India vs Australia: Tests and the thrills of a stalemate

by 24USATVJan. 11, 2021, 9:01 p.m. 22
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A brief look at some fascinating draws from Test history when players defied pain and teams came within one wicket or one shot of winning.

Same score, no tie: The first time this happened, in 1996, was also the first time England and Zimbabwe played. Man-of-the-Match Nick Knight, now commentating on the Australia-India series from Mumbai, made 96 and was run out off the final ball and England fell one short off the target of 205. The next time a Test finished with teams on identical score, Ravichandran Ashwin was Man of the Match for scoring a century and bagging nine wickets in the match. Like Knight, Ashwin (14) needed three off the final ball and was run out going for the third. Like in the Mumbai Test against West Indies in 1949 when India fell five runs or one shot short of victory, all three results were possible when Fidel Edwards started the last over at Wankhede stadium on November 26, 2011.

Brief scores: Zimbabwe 376 (Andy Flower 112, Alistair Campbell 84; Chris Silverwood 3/63, Robert Croft 3/77) and 234 (Andy Waller 50; Guy Whittall 56; Tufnell 4/61). England 406 (Nasser Hussain 113; John Crawley 112; Paul Strang 5/123) and 204/6 (Nick Knight 96, Alec Stewart 73).

Monty can stall: This Ashes Test in Cardiff 2009 will be remembered for the batting, rather stalling, skills of Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson. Australia had 11.3 overs to get one more wicket when Paul Collingwood’s resistance ended on a 74 that had consumed 245 deliveries. But England’s last pair denied and defied a bowling attack that had Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Hauritz and Ben Hilfenhaus. Man of the Match Ricky Ponting said he would trade the award for another wicket. In 2013, Panesar staved off Trent Boult in the Auckland Test before Matt Prior steered England to a draw. The last-wicket pair of Graeme Swann and Graham Onions also helped England escape to a draw against South Africa in Cape Town in 2010.

India’s last men standing: With an atypical, unbeaten 76 off 159 balls that had many unorthodox forward defensive shots, MS Dhoni played with tailenders to deny England a win in Lord’s before rain and bad light. Dhoni played with Sreesanth for the last five overs in which the latter faced seven deliveries. Between themselves, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and Sreesanth consumed 49 deliveries.

Brief scores: England 298 (Andrew Strauss 96, Michael Vaughan 79; Sreesanth 3/67) and 282 (Kevin Pietersen 134; Zaheer Khan 4/79, RP Singh 5/59). India 201 (Wasim Jaffer 58; Ryan Sidebottom 4/65, James Anderson 5/42) and 282/9 (Dinesh Karthik 60, MS Dhoni 76 not out; Chris Tremlett 3/52)

Ambidextrous Colin Cowdrey: June 25, 1983 is a Red Letter Day in Indian cricket because Kapil Dev’s team lorded it over the mighty West Indies at Lord’s. June 25, 1963, saw a rain-marred but rivetting final day at Lord’s when the England-West Indies Test could have been won by both teams going into the last ball bowled by Wes Hall. With England running out of batters, Colin Cowdrey walked out aiming to bat one-handed or left-handed because the left hand was broken above the wrist forcing him to retire on 19. He didn’t need to because David Allen played out the last two deliveries.

Brief scores: West Indies 301 (Rohan Kanhai 73, Joe Solomon 56; Fred Truman 6/100, Derek Shackleton 3/93) and 229 (Basil Butcher 133; Truman 5/52, Shackleton 4/72). England 297 (Ted Dexter 70, Ken Barrington 80, Fred Titmus 52; Charlie Griffith 5/91) and 228/9 (Barrington 60, Brian Close 70; Hall 4/93, Griffith 3/59).

Defiance of Du Plessis and De Villers: They had done in once in Adelaide in 2012 in Faf Du Plessis’ first Test. And they did it again in 2013. India were bossing this Test in Johannesburg and riding on Cheteshwar Pujara’s 153 and Virat Kohli’s 96 had set South Africa a target of 458. When Jacques Kallis fell and South Africa were 197/5, there was only one team that looked like winning. Then AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis put on 205 runs for the fifth wicket, both notching up centuries to set South Africa on course for victory. But De Villiers and JP Duminy fell in close succession and again India sniffed a chance. When Du Plessis fell with South Africa on 442, the hosts decided to bat out for a draw.

Brief scores: India 280 (Virat Kohli 119; Vernon Philander 4/61, Morne Morkel 3/34) and 421 (Cheteshwar Pujara 153, Kohli 96; Philander 3/68, Jacques Kallis 3/68). South Africa 244 (Graeme Smith 68, Vernon Philander 59; Zaheer Khan 4/88, Ishant Sharma 4/79) and 450/7 (Faf du Plessis 134, AB de Villiers 103; Mohammed Shami 3/107).

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