Five of the best matches in this World Test Championship period

Five of the best matches in this World Test Championship period

There have been plenty of highlights during this World Test Championship period and we take a look at five of the most memorable matches.

The stakes were high with Sri Lanka still chasing a berth in the World Test Championship final, while pacesetters Australia and India watched on in interest from a continent away to see if the equation at the top of the standings changed.

Not much separated the two evenly match sides over the first four days and all results were still possible heading into the final day as clouds gathered over Hagley Oval.

Rain washed out the entire first session and the draw looked the most likely result when drizzle continued to fall well into the second session.

But the rain cleared as New Zealand began swiftly in their pursuit of 257 runs from 52 overs and Sri Lanka chased the nine wickets required to keep their World Test Championship final dreams alive.

It all came down to the final over of the day with the floodlights on in deteriorating light, with New Zealand requiring eight runs to win and Sri Lanka still needing three wickets.

Matt Henry was run out from the third ball of the over to give the visitors hope, but New Zealand scrambled a bye from the final delivery – and match hero Kane Williamson barely made his ground – to help the hosts snatch victory by the barest of margins.

A desperate Kane Williamson just manages to make his ground off the final ball of the match

The first four days of this historic match produced a truckload of runs – it was the third highest scoring Test match ever – but the final day drama ensured this contest will be remembered for many years to come.

It was England’s first Test match back in Pakistan for 17 years and the match appeared to be headed towards a draw until a bold declaration by visiting captain Ben Stokes late on the fourth day.

It left Pakistan with four sessions to chase down 343 on what appeared to still be a good batting wicket, but England had other ideas as evergreen veteran James Anderson and tireless quick Ollie Robinson orchestrated a famous victory.

The pair took four wickets each in Pakistan’s second innings, but it was left to spinner Jack Leach to claim the final scalp as the hosts were dismissed for 268 in fading light with just minutes remaining.

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum embrace after the win

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum embrace after the win

Chasing anything greater than 100 on a deteriorating pitch in Galle is quite the task and especially when the hosts have as many as four capable spinners in their starting XI. 

Pakistan were up against it in the first Test in Galle when they were set a mammoth target of 344 after fine knocks from Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal for the hosts.

By stumps on day four, though, a century from Abdullah Shafique had taken Pakistan to 222/3, a dominant position from where they could dictate terms. 

A rain break with Pakistan still 11 runs away from the target added to the drama, but they returned to knock off the runs easily and notch up a memorable win.

Abdullah Shafique celebrates the victory for Pakistan

Abdullah Shafique celebrates the victory for Pakistan

The Bazball phenomenon had cruised to a series sweep over New Zealand at home, but there were still some non-believers when India visited England to complete their postponed fifth and final Test of their series from 2021.

It didn’t look good for the hosts when they conceded a 132-run lead in the first innings courtesy of centuries to Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja, but superb bowling from Ben Stokes and inexperienced pacer Matthew Potts saw India collapse late in their second innings to leave the home side with a target of 378.

Under normal circumstances that target would seemingly be out of reach, but this brash new England side had few problems in knocking off the runs for the loss of just three wickets.

A century opening stand kick-started England’s chase, but they lost three wickets in the space of two runs to concede the early advantage. 

From there, though, England were on top of their game as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow compiled hundreds and took England past the target with an unbeaten stand.

21 Jul 22

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This was the first meeting between the finalists of the first World Test Championship cycle after the Lord’s finale earlier in the year, and it proved to be a cliff-hanger as both sides pushed for an advantage in the new WTC period.
Honours were almost even after the first innings with Shreyas Iyer’s hundred was countered by a strong 151-run opening stand from Will Young and Tom Latham.

But a bold declaration from India captain Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings set New Zealand a gettable target of 284 to win in just over one day.

It didn’t start well for the visitors when Ravichandran Ashwin trapped Young LBW late on the fourth day and the India spinners were out for more on the final day as the pitch continued to play some tricks.

But New Zealand showed their typical grit and determination on a gripping final session on day five as Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel held on for a draw to leave the hosts frustrated.


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