Test cricket, the highest standard of the game has been around now for over 150 years and is still considered the ultimate Test for the cricketers. The format requires great dedication and perseverance as the players need to fight out in five consecutive days, each day split into 90 overs, which gives us a total of 450 overs.
We often see teams fighting it out hard and even these 450 overs at times turn out to be less in order to separate the two teams. Though we have seen some sheer dominant performances by the teams to wrap the proceedings on the third or fourth day of the Test. But it is very seldom we see the red-ball match is done and dusted on the second day of the match.
Cricwizz brings you the top 5 shortest Test matches post War Era that has produced a result.
1) India vs England (842 balls)
The latest inclusion to this list but ranks first among them. The recent D/N Test match between India and England at the World’s largest cricket stadium- Motera Cricket Stadium took place from the 24th of February. Day 1 saw the visitors being bundled out for 112 and the hosts ended the day at 99 for the loss of 3 wickets. England came back strong on Day 2 to dismiss the Indian side for 145, but the lead of 33 did look threatening enough given the pitch was a rank turner.
England had no answers to the Indian spinners and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A total of 81 meant that the visitors stumbled to their lowest ever Test total against the Men in Blue. With 49 runs required to take a 2-1 lead in the 4-match series, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill performed the finishing formalities.
Match Results: India won by 10 wickets.
2) New Zealand vs Australia (872 balls)
In what is to date considered one of the worst outings of the Blackcaps, this match is one that the kiwis and their followers would never want to look back at. The match took place in Wellington. The hosts after winning the toss made the right decision to bat first, but the disaster that was awaiting them. The Aussie leggie- Bill O'Reilly and medium-pacer- Ernie Toshack simply ran through the kiwis' line-up dismissing them for a measly score of 42. The Aussies in return managed to score 199 runs for the loss of 8 wickets, later deciding to declare the innings with a lead of 152 runs.
The kiwis hoped they could turn things around in the second innings but things turned from bad to worse as the hosts were bundled out for 54 runs, finishing with an aggregate of 96 runs, which stills remains their lowest in the longest format.
Match Result: Australia won by an innings and 103 runs.
3) South Africa vs England (883 balls)
The infamous Centurion Test- known for its dark repercussions that took place in the year 2000, makes it third on our list. The match is still well known for the bold decisions made by the two captains- Nasser Hussain and Hansie Cronje. The Test match was interrupted on Day 1 after just 45 overs being bowled and the next two days saw continuous rainfall and the match was well in direction for a draw. But the captains rather decided to save the dying Test match and decided to forfeit an innings each, leaving the visitors needing 249 runs to register a memorable win.
Though both the captains were censured by many former crickets as well the regional bodies for going against the code of conduct, the skippers did get an equal appreciation for their decision. The Test match was wrapped up in 883 balls, the visitors managed to end South Africa’s 14 match streak at the venue but the proteas did make sure they were part of a new fad that wanted to extract a result.
Match Result: England won by 2 wickets.
4) Australia vs Pakistan (893 balls)
We have Aussies once again make it to the list but this time around the opponents are the Pakistan team. The match took place in the year 2002 and saw the Aussies dominate the Men in green by the word go. The match also marked Australian legend-Steve Waugh’s 150th match and what better than finishing the match in less than 150 overs? The match was held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, a neutral venue. Though the Pakistanis were favorites due to the subcontinent conditions favoring them.
Aussies though came out all guns blazing and dismantled the Pakistan line-up at the cost of just 59 runs, with the top wicket-keeper being the legendary leggie- Shane Warne. The Aussie’s reply was once again led by Mathew Hayden, who scored a fluent 119 in a pitch that was more in favor of the bowlers. The Aussies finished with 310 on the board, which meant they had a lead of 251 runs. Pakistanis, who were expected to show some form of resistance, once again plunged to the leg-spin of Warne and finished with just 53 runs on the board.
Match Result: Australia won by an innings and 198 runs.
5) South Africa vs Zimbabwe (907 balls)
For those of you wondering why not a single minnow team has made it to the list yet, here is one. One of the latest matches to take place on our list was a one-off Test match between the proteas and Zimbabwe. The hosts after winning the toss elected to bat first and courtesy of their opener- Aiden Markram notched up 309 runs on the board at the close of their first innings.
Zimbabwe on the other side found the pace of Morne Morkel way too much to handle and was dismissed for just 68 runs in their first innings. The hosts decided to enforce the follow-on given the quick completion of the first innings. Graeme Cremer and Co. did try their best to delay the proteas from a well-deserved victory but this time it was the spinner- Keshav Maharaj who ran through the Zimbabwe line-up helping South Africa register a dominating win.
Match Result: South Africa won by an innings and 120 runs.
This brings our intriguing list to a conclusion. Test cricket keeps giving us great memories and despite the shortest formats taking over at a rapid pace, the first and highest standard of the game remains to be entertaining. Which one of the above matches did you find interesting?
Cover Credits: Cricshots