Statistics May 4, 2013

The tightest draws in Test cricket

A comprehensive analysis of all tied Tests and drawn Tests across the eras, and a list of the most fascinating contests that were tied or drawn
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The first ever tied Test played between Australia and West Indies was a "perfect tie"; both teams lost 20 wickets and it ended with just one ball remaining in the match © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

This is the follow-up to the article on Test results. The initial article covered results and this one will cover the fascinating area of ties and draws. It is my personal opinion that there is as much excitement in saving a tough match as there is in winning a close match. The techniques required are different yet comparable. If you ask a captain which is tougher: scoring 150 in 40 overs to win a Test or survive the final day to draw the Test? Many captains would vote for the later task.

Unfortunately, the obsession with winning, the American dicta that there has to be a winner and winning is everything, and similar attitudes have made the cricket followers look down on Test cricket. Someone asked me "How can any one play for five days and not have a result?", I would ask him "You are ready to spend two hours watching a football match and eulogize a 3-3 result, why not this?". Availability of time is relative. Five days might be too long for some people, two hours too long for some others, 30 minutes too long for someone else. One should not put down tradition just because one does not have time to appreciate it. Or because one does not have the patience. Or because there is a crowd of 5,000 in a Test match and 50,000 in an IPL match. Or because there has to be a winner in every contest. And so on.

It is necessary to respect tradition while paving the way for the new elements. If we do not respect tradition and the old school, and allow the new to completely bull-doze the old, we will be left with high-budget, colourful, glitzy and vacuous shows. As someone succinctly put it, these are "time-pass" matches, to be put on par with the three-hour action thriller films which come out, three a week. If we allow Test cricket to fade away, the result would be similar to the disappearance of classic films like "Citizen Kane", "Casablanca", "Rashomon", "Seven Samurai", "Bicycle Thief", "Do Bigha Zamin", "Mother India", "Do Aankhen Barah Haath", "Nirmalyam", "Desadanam", "Pava Mannippu", "Punnagai", "Kappalottiya Thamizhan", "Thanneer Thanneer!", "Sagara Sangamam", "Tabarana Kathe", "Shyamchi Aai", "Nagara Haavu", "Sudi Guntalu", "Apur Sansar", "Charulata", "Aparajito" et al. We will be left with three-hour extravaganzas, mind-numbing, watch-and-forget, form-over-content types, both on field and on screen, with an unseemly alliance between both.

Has Tennis gone the cricket way? No. They have not replaced the five-set matches with single-set winner-takes-all contests, as dictated by the Television demands; or introduced 31-point tie-breaker sets so that the match could finish in 60 minutes. They are ready to have matches going 5-6 hours and beyond. And these are watched by 15,000 in the stadia and billions around the world. They might have changed the racket material and got in tie-breakers, but have remained true to the basic game. Let me also state that there are five-set classics such as Nadal-Federer, Borg-McEnroe, Graf-Sanchez and Federer-Roddick at Wimbledon, Djokovic-Murray, Djokovic-Nadal and Djokovic-Wawrinka at Melbourne, Santoro-Clament at Paris did not warrant a loser. A draw would have been an appropriate result. For that matter let us not forget Isner-Mahut at Wimbledon.

Draws are part of the Test match scenario. Of course, quite a few of the draws are dull and dreary, as can be seen in later classifications. But there are many draws which are hard-fought and no quarter given either way. I would any day view a gripping draw which finished in the last over than a 3-day drubbing of a hapless team by a strong one.

The comments for Part-1 were very revealing. Most readers only saw the anecdotal part of the article, pushing in their own memories, but almost no one commented on the analytical aspects of the article. My suggestion is "do both". Otherwise, these articles lose their value. Is it because of the new restrictions imposed that many readers have stopped sending in their comments? Anyhow, because of the lack of response to the tables and new ideas, I will present these with minimal comments. You readers have made this small corner of Cricinfo wonderful and you have to continue to do so, irrespective of the fact that I have had to move house, so to speak.

First, let me talk about the ties. It is a totally fascinating facet of the game. I love the way Milind has coined the phrases "perfect" and "imperfect" ties. Once we understand the terms, we wonder why we did not think of it. This interpretation was also needed by us for our contribution project.

Let us define these words. A perfect tie is one in which all available resources have been exhausted during the match, not just the last innings. In other words, all 40 wickets have been captured. The overs resource does not matter since the match ends when the last wicket is captured. No more deliveries can be bowled. The Brisbane tie during the 1960/61 season is an example of a perfect tie. More on this match in the later anecdotal section. Okay, the "ultra-perfect" tie, coined by me during the past minute, is one which finishes off the last available ball.

