test against Pakistan © Getty Images

On February 15, 1998, South Africa’s No. 10 batsman and premier spinner Pat Symcox became only the third player to score a Test century in that position. The opposition was Pakistan and the venue, Johannesburg. Prakash Govindasreenivasan relives the knock that Symcox is fondly remembered for.

—–

Pat Symcox was a wily customer, a spinner who used his mind more than his fingers. When Symcox made his Test debut in 1993, not many thought he was talented enough to play at the highest level. Yet, his competitive spirit kept him going as went on to be South Africa’s first- choice spinner for the next few years.  His international career lasted just six years, but in this period he made a huge impact on the game in the Rainbow nation.

Symcox was dangerous with the bat when he got going. He started off his domestic career as a batsman but shifted focus to bowling off-breaks to settle down as a lower-order batsman who could throw his bat around. Yet, one of his most important contributions to South Africa came with the bat.

Pakistan tour of South Africa, 1993

The first Test between the two sides began on Johannesburg on February 14, 1998. Visiting captain Aamir Sohail won the toss and put Gary Kirsten’s men into bat in the hope that his bowling unit that had the likes of Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed would run through the South African batting line-up and give his side a chance to force a favourable result. To their credit, they almost did.

A little over 50 overs into Day One, the home side was reeling at 166 for eight when 37-year-old Pat Symcox walked in to join 21-year-old Mark Boucher in the middle. This duo, the oldest and the youngest in the team at that moment, put together a record-shattering partnership.

The mid-pitch talk before Symcox took guard would have probably been to try and play out the remaining one-and-a-half session and not let the game slip away.

The visitors bowled 30 more overs in the day but failed to break this duo’s resolve. The South African pair put on an unbeaten stand of 130 runs, to take their team to 296 for eight at the end of day’s play. Symcox, who had scored a half-century only a month ago against Australia, brought up another fifty on this day to finish at 77 not out. His partner, Boucher was undefeated on 50.

The Pakistan bowlers would have been disappointed at not being able to finish off the tail but would have backed themselves to come hard at the settled South African pair in the morning session of Day Two. Unfortunately for them, it was another session that belonged to Symcox and Boucher.

Symcox’s unexpected feat

Symcox was always considered a handy batsman down the order and expected to contribute those extra 30-40 runs to the total and frustrate the opponents. What he went on to do in the first session was something completely different, even unimaginable.

The duo of Symcox and Boucher continued their expedition of overcoming the challenges posted by the Pakistani bowlers and stay at the wicket for as long as they could. Symcox needed just five more runs to overcome his previous best of 81 runs, against the same opponents at Faisalabad a few months ago. He eventually did and went on to score his first- ever Test hundred.

The nervous 90s

Symcox had never been in a situation like this before and yet he could feel the pressure. From making a valuable contribution in the lower order, Symcox was suddenly on the verge of scoring his maiden Test ton. From 90 to 100, Symcox took 10 singles and even went on to celebrate with a big leap in the air as his mates in the dressing room were on their feet, applauding the big man’s achievement.

The epic innings and the partnership

“I’ve always wondered what it felt like to score a Test hundred,” Symcox said. “I was at the crease when Hansie [Cronje] and Daryll [Cullinan] scored their first centuries and it seemed like something very, very special. Now I know and all I can say is that it is incredibly tough, mentally more than physically,” he said in an interview after the knock.

His knock of 108 was laced with 17 boundaries and he went on to add a record partnership of 195 runs for the ninth wicket with Boucher.

The big man retired a year later after pouring his heart out in the six years of his international career and this knock of 108 is forever etched in our memories.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Central Zone 25/0 after five overs

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Andy Roberts wants WICB to investigate cause for India tour call-off

N Srinivasan praises Nepal, Uganda for making ICC World Cricket League Division 2 cut

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Australia’s foremost cricketing fan misses out on tour to UAE

Arjun Tendulkar to tour South Africa

South Zone bowled out for 379 against Central Zone in Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here