Saved by the last wicket

The West Indies players Gabriel and Chase should have remembered that no less than 22 Tests ended as a draw when the last wicket pair held on:

Saved by the last wicket-2

In some cases there were only a handful of runs to make for victory. The India-WI match of 2011 ended up as a draw with scores level (not a tie because all wickets had not fallen). England in 1963 also came close to victory with 5 runs to get. But in most cases a heavy defeat was averted because the last wicket did not fall.

They included some draws which critically influenced the result of a series. Take the last entry

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/667899.html

where the No 10 and 11 batsmen Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep survived for a draw.

In the 2nd and final Test of that series, No 11 James Anderson got out with one ball left. Thus Sri Lanka won the Test and the series.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-sri-lanka-2014/engine/match/667901.html

There are quite a few other cases where these 10th-wicket stands were critical. Like the one between Dhoni and Sreesanth in 2007, where India went on to win the series 1-0.

Interestingly the first such Test drawn by the last wicket pair was by India in 1946, with the long-forgotten Sohoni and Hindlekar at the crease:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62663.html

The above list is for the 4th innings where 9 wickets were down and the match ended with a draw. There have also been numerous cases where matches were drawn when 9 wickets in the third innings were down when the side was facing a possible defeat if the last wicket fell.

This cannot be directly be pulled out of Statsguru as the in the above table. But all such 10th wicket survivor stories in the 3rd innings can be found below:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;innings_number=3;orderby=start;result=4;size=200;type=team;view=innings;wicketsmax1=9;wicketsmin1=9;wicketsval1=wickets

Ignore the declarations. Also, in many cases there would not have been enough time for the opponents to make a large number of runs. Maybe we can count cases where the potential target was less than 50 runs.

The narrowest escape would be this one of England vs SA in 1998, where England’s total in two innings exactly equaled SA’s total of 552. SA would have needed just 1 run to win, but England’s last pair of Croft and Fraser spent enough time to ensure that SA would not be able to bat even one ball:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63806.html

England’s escape at Cardiff in 2009 is also there, when Australia needed 13 runs to win.

While we are on this topic, also see the list of one-wicket victories. There have been only 12 in all Test cricket:

P-WI all 1-wkt victories

 

Bangladesh’s greatest Test win

While Bangladesh has made good progress in limited-over cricket in recent years, the just-concluded Test at Mirpur is historic. To understand this clearly, we look at the the team’s 8 Test victories:

bangladesh-test-history

This is their first victory against a full-strength “regular” team, not a fellow minnow such as Zimbabwe-even if it was a 3-0 sweep as in 2014.

And we don’t count the two wins against a West Indies third XI which included many debutants who (apart from Kemar Roach) vanished without a trace. The stand-in captain Floyd Reifer witnessed clean-sweep losses in the Test as well as the ODI series. In the course of the series he talked about his team improving. A journalist asked him, “Have you been smoking something that sounds like your name?”

(Those familiar with American crime novels would know that “reefer” is one of the numerous synonyms for marijuana).

It should be remembered that Bangladesh came very close to winning their first Test back in 2003, but were thwarted by the last-wicket pair of Inzamam (138*) and debutant Yasir Ali (1*): http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64045.html

Yasir Ali never played a Test again, but much was heard of another debutant Salman Butt in years to come.