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Test cricket is a game of infinities played over 5 days. The only deterrent standing in your way is the number of wickets in hand. And so the probability of both teams ending up in identical first-team totals is a very rare occurrence. And yet, this instance has been recorded 8 times in 2168 matches played. 

Today we take a look at all the instances where both teams ended with the same first innings score in a Test match.

1. West Indies vs Australia, May 9-13, 2003; Antigua

West Indies vs Australia Test
West Indies vs Australia (Image Credits: Cricketrevolt)

Choosing to bat first against the West Indies, Australians were skittled out for 240 courtesy of a 7-wicket haul from Jermaine Lawson with only Langer and Steve Waugh managing to cross the 40s. Later in the afternoon on the 2nd day, The men in maroon also got bowled out for 240 with Lara guiding his side with a hard-fought 68.

Though the scores did not stay the same in the second innings, with the Australians posting a  mammoth total of 417 with centuries from openers Langer and Hayden. West Indies in reply saw valiant centuries from Sarwan and Chanderpaul helping their side to chase down 418, recording the highest successful chase in Test Cricket history.

2. West Indies vs England, April 16-21, 1994; Antigua

West Indies vs England Test
West Indies vs England (Image Credits: CricketCountry)

The West Indies cricket team batted first after winning the toss and declared after scoring a huge total of 593 for 5. They were powered by a brilliant knock of 375 from Brain Lara, which stood as the World record for highest individual score at that time. England in reply tied the score with huge centuries from Atherton and Robin Smith being bowled out on the 5th day.

The second innings saw the West Indies play 24 overs, scoring 43 runs without any loss. After which both the captains agreed to end the match in a draw.

3. England vs India, July 3-8, 1986; Birmingham

England vs India Test
England vs India (Image Credits: ESPNofficial)

Winning the toss, England elected to bat first and scored 390 with help of a top knock from Mike Gatting who scored 183 remaining unbeaten. In reply, the Indians got bundled out for exactly  390 runs by day 3. The Indians though had much more of a team effort, with runs coming across the lineup

In the second innings, the English batsman could only post 235 as Indian pacer Chetan Sharma rocked them out with a 6-wicket haul. With 236 runs left to win, the Indians ran out of overs at the end of day 5, scoring 174 for the loss of 5 wickets.

4. West Indies vs Australia, February 16-21, 1973; Jamaica

With the helping hand of Rod Marsh, Doug Walters, and Ross Edwards’ fifties, the Australians declared at 428 for 7 after electing to bat first on winning the toss.  West Indies managed to match the score, as they got all out on the 4th day afternoon. Their batting effort was powered by a century from M Foster and fifties from R Kanhai, Kallicharran, and L Rowe.

In the second innings, Australia declared at 260 for 2 bringing the West Indies to bat in their second innings. In reply, West Indies scored 67 for 3, after which the match was declared as a draw.

5. New Zealand vs Pakistan, February 16-19, 1973; Auckland

Majid Khan (Image Credits: CricketNation)

Winning the toss and choosing to bat, Pakistan posted a huge total of 402 with help of a century from Majid Khan and a couple of fifties scored by Mushtaq Mohammad and Saleem Altaf. In reply, Rodney Redmond and Brian Hastings of New Zealand scored centuries as New Zealand also got bowled out for 402.

As the second innings followed, Pakistan managed to score 271 posting a target of 278, New Zealand only managed to score 92 for 3 before the match ended in a draw.

6. India vs West Indies, December 12-17, 1958; Kanpur

Subash Gupte India Test
Subash Gupte (Image Credits: CricketDaily)

Indian leggie Subash Gupte’s 9-wicket haul destroyed the West Indians’ batting lineup after choosing to bat first on winning the toss. Alexander scored 70 as West Indies put on a total of 222. The Indians in reply were struck by a 6-wicket haul from Wes Hall which skittled India out for exactly 222.

As the second innings continued, West Indies scored declared with 443 for 7 on board. The Indians in reply, crumbled against the visitors and got bowled out for 240, losing the match by a huge total of 203 runs.

7. South Africa vs England, January 21-26, 1910; Durban

The Proteas chose to bat first and managed to post only 199 as Aubrey Faulkner and Tom Cambell, the prime contributors with 40+ scores. The English in reply also collapsed for 199, after an early promising partnership between Hobbs and Rhodes.

During the second innings, South Africa scored 347 with the help of a century from Gordon White. With 348 as the target to win the match, England was bowled out for 252, which resulted in losing the match by 95 runs.

8. England vs New Zealand, May 29-June 2, 2015; Leeds

England vs New Zealand Test
England vs New Zealand (Image Credits: ESPNofficial)

England won the toss and chose to field, bringing the Kiwis on the crease to bat. With valiant half-centuries from ​​Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi, New Zealand scored a total of 350 as Stuart Broad took a 5 wicket haul. The English in reply, found the going tough after an excellent opening partnership by Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth, who scored a half-century and a century respectively.

In the second innings, the Kiwis improved their first innings batting performance scoring 454 and setting a target of 455. England in reply got bundled out for 255, losing by a mammoth 199 runs.

With only 8 instances of such an occurrence in the history of cricket, we are indeed in for a long wait before this phenomenon might happen again. What are the other such records that are of rare sight? Share your comments and thoughts below.

Cover Credits: ESPNofficial