Test Cricket At Its Best: Despite the fact that team India had a golden opportunity to chronicle one of the most remarkable chases in the fourth innings and climb up the ladder almost to the second spot in this list, some tremendous bowling from James Anderson and Jack Leach took out the entire opposition and inflicted humiliation upon them.
However, just a day ago, West Indies put up a resonating fight on the final day of the Test and defied a superior Bangladesh to claim one of the most humdinger victories in Test cricket. Debutant Kyle Mayers piled up an incredible and an unbeaten double-century that left Bangladesh reeling in agony despite early inroads on a preceding day. In this story, we will tell you tales of the five most incredible chases in the glittering antiquity of the longest format of the sport.
West Indies versus Bangaldesh, Chattogram, 2021 – 395/7
After a mortifying shellacking in the ODI series where Bangladesh whitewashed the visitors, West Indies was in the midst of a never-ending morass with more than half of their first-string players pulling out of the team, quoting pandemic scare. In the first Test, Bangladesh held sway for the first four days and was sure to clinch another lopsided victory only to be denied by the bravado of a debutant who joined forces with Nkrumah Bonner to break the backbone of the Bangladeshi bowling line-up.
The hosts had excellent first innings where Mehidy Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan’s blistering brilliance propelled Bangladesh to a mammoth 430 in the first innings. Despite resistance from Jermaine Blackwood and Kraigg Braithwaite, West Indies was skittled out for a paltry 259. With a huge lead in their belt, Bangladesh declared their second innings at 223 for the loss of 8 wickets. Mominul Haq clubbed a brilliant ton.
West Indies was reduced to 59 for the loss of 3 wickets and from there on the final day of play, Kyle Mayers smacked some incredible strokes that threw the Bangladeshi bowlers off the rails. Nkrumah Bonner played the perfect anchor to the innings, clobbering 86 from 245 balls. Despite a flurry of wickets falling towards the end, Mayers stood tall and completed the victory in style as Bangladesh was left gobsmacked.
Ian Bishop’s tweet made this victory even more special.
Australia versus England, Leeds, 1948 – 404/3
A team that has the moniker of Sir Donald Bradman incorporated in it will always be special. However, to make this even more special, the opposition has the celebrated trifecta of Leonard Hutton, Jim Laker, and Denis Compton. This was a match of pride and top-notch cricketing brilliance.
England posted a solid total in the first innings, thanks to a blistering opening partnership by Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook. They were followed by another rollicking century by Bill Edrich. Alec Bedser chimed in with his special cameo of 79 runs.
Responding to a mammoth 496, Australia totted up a rippling 458 in the first innings. Neil Harvey and Sam Loxton constituted the spine of the Australian innings while intimidating fast bowler, Ray Lindwall brewed a storm that saw him scoring a sublime 77.
With a lead of 38 runs in the hut, England once again posted another luscious display of cricketing phenomenon as Leonard Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich, Denis Compton, and Godfrey Evans chimed in with their respective cameos. England piled up a total of 365 for the loss of 8 wickets, giving Australia 404 runs to chase.
Australia brought out their very best in the second innings as Arthur Morris and Sir Donald Bradman started taking out the English bowlers with extreme prejudice. Morris stitched a sedulous 182 while Bradman fired a brilliant 173 and stayed unbeaten till the end to see off Australia safely across the finishing line. It was Test cricket at its best.
India versus West Indies, Port of Spain, 1976 – 406/4
This Test match was remarkable for two reasons. One was India’s incredible chase in the fourth innings while the other was a compulsion for the Caribbean to change their team selection strategy that led to five Indian batters being marked absent-hurt from the next Test match.
West Indies managed to amass 359 in the first innings that were based on the back of Viv Richards’ brilliant 177 that was well consorted with 68 from Clive Lloyd and 47 from Bernard Julien. India came a cropper in their first innings as they were bundled out for a paltry 228 and Michael Holding led the carnage for the West Indians.
Alvin Kallicharan penned a blistering ton in the second innings that helped West Indies declare their innings for 271, leaving India with a monumental target of 406 runs. Sunil Gavaskar fired an excellent 102 which was excellently partnered by Mohinder Amarnath’s 85 and an unbeaten 112 from Gundappa Vishwanath. Brijesh Patel chimed in with a stellar 49 that helped India overcome the Caribbean conundrum.
South Africa versus Australia, Perth, 2008 – 414/4
The cricketing superhero, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers came to life in this very contest that left Australia empty-handed at Perth. Riding on knocks from Simon Katich, Michael Clarke, and Brad Haddin, Australia posted a fine 375 in the first innings.
Despite a fine start from Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, and ABD, South Africa shortly lost the plot of their track, and their attempt at salvaging the innings resulted in a fiasco. In response to Australia’s 375, the Rainbow Nation could only manage 281 runs.
Brad Haddin spearheaded the Australian charge and managed to garner 319 runs, leaving a target of 414 runs to be chased by the South Africans. Despite the early loss of Neil Mc Kenzie, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla pulled the strings of an overhaul in an exceptional manner. Jacques Kallis played a fine knock of 57. ABD and Jean-Paul Duminy destroyed the Australians with their 111 runs stand, pulling off grand larceny in Australia in broad daylights. It was Test cricket at its best.
West Indies versus Australia, St John’s, 2003 – 418/7
It was the Caribbeans who started the list while it will be the Caribbeans who will finish the list. In a thrilling bout of leather and the willow, the first innings between both the teams were a tie. Both the teams scored 240 runs.
In the second innings, however, Langer and hayed fired Australia to a blistering 417 that was well-supported by the skipper, Steve Waugh in the middle. West Indies was jolted to a rude awakening when they lost their top three within just 74 runs. The following knocks from Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and Ramnaresh Sarwan took West Indies to the gates of victory. The trio scored 60, 104, and 105 respectively.
It was a cute little partnership between Omari Banks and Vasbert Drakes that steered West Indies on the dicey shores of St John, scripting a remarkable victory in the process. It was Test cricket at its best.