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Unwanted totals: The lowest scores in Test cricket

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The New Zealand cricket team holds the unwanted record for the lowest score in Test cricket. The Kiwis, playing against England during the second Test of England tour of New Zealand in 1955, were bundled out for just 26 runs inside 27 overs.

Led by their maverick captain Leonard Hutton, who has faced most balls in a Test innings, England arrived in New Zealand as outright favourites, having defeated Australia 3-1 in the 1954-55 Ashes. 

New Zealand, meanwhile, were besotted with woes. Prior to the England series, they were thumped 4-0 in South Africa and only a miracle could have salvaged a win against the mighty England team.

That, however, wasn’t to be. They lost the first Test by eight wickets despite losing two days due to rain. Heading into the second Test, optimism was visibly lacking, but they did manage to post 200 runs in the first innings.

England matched the total by scoring 246 before delivering arguably the best bowling performance in the history of the game. 

Hutton’s men dismissed as many as five Kiwi players on duck and the fact that Bert Sutcliffe was New Zealand’s highest run-scorer with 11 runs showcased how brilliant England were on Day 3.

None of the England bowlers conceded more than 10 runs, with a certain Bob Appleyard finishing with four wickets for seven runs in six overs.

Before New Zealand, South Africa held the record for the lowest score in Test cricket. It was during the 1896 Test against England that the team was bowled out for 30 runs. Three years later, against the same opponent, they were dismissed for 35 runs which is now the four lowest score in the longest format.

South Africa’s record against England during the late 1890s and early 19th century was so poor that the team was dismissed below the 40-run mark on three occasions.

Lowest score in Test cricket

Team Opponent Score Year
New Zealand England 26 1955
South Africa England 30 1896
South Africa England 30 1924
South Africa England 35 1899
South Africa Australia 36 1932

 

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