What unfolded at Headingley on a bright Sunday afternoon in August will definitely find its way to history books. This was the day when England’s World Cup hero, Ben Stokes defied all odds to bring the English back on level terms against Australia in the 2019 Ashes series. Stokes’ 135 not out was a testament to how extraordinary feats are pulled off in unthinkable scenarios.
Similarly, a few situations in the past have given us such memorable moments to savour in the longest format of the game. Here we bring you the top five 10th wicket partnerships that saved the day for their respective national teams.
KUSAL PERERA and VISHWA FERNANDO
Sri Lanka vs South Africa (2019)
Kusal Perera’s 153* was arguably one of the greatest fourth innings knocks of all time, that saw Sri Lanka through. Adapting a patient approach when batting with the tail-enders, Perera overcame a strong South African bowling line-up, while chasing 304.
The left-hander was left stranded when the scoreboard read 226/9 with only Vishwa Fernando to accompany him on his pursuit. Perera took charge, smashed a couple of boundaries off Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada while lauding the efforts of Fernando on the other end. The trick worked wonders as Sri Lanka registered a famous Test victory on South African soil courtesy of a 78-run partnership between the duo.
BEN STOKES and JACK LEACH
England vs Australia (2019)
An unlikely victory for England was only possible due to the stoic efforts of Stokes and the persistence of tail-ender, Jack Leach. Chasing 359 in the fourth innings after an embarrassing batting performance in the first, where they were bundled out for a mere 67, Stokes took complete charge to stomp over the Aussies at Headingley.
Leach scored just a sole run in a 76-run partnership, albeit a crucial one, with the entire onus lying completely on Stokes. Fighting the odds, Stokes showed no mercy against the Australians and propelled England towards one of their most iconic moments in recent history.
INZAMAM-UL-HAQ and MUSHTAQ AHMED
Pakistan vs Australia (1994)
Coming into bat at number eight, Inzamam-ul-Haq scripted Pakistan’s victory over a mighty Aussie side of the 90s. He was accompanied by Mushtaq Ahmed who came to bat at number 11. Putting on a 57-run stand for the final wicket on the final day, Inzamam and Ahmed became the pillars of Pakistan’s triumph over the Australians.
Their cumulative efforts paid off as Pakistan went on to win the three-match Test series 1-0 against the lads from Down Under.
DAVE NOURSE and PERCY SHERWLL
South Africa vs England (1906)
Turning our clocks back to almost 113 years when Test cricket was at a stage of infancy, South Africa’s Dave Nurse and Percy Sherwell sewed a 48-run partnership for the final wicket to hand England a beating at their own game in Johannesburg.
Batting at number eight, Nurse garnered a steady score of 93 while his partner remained unbeaten at 22.
SYDNEY BARNES and ARTHUR FIELDER
Australia vs England (1908)
Another thrilling Ashes encounter that spanned over the course of six days saw Sydney Barnes and Arthur Fielder racking up a steady 39-run partnership for the final wicket to give the Australians a hard-earned win.
This match played amidst the gruelling heat in Australia during the first week of January is now fondly remembered as the match that got away from the clutches of the English.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis