Long-time South African Test colleagues Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith have an ever-strengthening case for suggesting they are the best slip combination in history at least in statistical terms, according to senior cricket writer, Rob Houwing.
"Proteas captain Smith ended the three-Test conquest of Australia recently as the leading catcher on either side with 10, even bettering both wicketkeepers, compatriot AB de Villiers and the Aussies' Matthew Wade, who got nine dismissals each (eight catches and one stumping apiece)," Houwing wrote in his column for Sports24.
"But both he and Kallis, hefty yet sharp-reflex units with apparent buckets for hands, are especially renowned for their phenomenal reliability when standing next to each other in the "cordon" alongside the 'keeper," he added.
"It is efforts at slip that have accounted for the great majority of each player's catches, and they go a long way to explaining why both Cape Town-based national team-mates and friends find themselves among the top 10 for most catches worldwide in a Test career," he said.
Houwing further added: "Obviously helped by South Africa's often lively home conditions and near-eternal strength in the pace and seam bowling department, which ensures a steady stream of nicks, Kallis (192) and Smith (147) have 339 Test catches between them."
"The last-named player lies third on the all-time list for catches, and considering his continued stellar level of overall performance aged 37, must have a good shout at going past the all-time top catcher, Rahul Dravid (210) and second-placed Ricky Ponting (196) - both those players retired during 2012,' he wrote.
"Smith is currently 10th on the list. Apart from Dravid, Ponting and Kallis in the three leading positions, also above him at present are Mahela Jayawardene, Mark Waugh, Fleming, Brian Lara, Mark Taylor and Allan Border," he concluded.