According to the purists, test is the best format of cricket. We have seen death over batting in ODI and vast boundaries in the T20s. Still, test cricket attracts us with its multitude of colors. We are witnessing results in most of the matches nowadays, and many of them turn out to be a close competition. Let us have a look then, at ten best thrillers and closest victories in the test history.
1. Zimbabwe vs. England at Bulawayo (1996)
It is the first test in the history wherein the match drawn due to score level at the last ball. In the first innings of both teams, there were three centurions in total: Andy Flower from Zimbabwe, John Crawley, and Nasser Hussain from England. The total was 376 for Zimbabwe and 406 for England.
In the second innings, the story was different for Zimbabwe because they got all out at 234, leaving a target of 205 for England. In the final over, they needed only 13 runs to win, but Nick Knight was unable to hit Heath Streak for those and fell short in the last race.
2. West Indies vs. Australia at Antigua (2003)
Windies needed a daunting 418 runs to win the game. However, centuries from Chandrapaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan did the trick, and they managed to upset the kangaroos. It’s the highest run change in the history of test cricket.
Result. West Indies won by three wickets.
3. Australia Vs. England at Edgbaston (2005)
England set a target of 282, and Australia was 175-8 at one point in time. When everyone thought that England would win the game, Bret Lee and Shane Warne fought together. Once Warne got hit wicket, Kasprowicz got out as well. Australians were only three runs away from a well-deserved win, which never happened.
Result: England won by 2 runs
4. Australia v New Zealand at Hobart (2011)
The rivalry is not as celebrated as some other rivalries in international cricket, but time and again Austria and New Zealand has given us some original gems. Being no exception, the test match between these two was a thriller. Australia was hosting the series and had already won the first test. So, all the pressure was on the Kiwis.
Hobart has a spicy pitch, and none of the scores in all the four innings were above 250. Australia has to chase 241, and they were steady till 122 runs. But, the terrific spell by Doug Bracewell (6-40) ripped their batting apart, and Australia lost the game.
Result: New Zealand wins by seven runs
5. India vs. West Indies at Mumbai (2011)
India was dominating the series with 2-0, but the third and final test became a cliff-hanger wherein any of the four results were possible, including a tie.
West Indies piled a mammoth 590 runs in the first innings, helped by a substantial 166 by DM Bravo. India stopped at 482, which was a combined result of the fifties from Tendulkar, Dravid, Gambhir, Kohli, and a century from R. Ashwin. In the second half, the pitch took a U-turn, and the entire Windies team got out for 134. For India, the target was only 243. When Dhoni left, India required 50 more runs to win the game. Ishant and Ashwin stretched their batting game to the last over. India needed two off the last ball when Ashwin missed the crease by a significant distance.
6. Australia vs. South Africa at Oval (2012)
One of the classic test matches played during South Africa’s tour of Australia. Centuries from Michael Hussey and Warner included with a double century from Clarke, Australia posted a mammoth 550 and got 338 in return from SA.
After the fourth innings, South Africa had to chase 430. After sliding to 45/4, SA was helped by Faf du Plessis, who took 376 balls to make 110 runs. Most impressive was the innings of ABD, who can play anywhere in the ground. However, he took 220 shots and got bowled by Siddle. Injured Kallis was only able to make 46 runs. Still, SA batted well for 150 overs, and the match was a drawn.
7. India vs. South Africa at Johannesburg (2013)
A terrific partnership of 205 runs between the great ABD and Du Plessis, centuries from Kohli as well as Pujara, and shocking deliveries in the final overs made this test a thrilling competition. South Africa was chasing 458 from 136 overs to break the world record of the highest chase. On the last day, they needed 320 runs with eight wickets in hand. When ABD and Faf left, South Africa still needed 16 runs from 19 balls. Surprisingly, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander batted three overs without even trying to win.
8. England v Australia at Nottingham (2013)
The first test of Ashes 2013 was a real thriller. The English team was able to post only 215 on the scoreboard because the pitch assisted seam and movement. Australia restricted England at 280, and then they posted 375 runs in the second inning. Australia needed 311 to win the game.
Watson and Rogers started well, and Australia comfortably reached 111-1. But then, they witnessed an apparent batting collapse where only Haddin was able to cross 50 runs. Finally, the chief wrecker James Anderson sent Haddin back to the pavilion, and England secured a thrilling victory over the Kangaroos.
Result. England won by 15 runs.
9. Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka (2017)
Bangladesh surprised the visitors in the first test on a pitch that supported only spinners. None of the sides were able to cross the 300 marks, but in the end, Bangladesh won the match.
In the second innings, Australia was chasing a target of 265. Once the spin trio of Mehdi Hasan Miraz, Shakib Al Hasan, and Taijul Islam came into the attack, Australian batting lineup collapsed. Cummins tried well but got no support from the other end.
Result. Bangladesh won by 20 runs.
10. Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi (2017)
This match was nothing less than a morale boost for Sri Lanka, who needed a victory after their recent poor patch. For four days, the game was going nowhere, but on the last day, it got dramatic.
Both the teams posted 400 + scores in the first innings, however, in the second chance, Sri Lanka got out for 138. Now, Pakistan needed only 136 runs to win the game. That never happened because Rangana Herath (6-43) and Dilruwan Perera (3-46) never allowed any Pakistani batsman to stay on the pitch for long. Finally, Pakistan reached only 122, and Sri Lanka got a well-deserved victory.
Result. Sri Lanka won by 21 runs.
This post is written by Stewart Dixon, the admin of cricketbettingadvice.com. Stewart is a sports lover and follower. He likes to write about cricket, football, tennis and boxing.