Test match cricket is still considered by many as the best and purest form of the game. It lasts for five days and teams encounter a variety of conditions, in which they are tested to their limit. There are also comebacks because each team has two innings to bat and bowl in. Such means that only the best will prosper over the five days. In this article, we will look at the top 5 popular Test matches of all-time.
Australia vs West Indies in Brisbane, Australia, 1960
West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch good for batting and posted 453 on the board, courtesy Garry Sobers’ 132 .
Australia, in their reply, bettered West Indies’ 1st innings effort. Norman O’Neill and Bob Simpson made 181 and 92 respectively, while the likes of Colin McDonald and Les Favell chipped in with useful contributions to help Australia to 505 on the board and secure a 52-run 1st innings lead.
Frank Worrell scored 65 in West Indies’ 2nd innings to go with his 65 in the 1st innings, but it looked like Worrell’s efforts wouldn’t be enough as West Indies were bowled out for 284, giving Australia a moderate target of 233 for victory.
West Indies knew they needed a strong start to have any chance of winning, and that is exactly what they got as Wes Hall’s initial burst had Australia on the ropes at 6/92. Australian captain Richie Benaud staged a recovery along with Alan Davidson as they put on a 134 run partnership for the 7th wicket, but a late flurry of wickets meant that the Test was tied with Australia being bowled out for 232, which was probably the right result given the constant shift in momentum during the Test.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2014
Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq’s innings, of 103 from 137 balls and 68 from 72 balls respectively, on the final day of the Test helped Pakistan pull off a remarkable 5-wicket victory over the Sri Lanka as they successfully chased a target of 302 in just 57.3 overs at a run-rate of 5.25 per over.
Pakistan seemed like they had no chance of leveling the series earlier in the match when they managed just 341 in reply to Sri Lankas 1st innings total of 428. But the collective effort of the Pakistan bowling attack in the 2nd innings ensured that Sri Lankan team were bowled out for 214 and brought them right back into the match. Whether Pakistan could chase 302 from the 59 overs left in the Test match was still touch-and-go, but the contributions of the Pakistani top order with a good strike ensured their victory with 1.3 overs to spare in the day.
India vs Australia in Chennai, India, 1986
A double hundred from Dean Jones, along with centuries from David Boon and skipper Allan Border, took Australia to a mammoth total of 574 in the 1st innings after choosing to bat in hot, sultry conditions.
India, despite Kapil Dev’s innings of 119 from 138 balls, were disappointing in their reply as they were bundled out for 397, giving Australia a massive lead of 177 runs.
Australia were eager to push on for a victory after dominating the first 3 days of the Test and decided to declare on the score of just 170/5 after batting for 49 overs, thereby giving India a total of 348 to chase in the 4th innings of the Test.
Sunil Gavaskar’s innings of 90 from 168 deliveries in India’s run chase, along with handy contributions from the rest of India’s top order at a healthy rate, gave a feeling that Australia had committed a huge blunder by declaring as early as they did. But the Australian spin duo of Greg Matthews and Ray Bright saved Border from humiliation as the pair accounted for 5 wickets each in the final innings of the match, thereby bowling India out for 347 and gave us just the 2nd tied match in Test history.
India vs Australia in Brisbane,Australia, 2020/21
India were forced to make a number of changes to their team due to injuries sustained during the series, and they were also without their regular captain, Virat Kohli, who had returned home for the birth of his child. Australia, on the other hand, were coming off a convincing win in Adelaide and were aiming to secure a series victory.
On the first day of the match, Australia won the toss and elected to bat, but they were bowled out for 369, with Marnus Labuschagne top-scoring with 108. India responded strongly, with Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur both scoring half-centuries to help India reach 336, trailing by just 33 runs.
In the second innings, Australia set India a challenging target of 328 to win. India started their chase positively, with opener Shubman Gill scoring a half-century, but they lost regular wickets and were in trouble at 228/4. However, an unbeaten 89 from Rishabh Pant and a crucial knock of 56 from Washington Sundar helped India achieve their target and win the match by three wickets, completing a remarkable series victory. The win also broke Australia’s record of being undefeated in a Test match at The Gabba since 1988.
India vs Australia in Kolkata,India, 2001
India versus Australia Test match in 2001 in Kolkata is often regarded as one of the greatest Test matches of all time. The match was played at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata from March 11 to 15, 2001, and is famous for India’s dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Australia had won the toss and elected to bat first, and they put up a massive total of 445 in their first innings, with opener Matthew Hayden scoring 97 and skipper Steve Waugh scoring a century. In response, India struggled and were bowled out for just 171, with Sourav Ganguly top-scoring with 59.
Following on, India had a mountain to climb, but they staged a remarkable comeback thanks to an incredible partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. Laxman, who batted at number three, scored a magnificent 281, while Dravid scored 180, and their partnership of 376 runs is still the highest partnership for India in Test cricket. India were able to post a mammoth second-innings total of 657/7 declared.
In their second innings, Australia were set a target of 384 runs to win, but they were bowled out for just 212, with Harbhajan Singh taking six wickets in the innings to finish with match figures of 13/196. India won the match by 171 runs, completing a remarkable turnaround and ending Australia’s record-breaking winning streak of 16 consecutive Test matches.