5 Best centuries from the bat of mercurial AB de Villiers in Test cricket

AB de Villiers has announced retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.

AB de Villiers played 114 Tests and scored over 8500 runs

One of the most eye-catching and amazing batting talents of the last decade and a half, AB de Villiers shockingly bid goodbye to international cricket in a video announcement.

De Villiers might have endeared his fans thanks to his audacious 360-degree style of batting in limited overs format, especially T20 cricket; his diehard fans know his worth in the longer format of the game, Test cricket.

De Villiers played 114 Tests to score 8765 runs at an average of 50.66 with 22 centuries and 46 half-centuries. In all of 141 FC cricket matches, he scored 10,689 runs with 25 centuries and 60 fifties.

In a fitting tribute to the great man, Circle of Cricket presents to you five of the Best centuries by AB de Villiers in Test matches.

Check out the 5 best Test centuries by AB de Villiers ever


106* v AUSTRALIA at Perth, 2008

AB de Villiers celebrates a brilliant century at Perth

This amazing Test match between Australia and South Africa at the WACA ground in Perth saw South Africa chase down a massive target of 414 runs in the fourth innings on the fastest pitch in the world.

Australia batted first after winning the toss and thanks to 83 from Simon Katich and fifties from Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds scored 375 in first innings. Makhaya Ntini was the pick of the bowlers with 4/72.

South Africa scored 281 in their reply with Kallis and De Villiers scoring identical score of 63. Mitchell Johnson ran through Proteas batting with 8/61. Australia replied with 319 runs in the second innings with Brad Haddin making 94. South Africa needed 414 runs to win in the fourth innings on the WACA pitch.

However, inspired with a brilliant 108 from captain Graeme Smith, South Africa went after the target. AB de Villiers also scored 106* in 186 balls with 9 fours. Hashim Amla (53) and Jacques Kallis (57) also provided brilliant support to De Villiers, as he anchored one end, after Smith’s dismissal.

Debutant JP Duminy too scored a patient 50 off 119 balls, as De Villiers played in his cavalier way, as South Africa achieved the target with 6 wickets in hand, despite a match haul of 11 wickets by Mitchell Johnson.

AB de Villiers got the Man of the match for his fifty and century in the match.


126* v AUSTRALIA at Port Elizabeth, 2018

AB de Villiers acknowledges the applause from the crowd as he reaches his century | AP

Little did anyone knew that this match will become the last time AB de Villiers scores a century in Test cricket. South Africa came into this match after having lost the first Test at Durban by 118 runs.

Steve Smith won the toss and Australia batted first. Warner’s 63 was the highest score in Australia’s total of 243. Kagiso Rabada picked 5/96 for South Africa.

Buoyed by AB de Villiers’ brilliant 126 from 146 balls with 20 fours and 1 six, South Africa went on to put 382 on the board. Dean Elgar (57) and Hashim Amla (56) were the other notable contributors to the total along with the tailenders.

Usman Khawaja top scored with 75 as Australia scored 239 in the second innings to set a target of 101 runs. Kagiso Rabada was the star with the ball, as he picked 6/54 and 11 wickets in the match.

South Africa reached the total with 6 wickets in hand, with De Villiers making 28.


217* v INDIA at Ahmedabad, 2008

AB de Villiers playing a sweep on way to 217 against India | Daily Mail

South Africa played India at the Ahmedabad in the second Test of the 2008 series. The first Test at Chennai was drawn and both teams were looking to take the lead with one Test at Kanpur to go.

Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first. However, they were in for a surprise, as Dale Steyn (5/23), Makhaya Ntini (3/18) and Morne Morkel (2/20) ran through the Indian side, as India capitulated to 76 all out, with only MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan reaching double figures.

South Africa immediately found themselves in the driver’s seat and went on to pile on 494/7d in their first innings. Jacques Kallis hit 132 in 275 balls, but the main run scorer for Proteas was AB de Villiers, who scored a sublime double hundred- 217 in 333 balls with 2 sixes and 17 fours. He negotiated the likes of Harbhajan Singh (4/135) and Anil Kumble (1/78) brilliantly on a dust bowl of a pitch. South Africa led in the second innings by 418 runs.

His innings allowed South Africa enough time to bowl out India for 328 in the second innings. Ganguly (87), Dhoni (52) and Irfan Pathan (43*) tried their best to delay the inevitable, but Steyn and Ntini picked three wickets each to win the match for South Africa.

South Africa routed India by an innings and 90 runs to go 1-0 up in the series and AB de Villiers deservedly got the Man of the match award.


169 v AUSTRALIA at Perth, 2012

AB de Villiers celebrates a brilliant century - 169 against Aussies

The third Test of South Africa’s tour to Australia in 2012 at Perth was a brilliant exhibition of AB de Villiers’ batting. South Africa batted first after winning the toss and thanks to Faf du Plessis’ 78 and other notable contributions from Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander reached 225 in first innings.

Australia in reply was bowled out for 163 thanks to 68 from Matthew Wade and a brilliant spell of 4/40 from Dale Steyn.

South Africa knew that they needed a big score to turn their lead of 62 into a big advantage. Captain Graeme Smith started the run making with 84. But it was Hashim Amla, who made 196 in just 221 balls with 21 fours and AB de Villiers, who made 169 in 184 balls with 21 fours and 3 sixes and their partnership of 140 odd runs that took South Africa to 569.

Mitchell Starc picked 6/154 and Australia got a target of 632 runs to chase.

Though Ed Cowan made 53 and Mitchell Starc hit 68, none of their main batsmen could score a big innings like Amla or De Villiers and South Africa won the match by 309 runs to win the series 1-0. AB de Villiers’ speedy innings was the reason that South Africa got enough time to bowl Australia out in the second innings to win the match.


278* v PAKISTAN at Abu Dhabi, 2010  

AB de Villiers' 278* was the highest score by a South African batsman in Tests at that time

When South Africa visited Abu Dhabi to play the second Test against Pakistan of the two-match series, the record for the highest score by a South African batsman in Tests was in name of Graeme Smith, who made 277 against England in 2003 at Edgbaston.

The second Test saw South Africa batting first after being put in by Pakistan. Though Pakistani bowlers reduced South Africa to 33/3, their next few sessions went by seeing some wonderful Test cricket batting by Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers as they put on 179 runs for the 4th wicket. Jacques Kallis scored 105 in 147 balls before being dismissed.

But the innings of the match belonged to AB de Villiers, who slammed his career best Test score of 278* in 418 balls with 23 fours and 6 sixes. With this score, De Villiers became the owner of the record of the highest individual score for South Africa in Tests.

This enabled South Africa to score 584/9. Pakistan replied with 434, as Azhar Ali top-scored with 90. South Africa made 203/5d in their second innings to set Pakistan a target of 354 to chase.

Pakistan ended day 5 on 153/3 with Misbah making 58 and Pakistan secured a comfortable draw.

But this innings of AB de Villiers displayed that he had no problems in playing long enduring innings in extreme conditions. His record of 278* stood for just over a year, before being broken by Hashim Amla’s 311 against England in 2012.

By Jatin Sharma - 25 May, 2018

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