Laura Wolvaardt becomes the first Proteas batter to score a century in all three formats

The South African skipper, Laura Wolvaardt, continues her excellent form with the bat, slamming her Test first century. She had an exceptional ODI series against Sri Lanka and India, scoring two centuries against the Islanders, including her highest ODI score of 184, which came in a losing cause, and another century in the ODI series of the ongoing multi-format series against India, scoring 135 in the second one-day match, though in another losing effort.

Laura Wolvaardt becomes the first Proteas batter to score a century in all three formats
Laura Wolvaardt becomes the first Proteas batter to score a century in all three formats

Laura Wolvaardt scored her first ODI century against Ireland at the age of 17, becoming the youngest cricketer, male or female, to score a century. She registered her maiden T20I century against Sri Lanka. Although South Africa has not achieved the desired results recently, their skipper continues to impress the cricketing world, most recently with her maiden Test century in the second innings of the one-off Test against India at Proteas.

Laura has 8 centuries in the ODI format and one in the T20I format against Ireland, scoring 102. Previously, she had only scored 44 runs in the two Test matches she had played. But on a dusty Chepauk pitch, with South Africa being forced to follow on 337 runs behind, the right-handed batter found her mojo. She took her time initially in the innings, facing more than 160 balls on day three against the Indian bowlers, mostly spinners in dusty, spin-friendly conditions.

Wolvaardt used the depth of the crease to her advantage in the second innings. She was involved in a 190-run partnership with Sune Luus, who also scored 109 before being dismissed by the Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur. The duo of Luus and Wolvaardt batted for 66 overs across the second and third sessions on day three to keep the Proteas in the game.

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After scoring a maiden Test century in the red-ball format, Wolvaardt became the first Proteas batter in women’s cricket to score a century in all three formats and the third overall to do so, with Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont from England achieving this before her.

She also became the second South African batter to score a Test century, with the first being scored by Mignon du Preez at Mysore against India in 2014, where she scored 102. Wolvaardt had only managed a 36-ball 20 in the first innings. She was in no rush to score and focused on settling into the wicket. Her innings was filled with one of her favourite shots—the cover drive—against the likes of Renuka Singh initially in her innings. She ended day three unbeaten on 93, with her partner Marizanne Kapp at the other end.

The Proteas skipper took no time to score her maiden century in the second over of day four, becoming the first Proteas batter to face more than 300 balls. Taking a single off the last ball of the 87th over against Renuka Singh, her century came off 259 balls with 14 boundaries.

Laura led the Proteas in a fightback against the host side, taking the match into day four before getting dismissed for 122 off 314 balls, which is the highest score by a visiting batter in India. She batted for more than 300 minutes, becoming the first Proteas player to stay at the crease for such a duration. Despite having little Test experience, the team didn’t go down without a fight.

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