Greatest Test Matches

It is understood that Test cricket is the apex form of cricket and a Test victory implies so much more than any victory in limited overs cricket. From 1877 to 2014, Cricket world has witnessed more than 2100 Test matches, yet the question remains; “What is the greatest Test of them altogether? It is definitely the most difficult task to pick one among all.

Fastest Test Centuries

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However, we tried our best to select 10 best matches which took in some thrilling performances and nail biting finishes. let’s have a look at 15 Greatest Test Matches of All Time.

15 Greatest Test Matches of All Time

15. The First Test – Melbourne, 1877

15 Greatest Test Matches of All Time
Greatest Test Matches of All Time

Brief Scores: Australia 245 & 104; England 196 & 108

The first cricket match was itself a stunning one with some stupendous individual exhibitions. It was Australia who beat England by 45 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Charles Bannerman scoring the first Test century. Bannerman’s 165 run innings still stays in the record book as the most elevated rate score by a batsman out of a finished innings. Pursuing 154 to win, England were skittled for 108, with slow bowler Tom Kendall taking 7 for 55.

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14. Australia beat England by seven runs – The Oval, 1882 (The ashes are born)

15 Greatest Test Matches of All Time
Greatest Test Matches of All Time

Brief Scores: Australia 63 & 122; England 101 & 77

It was Australia’s first test victory over England. The English side had lost the anterior tour to Australia, but till then had remained undefeated at home by visiting Australian sides. After winning the toss, Australia opted to bat first and the whole Australian innings dismissed for 63 in 80 overs, taking just over 2 hours. As England commenced their run chase, Australian bowler Fred Spofforth ruined the English innings by taking 7 wickets and restricted England for 101. In the second innings Australia were all out for 122 in 63 overs, an overall lead of 84 which betokens England needed just 85 runs to win the match. But like the first innings, Spofforth again engendered another deadliest spell by taking 7 wickets and England was merely short of 8 runs from their victory.

After the loss from Australia, England was widely decried in the English media. The Sporting Times stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The English media then dubbed the next English tour to Australia in 1882-83 as the quest to regain The Ashes.

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13. Australia beat England by 7 wickets – Headingley, 1948

Greatest Test Matches of All Time
Greatest Test Matches of All Time

Brief Scores: England 496 & 365; Australia 458 & 404

It was the first instance in cricket history where a team scored more than 400 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test match. England captain Norman Yardley confidently declared their second innings at 365 for 8 setting Australia the exceptionally impossible assignment of scoring 404 runs to win in 344 minutes. At the same time England’s bowling and fielding fell apart, with wicket keeper Godfrey Evans missing an easy stumping off Arthur Morris, and Bradman twice dropped. Both the batsmen went on to make hundreds and Australia won the match with 13 minutes to spare.

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12. The Great Chase – Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, Sharjah, 2014

Greatest Test Matches of All Time
Greatest Test Matches of All Time

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 428 & 214; Pakistan 341 & 302

Who would have imagined that four days of dull Test cricket would suddenly transform into a thriller on day five at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium? Pakistani batsmen displayed an incredible batting performance after lunch on the final day, when they scored 302 runs in 57.3 overs to sucker-punch Sri Lanka and won the match with a run-rate of 5.25 per over in the fourth innings.

For Pakistan, Azhar Ali played a brilliant innings of 103 runs and got a brilliant support from the skipper Misbah-ul-Haq who also scored 68 runs from 72 balls. Pakistan required 195 in 35 overs at the begin of the last session, and they had settled on a strategic choice to send Sarfraz Ahmed in at No.5, shortly before the tea break. He played his natural game and attacked Rangana Herath several times during his innings. He scored a brilliant 48 from 46 balls and Pakistan won the match with one over to go.

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11. The thrilling draw – India Vs South Africa, Johannesburg, 2013

Greatest Test Matches of All Time
Greatest Test Matches of All Time

Brief Scores: India 280 & 421; South Africa 244 & 450

Pursuing the focus of 458 runs from 136 overs, South Africa came quite close to breaking the world record for a chase in Test cricket. At the start of the fifth day, they needed 320 with eight wickets in hand and a draw was their more realistic goal. They lose two early wickets in the morning but then came a splendid partnership of 205 runs between Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. By the time both were dismissed, South Africa needed 16 runs from 19 deliveries with Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn at the crease. But shockingly they batted out 19 deliveries to secure one of the game’s greatest draws before Steyn smashed the final delivery into the stands over long-on but which decreased the run margin.

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  • Geoff

    Great list. Sorry for being Australian-centric (I’m an aussie so most of the matches I see are in Australia or involve Australia) but I would include Aus v Eng at Adelaide in 2006. The Aus V Pak match in Hobart. I was at the Aus v WI match which the WI won by 1 run – unfortunately I didn’t come to the last day. I love the way Test cricket builds for five days in these excellent matches and count myself fortunate to have see so many incredible players from all nations, races, religions play live.

    • Great to hear from you, will try to accomplish another list including matches you suggested. stay tuned.