Yesterday was another great day for Test cricket, not because India managed to better their performance compared to how they started but because West Indies beat Pakistan in one of the most enthralling fashions.
West Indies won the toss and opted to bowl and it turned out to be a good decision as Pakistan got all out for 217. In reply, West Indies scored 253, courtesy of a brilliant 97 by Kraigg Braithwaite followed by a crucial 58 from Jason Holder.
The 36-run lead came in handy to the hosts as they put up a better bowling performance in the second innings, bowling Pakistan out for 203. With a target of 168 to chase, West Indies were in the driver's seat but Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali made it extremely difficult for them as they picked four and three wickets respectively.
West Indies were 92/5 in 28.4 overs and it felt like the hosts had bottled it but Jermaine Blackwood's 55 and Kemar Roach's 30 at the end saved the match for West Indies as they won by the finest margins of one wicket.
So here it is, Cricwizz's topic for today! The most memorable 1 wicket wins in Test Cricket.
1) Sri Lanka vs South Africa, Durban (2019)
The visitors had won the toss and elected to field first. The Proteas scored 235, with Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock contributing majorly with 47, 35, and 80 runs respectively.
Vishwa Fernando picked four wickets, while Kasun Rajitha picked three. However, Sri Lanka were poor with the bat and lost all their wickets just for 191 runs. Dale Steyn picked four wickets.
Kusal Perera's 51 was the highest contribution to the visitor's total and it was now South Africa's turn to capitalize the lead and they did, putting 259 on the board. This time Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram had a decent start, scoring 35 and 28 respectively, but what came next was very evident. Faf du Plessis scored a thumping 90 with Quinton de Kock who scored 55 as South Africa looked like they had the Test match in their hands.
Lasith Embuldeniya picked a fifer, while Vishwa Fernando did a great job again picking four wickets. Sri Lanka had a mammoth total of 304 to chase. Sri Lanka had a poor start as they found themselves tumbling for 110/5.
Sri Lanka needed a long partnership to even think of a draw and all the hopes were on Kusal Perera. He then went on to play one of the best innings of his life as he built the innings with Dhananjaya de Silva who scored 48, helping the Sri Lankan total in great capacity.
Sri Lanka have done it!— ICC (@ICC) February 16, 2019
Kusal Perera's 153* takes them over the line with one of the greatest innings in the history of this brilliant game!
Absolutely incredible.#SAvSL FOLLOW ⬇️ https://t.co/ILua51ZiiN pic.twitter.com/M23vZKId1S
De Silva lost his wicket after a phenomenal 96-run partnership and in no time Sri Lanka were under trouble again as they were 206/7. After 20 more runs, Sri Lanka's loss looked imminent as they lost two more wickets and South Africa needed just one wicket, while the Lankans were 226/9, requiring 78 more to win.
What happened next is worthy to be mentioned in the history books as Kusal Perera kept toiling like a lone warrior and won the game alone for his nation, making this win one of the best-ever 1 wicket Test wins.
2) The Ashes, Leeds (2019)
England were trailing 1-0 as they went into the second Test at Leeds. England won the toss and elected to field first. It looked like a good decision as Australia managed to register only 179.
David Warner scored 69, while Marnus Labuschagne scored 74 and the rest of the side except the skipper Tim Paine failed to reach double figures. Paine scored 11. Jofra Archer was the pick of the bowlers as he picked six wickets and single-handedly destroyed the Australian batting. It was anticipated that England's toss decision was a masterclass and England will now capitalize and build a great lead to put Australia under pressure.
However, fate had different plans as England were disrupted for a total of just 67, not even half of what Australia scored. Josh Hazlewood picked a fifer, while Pat Cummins picked a double as England were embarrassed in their backyard.
In the second innings, Australia didn't let the first innings performance repeat and scored 246, which with the lead became a humongous target of 359 runs for the hosts. While the team contributed in the 20s and 30s, Marnus Labuschagne maintained his class and scored 80, while Ben Stokes picked the most wickets for England in the innings (3).
The chase was never going to be easy and the hosts were well aware of it. After losing their openers in just the sixth over of the game, Australia were cruising towards victory but the "Joe Duo" got some cheers back to the stadium as Root scored 77, while Joe Denly contributed with a much-needed 50.
England were 159/4 and Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were on the crease with a huge task in hand. Both continued what Denly and Root were aiming for until Bairstow lost his wickets after an integral 86-run stand.
Ben Stokes held his end but the other end was loose and kept losing wickets. England were 286/9, with 73 runs required, with Ben Stokes still fighting and Jack Leach surviving on the other end.
