It seems to be the age of epic run-chases in Test cricket.
Continuing a recent trend of successful fourth innings batting efforts, Pakistan put on a brilliant run-chase to defeat Sri Lanka by four wickets in the first Test at Galle on Wednesday riding on an unbeaten 160 by opener Abdullah Shafique.
Pakistan’s fine performance in the fourth innings of the match was in line with what we are seeing more and more in Test cricket over the past couple of years. Teams these days tend to remain unfazed in the face of stiff targets and go about the run-chase in an aggressive manner.
Starting from India’s famous series-clinching victory in Brisbane in January 2021, there have been 10 successful run-chases of 200-plus run targets in men’s Test cricket. England achieved four of those wins while Pakistan and South Africa feature in two of those matches.
Here’s a look at the successful run chases in men’s Tests with India’s win at the Gabba as a starting point:
200-plus run-chases since Jan '21 in men's Test
|India||328 runs||3 wickets||lost||Australia||Brisbane||15 Jan 2021|
|West Indies||395 runs||3 wickets||lost||Bangladesh||Chattogram||3 Feb 2021|
|Pakistan||202 runs||8 wickets||lost||Bangladesh||Chattogram||26 Nov 2021|
|South Africa||240 runs||7 wickets||lost||India||Johannesburg||3 Jan 2022|
|South Africa||212 runs||7 wickets||lost||India||Cape Town||11 Jan 2022|
|England||277 runs||5 wickets||lost||New Zealand||Lord's||2 June 2022|
|England||299 runs||5 wickets||won||New Zealand||Nottingham||10 June 2022|
|England||296 runs||7 wickets||lost||New Zealand||Leeds||23 June 2022|
|England||378 runs||7 wickets||won||India||Birmingham||1 July 2022|
|Pakistan||342 runs||4 wickets||lost||Sri Lanka||Galle||16 July 2022|
India’s win against Australia, Brisbane, Jan 2021:
One of India’s greatest Test victories saw Ajinkya Rahane and Co complete a second consecutive series win in Australia. With regular skipper Virat Kohli back in India after the first Test, the team relied on stellar performances from two of their young guns to script a memorable chase at the Gabba. Shubman Gill scored 91 runs at the top of the order before Rishabh Pant remained unbeaten on 89 to take the visitors over the line.
West Indies’ win against Bangladesh, Chattogram, Feb 2021:
Set a mammoth target after Bangladesh declared their second innings at 223/8, West Indies rode on a sensational, unbeaten 210 from debutant Kyle Mayers to claim victory. The left-hander, batting at No 5, stitched a crucial 216-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Nkrumah Bonner (86) to help the visitors complete an improbable chase.
West Indies’ win against Pakistan, Kingston, Aug 2021:
This is the only match on this list that didn’t see a 200-plus run-chase, but West Indies’ brilliant effort against Pakistan in Kingston deserves a mention. After doing well to bowl out the visitors for 203 in the second innings, West Indies completed the chase with just one wicket remaining at the end. Jermaine Blackwood scored a 55 in the middle order before pacer Kemar Roach became the hero with an unbeaten 30 at the end.
Pakistan’s win against Bangladesh, Chattogram, Nov 2021:
Pakistan conceded a 44-run first innings lead but fought back to bowl out the hosts for 157 in the second innings. From thereon, they dominated the match with a superb chase. Openers Abid Ali (91) and Abdullah Shafique (73) did the bulk of the scoring as Pakistan won by eight wickets.
South Africa’s win against India, Johannesburg, Jan 2022:
South Africa were under pressure as India had won the first Test of the three-match series, but the hosts levelled up with a commanding chase in the second Test. Skipper Dean Elgar scored an unbeaten 96 at the top of the order and got contributions from the other batters in the top five to complete a seven-wicket win.
South Africa’s win against India, Cape Town, Jan 2022:
After the victory in the second Test, South Africa went on to bag the series with another impressive chase in Cape Town. The hosts conceded a first innings lead but fought back with the ball to clean up India’s second innings for 198 runs. South Africa then completed another seven-wicket win as Keegan Petersen (82), Rassie van der Dussen (41*) and Temba Bavuma (32*) starred in the chase.
England’s win against New Zealand, Lord’s June 2022:
This match saw the beginning of the ‘Bazball’ era as Ben Stokes took over as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach. England adopted a more aggressive appoach with the bat and began a stunning run of chases. Set a stiff target in this match at Lord’s after both teams registered low scores in their first innings, England rode on an unbeaten 115 from Joe Root and a half-century from Stokes to get the win.
England’s win against New Zealand, Nottingham, June 2022:
Jonny Bairstow stole the limelight in the second Test as England chased down an even bigger target with a sensational performance on the last day. New Zealand scored 553 runs in the first innings of the match but that wasn’t enough as Bairstow (136 off 92) and Stokes (75* off 70) batted without any fear in the chase to bring up a memorable victory.
England’s win against New Zealand, Leeds, June 2022:
England completed a series sweep against New Zealand with a third successive run-chase of 250-plus runs. Once again, it was Root (86*) and Bairstow (71* off 44) who got the job done after Ollie Pope scored 82 runs batting at No 3. England scored 296 runs at a rate of 5.44 runs per over in the last innings of the match.
England’s win against India, Birmingham, July 2022:
After dominating New Zealand, England completed a fourth straight run-chase as they defeated India in style. India led 2-1 in 2021 but the fifth and final Test of the series was postponed by a year due to Covid-19. And the hosts rode on the momentum they had built to win in Birmingham and draw the series. Openers Alex Lees (56) and Zak Crawley (46) laid the strong platform before Root (142*) and Bairstow (114*) dominated the Indian bowling attack to make light work of what was expected to be a tough chase. This was England’s highest successful run-chase in Test cricket.
Pakistan’s win against Sri Lanka, Galle, July 2022
Set a mammoth target of 342 runs after Sri Lanka had taken a narrow first innings lead, the visitors showed their batting might as Shafique, skipper Babar Azam (55) – who scored 119 runs in the first innings – and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan (40) starred in the chase.