Top 5 best run chases in Test Match cricket

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Ben Stokes 135* at Headingley in 2019 helped England achieve one of the best run chases in test match cricket against Australia.
LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Ben Stokes of England celebrates with Jack Leach after hitting the winning runs to win the 3rd Specsavers Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Headingley on August 25, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Greatest run chases in Test history

Test Match cricket is a fickle game. When portrayed in its easiest form, it sounds easy. Taking 20 wickets to win the game is all a team needs to do. But, this has often proved harder in practice than on paper. In the modern era of test cricket, the lower order being able to bat well has made for some the best run chases ever seen.

In this article, we will narrow the time period down and look at 5 classic run chases post 2000. The quality of the opposition bowling attack, the match situation and the prize at stake have all been involved when selecting these victories and ranking them from 5-1.

So, what are the top 5 best run chases in test match history, post 2000?

5. England vs Australia Headingley 2019

Number five on this list is the innings that saved England’s Ashes woes in 2019. As it worked out, Australia still drew the series but it took them one more test to win at Old Trafford to do so. And we got a thriller.

England were bowled out for just 67 in their first innings. They probably didn’t deserve to win but Ben Stokes defies logic at times. Chasing over 350 in their fourth innings, against a fierce Australian bowling attack, England made a poor start. But, Root and Denly added 126 for the third wicket to give renewed hope.

And then it was the Ben Stokes show. Jack Leach scored a historical single and watched his partner crash the ball all over the place. A switch-hit off Nathan Lyon, multiple slog-sweeps off all the bowlers and a drive which sealed the game off Pat Cummins were amongst the best shots.

4. Sri Lanka vs South Africa Durban 2019

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – 16 February 2019: Kusal Perera of Sri Lanka raises his bat in celebration after scoring a century during day 4 of the 1st Castle Lager Test Match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Kingsmead Cricket Ground on February 16, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images)

The Kingsmead Classic is number four on this list of top 5 best run chases in test cricket. It should perhaps have been higher, due to the fact that he was facing the best bowling attack in the world.

South Africa fielded an attack of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj and Duanne Olivier. Yes, Philander ventured off injured and South Africa would probably have won the game, had he been available. But, the other four bowlers were still world class.

On a pitch so alien to foreign batsmen, it was perhaps inconceivable that such a task could be achieved. Even more so that Perera would chase it down at a strike rate of 76.50. He drove, cut and pulled with superb authority and led Sri Lanka to a historic test match win in South Africa.

 

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3. Pakistan v Sri Lanka Kandy 2015

The only run chase on this list to have taken place in the subcontinent is third on our list. Pakistan stunned Sri Lanka when they chased down 382 in 2015, for the loss of just three wickets.

377 to win was a very tough target and at 13-2, Pakistan were in huge trouble. But, a double-century stand by Shan Masood and Younis Khan turned the game around and put the visitors in a commanding position. Both played at a good tempo – striking at 54 and 63 on a last day pitch.

Misbah-ul-Haq’s quickfire 59 then helped Pakistan to victory.

2. India vs Australia Gabba 2021

The best chase in recent memory features at number 2. India had so many injuries in the series Down Under, that they virtually fielded their second string team for this game. Kohli, Ishant, Bumrah, Shami, Ashwin and Jadeja.

Fortress Gabba had not been breached since 1988, when the great West Indies team won at the venue. But, a century stand in the first innings by two novices – Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar and a blistering pair of knocks by Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill made the impossible seem possible.

India defeated Australia in great style, to win both the match and the series.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 19: Rishabh Pant of India celebrates in front of Josh Hazlewood of Australia after his team’s victory during day five of the 4th Test Match in the series between Australia and India at The Gabba on January 19, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

 

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1. South Africa vs Australia Perth 2008

The game which helped pave a second historic test series win for South Africa in 2008 is in first place. Having already won in England in 2008, the Proteas arrived Down Under looking to register their first test series win since readmission.

Two classic test matches were won and the first was in Perth. South Africa looked down and out after needing to chase a mammoth 414 to win the test. Neil McKenzie fell early but the rest of the batting line-up offered superb resistance.

Amla, Kallis and Duminy all made half-centuries. Graeme Smith and AB De Villiers smashed tons to take the Proteas to victory by six wickets in Perth.

We hope you enjoyed our article on the top 5 best run chases in test cricket post 2000.

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