What came next was a one-man show from Stokes as he took the game away from the Australians and finished the match with a monstrous strike and a celebration that will be etched in the minds of the England fans. Stokes scored an unbeaten 135 and registered himself in the history books.
India vs Australia, Mohali (2010)
Australia were on a tour of India, while India's toss fortune remained the same as the hosts lost the toss and were asked to bowl first. The visitors put up a huge score of 428, with Shane Watson scoring 126, while Tim Paine and Mitchell Johnson scored 92 and 47 respectively.
Zaheer Khan was India's best bowler as he picked five wickets and it was now India's turn to show what they could do. India didn't match Australia's numbers but they did a decent job, scoring 405. Virender Sehwag scored 59, Rahul Dravid scored 77, while Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina played some really good shots, scoring 98 and 86 runs respectively.
For the visitors, it was Mitchell Johnson who picked a fifer, and now it was Australia's turn to bat again and set a target for India. The Indian bowlers, especially Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma turned up a notch and restricted Australia to just 192 runs, picking three wickets each.
India had a total of 216 to chase but their start made it more difficult for them. India were 76/5 and then 124/8, courtesy of Sachin's 38 while the rest were terrible.
Australia were just two wickets away from going ahead in the two-match series, and India were hoping that VVS Laxman with Ishant Sharma could produce something miraculous.
However, calling what happened next a miracle won't be fair to Sharma and Laxman who played one of their best innings of their career against robust Australian bowling.
Their 81-run stand helped India the most as Ishant Sharma got out when India needed 11 more runs after his most valuable 31 runs. With 11 more needed, Pragyan Ojha stepped out to bat and as Laxman held the other end, Australia knew that it was Ojha who had to be targeted. Ojha's five runs helped India a lot but it was VVS Laxman who emerged as India's hero of the Test match, registering one of India's best Test wins ever. Ben Hilfenhaus was Australia's best bowler as he picked four wickets.
Another 1 wicket win that will be cherished by millions and still is.
Pakistan vs Australia, Karachi (1994)
Another match with Australia where they won the toss and were batting first. Australia did a brilliant job as a unit, scoring 337 runs. Michael Bevan scored 82, Steve Waugh played a fabulous knock of 73, while Ian Healy scored 57.
Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Mushtaq Ahmed picked three wickets each. When Pakistan came out to bat, only Saeed Anwar turned up in form, scoring 89 at the top, while the next best was Wasim Akram with his 39.
Pakistan were all out for 256, with Shane Warne and Jo Angel picking three wickets each. Pakistan came back strongly in the second innings and bowled Australia out for 232, with David Boon scoring a remarkable century (114), with Mark Waugh also scoring 61.
The duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis was on fire as they picked five and four wickets respectively. Pakistan were to chase 314 and needed a great start to set things up. Once again, Saeed Ahmed scored an important 77, this time with some assistance from Aamer Sohail's 34. Saleem Malik, the skipper score 43 after which the Pakistan batting fell apart 184/7.
Inzamam-ul-Haq and Rashid Latif were on the crease, with Pakistan on the back foot, but a 52-run stand between them put Pakistan in contention again.
However, Steve Waugh got rid of Latif, who scored a vital 35, and soon Waqar Younis departed too. Australia needed only a wicket to clinch the test, while Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed had to battle it out for the final 57 runs. An inspiring inning from Inzamam and a perfect example of perseverance from Ahmed helped Pakistan get over the line as they won the test in the most dramatic fashion.
England vs Australia, The Oval (1902)
The list is about the best 1-wicket wins and there was no way where we could exclude the first time when it happened. Australia were batting first and scored 324.
Victor Trumper scored 42, Monty Noble scored 52, while Hugh Trumble scored 64 and was unbeaten. For England, it was George Hirst who picked a fifer and helped in restricting Australia from reaching 350.
Hirst was England's best batsman in the innings too as England were done for just 183. Another player who did the best in both departments was Hugh Trumble, who picked eight wickets and scored 64 in the first innings as well.
England came back with intent in the second innings and bowled Australia put for just 121, with Bill Lockwood's fifer. England had to chase 263 but their start only made it more difficult for them. England were 48/5 and it looked like everything was over for them. However, Stanley Jackson and Gilbert Jessop's 109-run partnership helped England's boat from sinking, and then it was Hirst who took over.
The drama was set to unfold as England lost their ninth wicket at 248, 15 runs away from a win but Hirst's smart batting helped England register the first-ever 1-wicket win in Tests that went on to inspire several teams who learned that nothing is finished until you don't give up.
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