Stephen Cook got a reprieve off the 12th ball he faced and capitalised on it in the first session © Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, in the month of November, Jimmy Cook became the first South Africa batsman to face a white ball in international cricket. Twenty-four years ago, in the month of November, Jimmy was the first South Africa batsman to face a red ball in international cricket in South Africa in 22 years. Today, in the same month, his son Stephen, became the first South Africa batsman to face a pink one.
Jimmy’s experiences created history because they came on South Africa’s readmission to international cricket as the country prepared for the end of apartheid. Stephen’s experience was part of South Africa’s attempt to become the first team to whitewash Australia in a three-Test series at home, having already beaten the hosts in a third successive series.
Unfortunately for the father-son pair, neither went on to have innings they will remember. In the third ODI against India in Delhi, Jimmy faced 46 balls and scored 35, sharing a 72-run opening stand in the team’s successful chase of 288. In the Test against India in Durban, he was out first ball, caught at second slip by Sachin Tendulkar although the ball appeared to have bounced.
In Adelaide, Stephen would have been out off the 12th ball he faced when he was trapped on the back pad by Mitchell Starc but Australia’s spearhead overstepped. After struggling through this tour with a top-score of 23 before today, Stephen received a much-needed reprieve and, in the first session, made full use of it.
He survived a testing opening spell from Starc, who swung it significantly, tried to draw him into the drive and challenged his defence with yorkers. He found some rhythm against Jackson Bird and he helped his captain Faf du Plessis steady South Africa after three early dismissals. But 99 balls after Stephen became the second person in his family to rack up a first, he was dismissed. Starc angled one across him, Stephen got a thick outside edge and Steven Smith accepted the catch at second slip.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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