Cape Town: Mark Boucher, who has featured in the most Tests as a wicketkeeper, has reached the unprecedented landmark of 500 catches in Test cricket.
The outstanding feat is not only a tribute to his consistency, but also to the exceptional quality of his team's fast bowlers and the bowler-friendly conditions in South Africa.
Among South Africa players, only Jacques Kallis has played more Tests (145) than Boucher. Since his debut in 1997, Boucher has been a regular in the South Africa Test squad missing only ten Tests in between.
Boucher, a quality batsman in his own right, is second behind Adam Gilchrist on the list of wicketkeepers with the most runs in Tests, but is by far the leader when it comes to wicket-keeping dismissals. He has a total of 522 dismissals from 140 Tests (139 for South Africa and one for ICC World XI) including 500 catches and 22 stumpings.
Boucher's dismissals-per-innings figure of 1.962 is only marginally lower than that of Gilchrist, who is on top with a corresponding number of 2.178. The huge difference between the number of catches and stumpings for Boucher is indicative of the nature of the attack that South Africa have possessed for much of his career.
Except for the odd spinner, the attack has predominantly revolved around pace. In sharp contrast, both Healy and Gilchrist have a higher percentage of stumpings because of the presence of top-quality spinners like Shane Warne and Stuart Macgill in their sides. Jeff Dujon, by virtue of being a part of the pace-heavy West Indies team, has the lowest percentage of stumpings among top wicketkeepers.