Putting on a century partnership for the first wicket is difficult. It is particularly frustrating if the rest of the team contributes less than 50% of the opening partnership.
This has happened several times in Tests:
The above list is in chronological order. However the extent of the collapse can be seen from the column “Percent added”.
The worst such collapse was at # 5, where the West Indies plunged from 276 for no loss to 365 all out (when the others contributed 89 runs or 32.2 % of 276).
Naturally they lost. But you can see that some teams recovered enough to draw or even win a Test after such a collapse.
We look at each of the Tests mentioned above:
Debutant Bedser (7-49 and 4-96) had helped rout India in the first post-war Test in England at Lord’s.
In the second Test at Manchester, things went better for them:
Eng 294 and 153/5 dec
Ind 170 and 152/9.
The 170 included Merchant (78) and Mushtaq Ali (46) putting on 124 for the first wicket. Mushtaq was the first to go, dismissed by debutant R Pollard. The only other batsman to record double figures was the captain Pataudi (11). Bedser finished with 4-41 and Pollard 5-24, who followed him with a five-for on debut.
India was set 278 in three hours. This time Bedser took 7-52 (and thus took 11 wickets in each of his first two Tests) and Pollard 2-63. India reached 138/9 before the last pair of Sohoni (11* on debut) and Hindlekar (4*) played out 13 minutes to ensure a draw.
This was the first time that a Test was saved by the 10th-wicket pair in the fourth innings.
Finally England won this series 1-0 with two draws.
This match was also dramatic but in a different way.
New Zealand had unexpectedly won the 2nd Test and thus led 1-0 going into the third Test:
Aus 221 and 346
NZ 112 and 158
Redpath had carried his bat for 159 in Australia’s second innings.
New Zealand were set 456 for an improbable victory. They started well enough with Turner (72) and JM Parker (34) putting on 107 for the first wicket. Once Parker was dismissed by Gilmour, only Wadsworth (21) crossed double figures and they were dismissed for 158. Walker led the bowling with 4-39 and Australia won by 297 runs on the third day, drawing the series.
Not quite so dramatic. England had won the first Test of the series (their first win in the West Indies since 1974) and the series was drawn 1-1 going into this final Test.
Eng 260 and 154
It was actually England who collapsed, but not in a peculiar manner like the West Indies.
The West Indies started with Greenidge (149) and Haynes (167) who put on 298 before the former was run out. There were more contributions down the line, with Malcolm (4-126) the leading bowler. The remaining wickets contributed 49.7% of the opening partnership, thus meeting our cutoff of 50%. The West Indies duly won by an innings and 32 runs, winning the series 2-1.
As in the previous match, this collapse did not affect the result.
This series confirmed the rapid decline of the West Indies in the latter half of the 1990s. They lost the first two Tests by innings margins. The result of this Test was similar:
WI 216 and 212
Pak 417 and 15/0.
For Pakistan, Aamir Sohail (160) and Ijaz Ahmed (151) opened until the former was dismissed by occasional bowler Chanderpaul on 298. After that Walsh (4-74) and Dillon (5-111) dismissed Pakistan for 417. It did not make much difference, as Pakistan won by 10 wickets and swept the series 3-0. This was the first “whitewash” in a 3-Test series for the West Indies since 1928.
The West Indies also figured in this match, the first of a two-Test series.
WI 365 and 97
NZ 393 and 70/1
They started off with AFG Griffith (114) and SL Campbell (170) who had put on 276 when the latter was dismissed by Nash. CL Cairns (3-73) and the upcoming Vettori (4-83) helped dismiss the team for only 89 runs added. In the second innings, they were dismissed for 97, thus completing a sequence of losing 20 wickets for 186.
New Zealand won by 9 wickets and completed the rout by winning the next Test by an innings.
The West Indies again, though this was a happier occasion for them at the start of a two-Tests series.
Zim 155 and 228
WI 559/6 dec.
Zimbabwe started the third innings 404 runs behind. The start was promising with DD Ebrahim (71) and ADR Campbell (103) putting on 164. Ebrahim was dismissed by Stuart. The only other batsman to cross double figures was GJ Whittall (10*), as McGarrell (4-38) and Stuart (3-45) dismissed the side for 228 giving the West Indies an innings victory. The second Test was drawn, so the West Indies enjoyed a series victory which was already becoming a rare event for them.
Here, the team which collapsed was able to scrape through to a draw.
Pak 482 and 181/6 dec
Aus 202 and 362/8.
Facing a large total, Australia started with Khawaja (85) and debutant Finch (62).
Finch was dismissed by Mohammad Abbas (4-29), who shared the wickets with debutant Bilal Asif (6-36). Pakistan did not impose the follow-on, and Australia was able to draw. But Pakistan won the second Test by a large margin and won the series 1-0.
We will also look at collapses after 200+ for 2 and 300+ for 3.