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India, South Africa Play Shortest-Ever Test in 147-Year History

A record-breaking Test match finished with what is likely one of the largest records of all time. The second Test match between India and South Africa in Cape Town was the shortest in history, lasting only 107 overs (642 balls).

India won the Newlands Test by seven wickets to tie the series 1-1, but they also broke their own record of 842 balls against England in 2021. South Africa batted twice on the same day, taking a whopping 23 wickets.

On Day 2, another ten died before India chased down 79 to win their maiden Test at the site on their ninth trip of South Africa.

On that point, these are the five shortest Test matches in history:

1st match, India vs South Africa, 2023: 107 overs

India pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah produced remarkable periods of bowling inside two days, with both pacers picking up six-wicket hauls, as India hoped to draw just their second-ever Test series in South Africa. 23 wickets fell on the first day, and another 10 on the second, as India cruised to a 7-wicket victory in Newlands, Cape Town, to kick off the new year 2024 on a strong note. Aiden Markram hit a stunning century, but it was in vain as India recovered from a catastrophic 0/6 in the first innings.

2 Australia vs South Africa, 1935: 109.2 overs

The second-shortest Test match occurred between Australia and South Africa at the MCG, which lasted 656 balls. South Africa also had their lowest ever Test total of 36 all out in 23.2 overs. South Africa batted first, but Bert Ironmonger grabbed incredible 5/6 figures. Australia responded with 153 in 54.3 overs before South Africa was bowled out for 45 in 31.3 overs, reducing their shaky batting to a total of 81 throughout both innings. Australia won by an innings and 72 runs because to their strong performance.

3 West Indies vs England, 1935: 112 overs

Bridgetown witnessed one of the oddest and shortest Test matches ever played in January 1935. The game was shortened to 112 overs (672 balls) due to persistent rain. West Indies were bowled out for 102 in 47 overs, with Ken Farms taking 4/40. England responded by declaring unexpectedly at 81/7 owing to a rapidly deteriorating pitch. The Windies fared little better in their second innings, declaring at 51/6 in 19 overs, setting England a small mark. In the fourth innings, England reached their goal of 75 for the loss of six wickets, sealing an unusual victory in a match severely influenced by the weather.

4 England vs Australia, 1888: 196 overs

Another brief confrontation occurred at Old Trafford during the 1888 Ashes series. The match lasted only 196 overs (1176 balls) and was played under the peculiar regulation of 4 balls per over in England Tests at the time. England scored 172, with Charlie Turner taking 5/86, while Australia could only produce 151 in two innings (81 and 70). Bobby Peel took 7/31 in the first and 4/37 in the second innings to give England complete control. This lopsided effort gave them a decisive innings and 21-run victory.

5 England vs. Australia: 197 overs, 1888

During the same series, Lord’s hosted the shortest Test ever played on its hallowed soil, lasting only 197 overs. (1182 balls). Australia batted first and scored 116 (71.2 overs) as Peel and Johnny Briggs dealt much more damage, while England could only muster 53 in 50 overs. Turner took 5/27 once again for Australia, but their hitters stumbled once more in the second innings, as they were skittled for 60 in 29.2 overs. A 122-run total appeared feasible, but England were bowled out for 62 in 47 overs, with Turner and JJ Ferris each taking five wickets.

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Source: HT

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