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England’s 84-year-old record still tops the list for biggest win in Test cricket by runs

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Back when England scored 903/7d against Australia in 1938, the match produced several key moments such as a certain Chuck Fleetwood-Smith conceding most runs in one Test innings to Leonard Hutton facing most balls faced in a single Test innings. However, nothing compares to England’s record victory by an innings and 579 runs, which remains the biggest win in Test cricket by runs.

Often termed as the Oval grind of 1938, the England team, led by Hutton, Maurice Leyland and Joe Hardstaff breached the 900-run mark; something that was never done in the history of the sport. 

In what is a testament to the record, it took almost 60 years for any team to break the record when Sri Lanka posted 952/6d against India in 1997.

Back when Test cricket used to be the only format, England captain Wally Hammond had won the toss and decided to bat. Australia made a good start, removing Bill Edrich for just 12 runs but what followed next was historic.

Hutton first combined with Leyland for a 382-run partnership followed by another 200-plus run stand with Hardstaff which led to England scoring the highest first innings team total in Test.

Australia’s reply began on a sour note as England made life difficult for the visitors. After being dismissed for 201, Australia were forced to follow-on. The Aussies though continued to succumb in the second innings as England eventually won the game by an innings and 579 runs.

From 1938 to date, no team has ever managed to win a Test match by an innings and 500-plus run margin. The closest anyone has ever come was Australia in a 2002 Test match against South Africa.

After the Aussies had declared at 652/7, the Proteas struggled to cope with growing pressure before succumbing to a defeat by an innings and 360 runs.

West Indies’ win by an innings and 336 runs against India in a 1958 Test comes third on the list followed by Australia’s triumph over England by an innings and 332 runs in 1946. Pakistan occupy the fifth spot in the list with their win by an innings and 324 runs against New Zealand in 2002.

Biggest win in Test cricket

Team Opposition Margin Year
England Australia Innings and 579 runs 1938
Australia South Africa Innings and 360 runs 2002
West Indies India Innings and 336 runs 1958
Australia England Innings and 332 runs 1946
Pakistan New Zealand Innings and 324 runs 2002

As far as the Indian cricket team is concerned, their biggest Test win dates back to October 2018 when they defeated a depleted West Indies team by an innings and 272 runs.

Earlier in the same year, the Indian team had gotten better of Afghanistan by an innings and 262 runs which - their second biggest win in Test cricket. Lastly, their recent success against Sri Lanka by an innings and 222 runs is their fifth-biggest victory in the longest format.

Biggest win in Test cricket for India

Team Opposition Margin Year
India West Indies Innings and 272 runs 2018
India Afghanistan Innings and 262 runs 2018
India Bangladesh Innings and 239 runs 2007
India Sri Lanka Innings and 239 runs 2017
India Sri Lanka Innings and 222 runs 2022

Featured photo: Unsplash / Mark Stuckey

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