Test cricket is the longest and arguably the most testing format of the gentlemen’s game. There are currently 12 countries that play Test cricket. It is called ‘Test’ cricket for the right reason. It is the best way to test the skill set and basics of a player.
It also tests the mental strength, character, and endurance of a player over the course of five days. Though Test cricket might not be as thrilling as One Day Internationals and Twenty20, it offers an elite brand of cricket.
In 2009, West Indies and England contest the shortest ever Test match, which lasted just 10 balls. There were a couple of more occasions where a Test match lasted less than 100 deliveries and one of them involved Team India (vs Sri Lanka, 1993).
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 shortest completed matches in Test cricket history (in terms of the number of balls):
5. South Africa vs Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth 2017 (907 balls)
Proteas hammered fellow-Africans Zimbabwe by an innings and 120 runs in the Port Elizabeth Test in 2017. After winning the toss, South Africa posted a total of 309/9d (78.3 ov) on the back of Aiden Markram’s 125.
In reply, Zimbabwe were bundled out for 68 (30.1 ov) and 121 (42.3 ov) in their first and second innings respectively. While Morne Morkel bagged a fifer in the first innings, Keshav Maharaj did the same in the second innings.
4. Australia vs Pakistan, Sharjah 2002 (893 balls)
Australia thrashed Pakistan by an innings and 198 runs in the Sharjah Test in 2002. After skittling out Pakistan for 59 (31.5 ov) in the first innings, the ‘Baggy Greens’ scored 310 runs (92.1 ov) on the back of Matthew Hayden’s knock of 119.
Having already bagged a four-for in the first innings, Shane Warne repeated his heroics in the second innings as Pakistan, once again, were cheaply folded for 53 (24.5 ov).
3. England vs South Africa, Centurion 1999 (883 balls)
In a surprising turn of events, then England skipper Nasser Hussein and former South Africa skipper, late Hansie Cronje agreed to forfeit an innings each in the Centurion Test to produce a result in the remaining time after rain had marred the proceedings.
Chasing a total of 249 runs, England won the game by 2 wickets. However, it was later revealed that Hansie Cronje had accepted a bribe of 50,000 rands to ensure a result in the match.
2. Australia vs New Zealand, Wellington 1946 (872 balls)
The one-off Test between Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand finished within a blink of an eye. New Zealand’s decision to bat first certainly didn’t pay off as they were bowled out for a paltry 42 (39 ov) in the first innings.
In reply, Australia managed to stitch a total of 199/8d thanks to half-centuries from skipper Bill Brown and Sid Barnes. The Blackcaps could only manage 54 in their second innings and lost the game by an innings and 103 runs.
1. India vs England, Ahmedabad 2021 (842 balls)
This is the shortest completed Test match post World War II. With the four-match series tied 1-1, both India and England needed a win in the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad to remain in contention for a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final.
Indian spinners Axar Patel (11 wickets) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 wickets) wreaked havoc as England were bowled out for 112 and 81 in the first and second innings, respectively. India won the game by 10 wickets and took a 2-1 lead in the series.