Memories of the greatest ODI

We thought 434 runs was enough. It wasn't...

It had never been done before; no team had scored more than 400 in a one-day international. Yet on this day in 2006, in 50 scintillating overs at Johannesburg's Wanderers stadium, a Ricky Ponting-inspired Australia smashed their way to 4-434.

It was a record that lasted just 49.5 overs.

In a barely believable match, South Africa and Australia added another chapter to a history of memorable and remarkable games between the two nations as the hosts reached 438 to win the match with one wicket and one ball to spare.

In the rare air of the Highveld, where the ball sails further in a small ground, Adam Gilchrist set the tone by opening his shoulders and swinging hard early, blasting 55 from 44 balls. His dismissal brought Ponting to the crease.

In one of the greatest displays of power and precision hitting over an extended period, Ponting blasted 164 from just 105 balls. Nine times he cleared the rope and 13 times the ball bounced over it.

Simon Katich anchored the innings with a pedestrian-looking 79 from 90 balls as Mike Hussey added 81 from 51 and Andrew Symonds and Brett Lee pushed the total to a seemingly invincible 434.

Perhaps sick of the burden carried by the memory of their famous capitulation in the 1999 World Cup, South Africa came out firing.

Graeme Smith blasted 90 from 55 balls but the star was Herschelle Gibbs, who outdid Ponting with an amazing 175 from 111 balls.

South Africa lost wickets along the way – Nathan Bracken finished with 5-67 from his 10 overs – but Mark Boucher provided a middle-order rock to anchor the innings amid the crazed torrent of wickets, runs and a baying 32,000-strong crowd.

When the ninth wicket fell in the final over, with three balls to spare, memories of the Klusener-Donald run-out at Edgbaston in the 1999 World Cup semi-final came flooding back.

No.11 Makhaya Ntini squeezed a single from his first ball to tie the scores, and Boucher did the rest, lofting to the boundary for a win that, all these years later, still seems scarcely believable.