WELL YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS A LOW SCORING TEST MATCH!!
After the fantastic victory for Bangladesh against England in the second Test I was set the challenge of finding out about other low scoring Test matches.
With the use of Cricinfo and then finding a book personally signed and given to me by the much missed Bill Frindall with the full scorecard of every Test match from 1877 until 1977 I have managed to come up with some interesting matches.
So we start with the lowest ever match aggregate. A paltry combined total of 234 runs. The match was played between Australia and South Africa in February 1932. It was the 216th Test match ever played and it was in Melbourne.
South Africa won the toss and decided to bat on “a vicious Melbourne sticky”. 23.3 overs later they were all out for 36 !! (and we thought Nasser made some crass decisions on winning the toss!)
The Aussies replied with 153 for 9. Poor Don Bradman couldn’t bat after twisting his ankle on the coconut matting in the dressing room while he was running out to field.
The Safas went back in and got bowled out for 45 to lose by an innings and 72 runs. Well batted.
Although the game went into the 3rd day due to rain, the actual game lasted 5 hours 53 minutes. 234 runs,29 wickets,109.2 0vers. Hope no one bought a 5 day pass !!
If you loved watching the bowlers on top 1888 was the year to be watching. Tests numbers 27,28,29,30 were all in the top 28 of lowest scoring matches.
The second lowest aggregate in a Test was Test number 28. England v the Aussies. Apparently played on a mud pitch at Lords in July 1888. 291 runs for 40 wickets. The lowest aggregate in a match when 40 wickets were taken.
Aussies 116. England 53. Aussies 60. England 62. Convicts winning by 61 runs. On day two 27 wickets fell in 3 hours for 157 runs. Altogether 198 overs.
The next Test match at the Oval (Test no 29 for those of you not great at maths). A massive improvement in scoring here so much so that it is the 28th lowest aggregate. 497 runs for 30 wickets and 298 overs.
Aussies 80 England 317 Aussies 100.
Wheels came off again in the next Test match (that’s it number 30), played at Manchester. 5th lowest scoring Test match ever. A wet pitch at the start of the game after it rained in Manchester (really?) suddenly changed on a hot and sunny second day to produce a sticky dog in which 18 wickets fell BEFORE lunch. The Aussies couldn’t avoid the compulsory follow on of 1888 of 80 runs and lost just before lunch on day 2. The shortest ever Test match in England requiring only 6 hours and 34 minutes and 197 overs.
England 172 Aussies 81 and 70.
Both teams warmed up for this series by playing a one off Test in Sydney in the February in 1888. Time to fill your boots under clear blue skies of down under.
WRONG. 7th lowest aggregate of all time. 374 runs for 40 wickets in 282 overs
England 113 Aussies 42 England 137 Aussies 82
Lets skip on a bit and change direction a little. What's the lowest amount of wickets lost in a Test match victory? All done with only 499 runs scored in the match? Worked it out yet? Well done, yep that’s it, the infamous Hansie Cronje declaration game in Pretoria in 2000 (Test number 1483). One declaration, 2 x forfeited innings and a victory. So only 16 wickets fell and only 147 overs were bowled. Sad day for cricket in the end followed by a very untimely death.
So what is the least number of wickets lost/lowest total to actually win one of these low scoring games. You have to go to Test number 456. England against the Kiwis in 1958. NZ 67, England 267 for 2, NZ 129.
Only the 3rd time in 100 years of Test cricket that a side has won a Test match by only losing 2 wickets. A total of 463 runs for 22 wickets in 262 overs. In this match England opened with 2 double internationals. MJK Smith, rugby union, and CA Milton, football. Can't see that happening again.
Finally, Test number 9, the Oval 1882. 363 runs scored in the match for 40 wickets, 269 overs. Aussies 63, England 101, Aussies 122, England 77. The convicts win by 7 runs. During the tense final stages, one spectator died of heart failure and another bit through his umbrella handle!
At the end of the game the SPORTING TIMES carried a mock obituary notice stating the body of English cricket would be cremated and the ASHES taken back to Australia. The Ashes, the greatest sporting event, was born.
10 of the top 20 lowest scoring Test matches all happened in the first 52 Tests ever played. Think its fair to say that in the early years of cricket it was certainly a bowlers game.
They must have played on some shocking and at times dangerous pitches in yester year. I for one don’t mind seeing our players struggling on pitches they are not used too. But I really don’t mind seeing opposition teams struggling in our conditions and on our pitches either. Batsmen just need better techniques and I think sometimes they play on pitches that are just too bland. Isn't it better seeing low scoring matches where every run counts rather than these boring run fests we sometimes see? Sorry, was getting my groundsman's head on again there!
Hope you enjoyed that, off now to pack for India. Now where did I put that Imodium???