Australia and South Africa have been two of the most dominant teams since the inception of Test cricket.

The two sides faced off for the first time in October 1902, a high-scoring stalemate at Johannesburg, which kickstarted one of the fiercest rivalries in the world of cricket.

Since then, the two sides have played out some of the greatest Test matches of all time, one of them being the contest at Sydney in January 1994.

Three years after South Africa were reinstated in international cricket, they toured Australia. The second Test match saw them emerge victorious by five runs in a thriller, with Gary Kirsten and Jonty Rhodes getting their half-centuries in addition to Fanie de Villiers’ 10-wicket haul.

In all, Australia and South Africa have faced off in 101 Test matches, with the Australians having an upper hand as far as victories are concerned.

Australia vs South Africa head-to-head in Tests

Format Matches Australia won South Africa won Draw/Abandoned/NR
Test 101 54 26 21

Australia vs South Africa Test records

Highest team total

In their first Test of the Australia tour of South Africa 2002, Australia posted a first innings total of 652/7d, which is the highest team total between the sides in Test cricket.

Riding on Adam Gilchrist’s unbeaten 204 along with Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn’s tons, Australia declared on 652.

Thereafter, the Proteas were thoroughly outplayed as the visitors won convincingly by an innings and 360 runs.

Lowest team total

The fifth Test of the South Africa tour of Australia 1932 saw the tourists getting bundled out for 36 in the first innings, which remains one of the lowest totals in Test matches.

Only the South African skipper Jock Cameron got to double digits, scoring 11 in an embarrassing performance.

In the end, Australia won by an innings and 72 runs.

Highest individual score

Australia’s Donald Bradman smashed a fantastic 299* when the sides met in Adelaide back in 1932. 

Following South Africa’s 308/10 in the first innings, Donald Bradman missed out on his triple century by just one run.

Nonetheless, it guided Australia to a 10-wicket win in a one-sided clash. 

Best bowling figures

Former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson has the best bowling figures in an innings as the southpaw recorded 8/61 when the two sides squared off at Perth in December 2008.

However, his efforts went in vain as the Graeme Smith-led side won by six wickets.

As far as best bowling figures in a match are concerned, it's Australia’s Clarrie Grimmett who bagged 14/199 in the same match where Donald Bradman recorded the highest individual score between the two sides.

Highest partnership

The Aussie pair of Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett holds the record for the highest partnership, when the duo added 385 runs for the fifth wicket in the first Test of the Australia tour of South Africa 1997.

With Waugh and Blewett getting their ton and double-century respectively, Australia cruised to an astonishing win by an innings and 196 runs.


Photo credit: Alamy