The game of grit, patience, and precision, commonly known as the gentlemen’s game. Cricket has evolved since its very beginning in the year 1877. From ‘Timeless Tests’ to the five-day matches, One Day Internationals, and the shortest format of twenty overs, the game has advanced well with time.
But the eminence of the longest format of the game is yet to be replaced. Test cricket is considered to be of the highest standard of the sport and even with more than 140 years of the first-ever match being played, we to date have only 12 teams that have been granted the test status by the International Cricket Council with the latest team being Afghanistan, who were awarded the status in 2018.
Though cricket has become biased towards the shortest format, Test cricket is considered the ultimate test of a player’s and team’s perseverance and sufferance. From a time when fourth innings chases in test matches were considered an impracticable task, we have now elapsed to the period when the players are showing great grit and endurance to rather prove the bygone concept wrong.
Cricwizz brings you the latest 8 successful fourth-innings run chases in Test cricket by the teams and the gritty players who ensured they got over the line.
1) West Indies chase down 395 vs Bangladesh
After a 3-0 white-wash, who in the world would have thought the inexperienced Windies bounce back to register the 5th ever highest successful fourth-innings run chase ever. What were the odds? Bangladesh would be feeling distraught after the defeat as they went on to declare their second innings for 223 runs. A target of 395 runs with just a day and a session to chase down, looked like only a miracle could help Windies take a 1-0 lead in the series.
It was indeed the day for the miracle. The Windies started their chase solid but that was not enough to chase down the mammoth total. Yes, You said something special? Extra-ordinary? Magical? Call it what you want.
The 28-year old Kyle Mayers who came to bat three-down managed to play one of the best ever fourth- inning and became only the sixth batsman to score 200 in the 4th innings.
Mayers faced 310 balls to score his 210 runs. His partnership along with Nkrumah Bonner, who himself managed to play a blinder of an innings of 86 runs. The two spirited Windies went on to add 216 runs for the fourth-wicket and from there on the eminent Mayers made sure he was there till the very end to see his team off to a memorable victory.
2) India chase down 328 vs Australia
The match that went down the history books as one of the greatest ever test matches, a match that is still talked about fresh today. Every cricket fan would know the epic encounter between the Indians and the Aussies that took place at the Gabba. It was the first time in 32 years a team managed to breach the Gabba fortress and it was done with great authority, chasing down a mammoth total of 328 in the deteriorating track of Gabba.
With the series leveled at 1-1, the Gabba test was all to play for. The match began with the Aussies as heavy favorites as they had just lost six matches at the venue prior to this encounter. The Aussies seemed in a comfortable position after setting the visitors a target of 328 to win and it did look impractical given the deteriorating pitch and the great record the Aussies had at the venue.
To the surprise of millions watching, Team India were all over the Aussies from ball one of Day five. The young sensation Shubman Gill started off by playing some gorgeous drives and in no time scored valuable 91 runs for the team.
Team India though needed someone to finish the innings along with Pujara and it was only then that the modern artist Rishabh Pant started writing down what will now remain in the history books for years to come. The 23-year old went to score a sensational 89 and in turn, helped team India register one of the biggest comebacks in the history of test cricket.
3) England chase down 359 vs Australia
One of the colossal rivals of the game. It is always a neck to neck competition when the mighty Aussies lock horns with the inventors of the game. The most celebrated 2019 Ashes cup began with the Aussies taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match test series. With the second match ending in a draw, the hosts were in a must-win situation going to the third test.
The first innings was rather quick as the Aussies were wrapped up for 179 runs. The English batsmen in their reply were shattered apart by the Aussies pacers and were bundled out for a humiliating 67 runs. With 359 runs required to draw the series and salvage pride, the English batsmen had a poor start losing two wickets for 15 runs. But one would have not expected for what was to come.
The 2019 World cup hero- Ben Stokes went to play a historic inning of 135 runs and wickets tumbling at one end, it was taken down to the wire. Stokes held his nerves and ensured he got his team over the line and registered an epic win.
4) Sri Lanka chase down 304 vs South Africa
In what could be considered the beginning of the new era of red-ball chases, the successful chase of 304 by Sri Lanka against the proteas does mark the inception. With the Durban track slowing down on the last two days and the bowlers enjoying great success, it was almost certain the hosts were on course to start the series with a win.
But the Sri Lankan flamboyant batsman- Kusal Perera had made up his mind that they would not settle for a settlement.
In what will definitely go down as one of the best fourth innings ever by the batsman, the 30-year old went on to score an astonishing 153 runs off 200 balls, playing at a strike- rate of 76 when almost all the batsmen found the going tough. The innings did mark the ignition of many more to come.
5) Afghanistan chase down 149 vs Ireland
In what was only their second-ever test match, the upcoming nation showcased immense character and ability to topple the Irish. Ireland after managing to win the toss made their right decision to bat first. But the Afghani spinners ensured the visitors were reduced to 172 in their first innings.
Afghanistan made sure they went into the second innings with a lead of 142 runs. The Irish put up a total of 288, giving the spirited Afghanis a target of 147 runs.
Though the target seemed below par, the inexperience of the team was always an advantage for the visitors. But the adroit Rahmat Shah played a masterful inning of 76 and helped the Asian country register their first-ever test victory.
6) Sri Lanka chase down 268 vs New Zealand
This time it was their captain- Dimuth Karunaratne who led from the front to help Lanka take a 1-0 lead against the visitors in the two-match series. The Galle International Stadium as we know is an absolute paradise for the bowlers.
With just six times the teams managing to chase down the score successfully in Galle, the score of 268 looked really tough in the slow track of Galle. But with great courage comes great rewards, the Lankan captain played a mind-blowing inning of 122 runs to hand his country a comfortable six-wicket win over the in-form Kiwis.
7) West Indies chase down 200 vs England
The much-needed match amidst the peak of the Pandemic, the lockdown deprived the entire cricket world of some quality action. The series marked the return of cricket at the highest level and the West Indies made sure they had a piece of it. The rather inexperienced Windies were given a stiff target of 200 to chase down in the bowler-friendly Southampton track.
At 27 for the loss of 3 wickets the game looked sealed in favor of the hosts. But such is the beauty of the game that it is not over till it's over. The 29- year old Jamaican- Jermaine Blackwood decided to use the platform to announce his name by scoring a gritty, elegant, and entertaining knock of 95, helping his team to a victory by 4 wickets, and also marked the rise of Blackwood, who is now the face of the West Indian test cricket.
8) England chase down 277 vs Pakistan
In yet another encounter in the course of the pandemic. The cricket world was glued to this epic clash between the English and Pakistan. Pakistan after electing to bat first did make full use as they went into the second innings with a lead of 107 runs. But the English bowlers ran through the batting line-up of the visitors reducing them to 169 in the second innings.
The English with 277 runs required to take a 1-0 lead in the series started their innings rather shaky, losing 5 wickets of 117. But the 139 runs partnership between Jos Butler and Chris Woakes took the game away from the Men in green. The 2019 World cup winners went on to win the match by three wickets.
These eight innings serve as an exemplar of how the gentlemen’s game has advanced over time. One could believe that these are just the beginning of the modern era of run chases and the teams looking to come to a settlement will soon be an outmoded approach. After the interesting insight into the eight spectacular innings, which one do you think is the best innings and chase among these?