Five successful run chases in Tests that shook the world
Run-chases in Test cricket not only provides a thrill for an ardent cricket fan, but it also gives us a sense of how teams can overcome their limits to register a landmark win.
While a depleted West Indies cricket team recorded the highest successful run chase in Asia as they chased down a target of 395 against Bangladesh, India seek to rewrite history as the hosts need to chase down a score of 420 runs to defeat England in Chennai.
Virat Kohli-led Team India had ended Day 4 of the ongoing first Test at 39/1 and they need 381 runs to defy the odds stacked against them and take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. Should they pull it off, the result will beat their all-time record of 406, which they chased down against West Indies in 1976.
Without further ado, let’s look back at the five memorable run-chases that shook the cricket world.
395-7: West Indies v Bangladesh, Chattogram in 2021
Amongst the notable mentions in this list, the recent successful run-chase by a depleted West Indies team is nothing less than a miracle.
The Calypso Kings ended day four at 59-3, and thus, the pressure fell upon debutants Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner who averaged below 28 in first-class cricket.
By stitching a record 216-run partnership for the fourth wicket, whilst facing the ominous threat of spinners Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam and Nayeem Hasan, Mayers and Bonner showcased maturity with the bat and ensured the visitors were on track to chase down their set target of 395.
Bonner's dismissal for 86 brought about a small room of chaos in the West Indies camp. In a race against time, Mayers rallied to score an unbeaten 210 and thus gave West Indies a historic Test victory that will be celebrated for years to come.
404-3: Australia v England, Leeds in 1948
The early years of Test cricket were blessed with talents such as Sir Don Bradman, and going by his standards as the original ‘Little Master,’ the Australian icon didn’t disappoint in the penultimate Test of his 20-year career.
It took as little as six hours for Australia to comfortably chase down the target of 404 at Headingley. One of the greatest Test openers for the Aussies, Arthur Morris, slammed a 291-ball 182 to capitalize on the early dismissal of Lindsay Hassett. Enter Bradman, and the pair stitched a match-defining partnership that took the visitors to 358/2.
After Morris was dismissed, Don Bradman continued his inning with a strike rate of 59.25 before leading Australia to a dominant seven-wicket win. He remained unbeaten on 173 which was his 29th 100-plus score in red-ball cricket.
406-4: India v West Indies, Trinidad in 1976
At a time when the golden generation of West Indies were reeling from their 1-5 series defeat to Australia, no one who followed the sport of cricket would have guessed that a rookie Indian team would chase down a target of 400-plus runs.
Sir Clive Lloyd’s Windies, who batted first in the fixture, gave the Indian cricket team a target of 406 to chase following Sir Vivian Richards’ 177 runs in the first innings and Alvin Kallicharran’s unbeaten 103 in the second innings.
After losing the wicket of Anshuman Gaekwad, Sunil Gavaskar’s emphatic 102 - which was laced with 13 boundaries - laid the platform for the likes of Mohinder Amarnath (85), Gundappa Viswanath (112) and British Patel (49*) to script a magnificent victory for Bishan Bedi’s men.
At that point of time, this result was the highest successful run chase and it stood for 27 years until South Africa broke it in 2008.
414-4: South Africa v Australia, Perth in 2008
South Africa are often dubbed as the ‘Unpredictables’ in cricket, but they are simply unbeatable on certain occasions. A prime example is the 2008 Test against Ricky Ponting’s Australia, where they broke their long jinx against the Aussies and put on a batting masterclass that isn’t seen in recent times.
Set a target of 414, the visitors were reduced to 19/1 in the 15th over. However, this didn’t lower their sheer determination to win as the trio of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, and Jacques Kallis registered 50-plus scores to take the Proteas to 303/4 in 85.3 overs.
What the Aussies didn’t see coming was a spirited century from AB de Villiers which enabled South Africa to break India’s 27-year-old record for the highest successful run-chase, and also one of their most fairytale wins down under.
418-7: West Indies v Australia, Antigua in 2003
In an era where Steve Waugh’s Australia were the most dominant side in the sport, West Indies silenced the world by recording Test cricket’s highest-ever successful run chase in Antigua.
The odds of victory were clearly against the Calypso Kings, and given the fact they were 0-3 down in the four-Test series, the outcome of the final Test wouldn’t affect the series outcome.
Nonetheless, then-captain Brian Lara (60 runs) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (105) rescued the Windies from 74/3 to 288/5. Withstanding Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee’s ferocious bowling, Shivnarine Chanderpaul played a strong cameo of 104 runs to set the required rate of 38 runs with three wickets remaining.
The tailenders, Omari Banks (47*) and Vasbert Drakes (27*), continued the spirited charge of West Indies and thus secured what is the biggest and most successful run-chase of all time.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / windiescricket