Test cricket is one format which needs a lot of grit resilience and patience. There are four results possible on this format, namely win, draw and there are a lot of times where every result may be possible until the last ball. In this article lets discuss five such instances when we were fortunate enough to witness a last ball thriller in test cricket over the past twenty years.
The first match in the list is between Sri Lanka and South Africa in 2018-2019. Rank outsiders Sri Lanka went on to score 304 for 9 in the last innings owing to a partnership of 78 between Perera and Fernando. It was no wonder that Perera’s 153 not out was determined to be the best ever Test innings in my list of top batting performances of all time. Perera’s winning shot was a four and he gave a positive outcome to one of the biggest test matches of the decade.
The second match in the list is between England and Australia in Headingley 2019. Before the last ball was bowled, any result was possible and maybe a tie would have been a truly deserving result. After dismissing Australia for 179 and conceding a first-innings lead of 112, England needed 362 to win. However, the all-important last-wicket partnership added 76, out of which Leach’s contribution was 1 in 17 balls. Stokes made 135 not out in 219 balls and took England home with a four
The third match in the list is between England and Sri Lanka at Lords in 2014. England set Sri Lanka the task of scoring 390 to win or lasting 90 overs to save the Test. Sri Lanka were comfortably placed at 123 for 1 and then at 194 for 5 with only 12 overs to go. Then they lost four wickets for seven runs and needed No. 11 Pradeep to last five Stuart Broad deliveries to save the Test. He did that after surviving an lbw appeal, overturned a review, off his penultimate ball and made sure they match ended in a dramatic draw.
The fourth match in the list is between New Zealand and Pakistan in 2018-19. This was a low-scoring test that ended in a close win for the defending side. New Zealand’s way-below-par score of 153 enabled Pakistan to get a useful lead of 74 and eventually they had only 176 to chase in the second innings. At 130 for 3, the win seemed to be a formality, but then they lost their last seven wickets for 41 runs. Debutant left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel was the unlikely bowling hero with five wickets, including the final one of batting mainstay Azhar Ali.
The fifth match in the list is between New Zealand and England in Auckland. It may seem that the Kiwis declared too late as they ended a wicket short of victory. However, they gave themselves more than 140 overs to bowl out England, who, at the end of day four, were tottering at 90 for 4. When Prior walked in, England were 159 for 6 who then scored an unbeaten 110 and steered them to safety, receiving good support from Broad while James Anderson and Panesar just about hung by a thread on the other end.