Now any reader can figure the other one by himself. The imperfect tie is one in which fewer than 40 wickets have been captured. The second tie, the Chennai match played during 1986, was an imperfect one. Australia lost only 12 wickets because they declared in both their innings. Some resources have not been used. Now, where it matters is in the team and batting/bowling allocations. For the Brisbane tie, both teams would get equal points and the batsmen and bowlers of both teams would get equal points. For the Chennai match, the Indian bowlers would get fewer points than the Indian batsmen. This match is also covered later.

There were a few matches which came close to another tie. The Mumbai Test between India and West Indies, a couple of years back, was the closest. If Ashwin had gone for a single off the penultimate ball and got out and the last ball result was repeated, it would have been the "ultra-perfect tie". The Adelaide Test between Australia and West Indies, which finished as a one-run win for West Indies, was equally close. Many of the one-wicket wins could have finished as ties.

This article is as much form as content. This is not the usual table-centric article. I have to present the analysis-data in different forms. As I normally do, let me say that most of the data presented here will be available through Cricinfo's stats and some further work. Only thing is you might need quite a few queries and results will not be available in this clear, concise format.

How does one analyse drawn matches. I have tried to separate the draws into the following five categories.

1. Could have ended in a result with one more ball.
2. Very close matches. Could have gone either way and/or great saves.
3. Close matches. Some slack in the matches.
4. Fair draws with some level of competition.
         (You would have to let the spectators in free)
5. Dull-dreary-dead drawn matches (DDD). 7/8 days to produce results.
         (Spectators would have to be paid to come in)

The description of these classifications is self-explanatory. The first group of draws occurs when a team has lost nine wickets in the fourth innings, the fourth innings target is six (or fewer) runs away or the team has lost nine wickets in the third innings and is still in arrears. Twenty six draws fall into this group. The second classification is a combination of miscellaneous factors: wickets, leads, RpW/BpW, resources available, et al. Too detailed to describe here. 80 Tests in this category. The third classification occurs when lot more resources are available and it is difficult to predict anything. The BpW/RpW combination also plays a part.

The fourth is the most populated one. All single-innings matches, most two-innings matches and a few three-innings matches fall under this umbrella. The last is the classification any cricket follower dreads. An example. India: 537/8. Sri Lanka: 952/7. India declared because this was a 5-day Test. Else they could have gone on. Sri Lanka could have gone past the 1000-run mark. Finally, how was the pitch? India was quite capable of scoring 500 more in the second innings. This is the perfect example of a level 5 draw. Another example: Aus-656/8. Eng-611ao. Aus-4/0. 59 Tests are in this classification. For obvious reasons, no four-innings matches will feature in this classification. We can't call a match dull and dreary if the fourth innings is in progress.

Easier said than done. How do I handle this split? It cannot be through inspection. By now I would have had to visit an asylum. So I used a judicious combination of the following five factors to separate the drawn matches. I cannot explain everything. Suffice to say that I used these factors to identify low-scoring vs high-scoring matches, dead vs live matches, unlikely wins vs probable wins et al. The key is to remember that all high scoring matches are not dull matches. I had to distinguish among a 500-500-200-190/8 match, a 500-500-300-90/1, a 500-500-200/1-150/1 match, and a 500-500-390 match.

Let me also say this. I have used a combination of the five measures, listed below, to do this classification. There is no guarantee that everything would be fine. A match or two may be out of place. For that matter what is a DDD draw might be a wonderful match for someone else because a world record was broken/attempted etc. So take these classifications with a pinch of salt. A list of all 720 drawn matches, with the classifications, can be downloaded using the link provided later in the article. I would advise readers not to split hair to the nth degree, but to examine and wonder at the wonderful world of Test draws.

- Match RpW.
- Match BpW.
- Batting resources still available, at close of play.
- How far ahead or behind the third batting team is, at close of play.
- How far away is the winning target for the fourth batting team, at close of play.

1. Overall summary of results - by Period
PeriodTestsDraws% Draws1-ball away%Very Close%Competitive%Fair Draws%Dull-Dreary-Dead%
All Tests 208572034.5% 26 3.6% 8011.1%27137.6%284 39.4% 59 8.2%
2000-2013 60515125.0% 10 6.6% 13 8.6% 5435.8% 61 40.4% 13 8.6%
1980-1999 61324740.3% 6 2.4% 2510.1% 7530.4%112 45.3% 2911.7%
1949-1979 56023241.4% 9 3.9% 3314.2%10344.4% 76 32.8% 11 4.7%
1877-1948 307 9029.3% 1 1.1% 910.0% 3943.3% 35 38.9% 6 6.7%

We have already seen in Part-1 that the 1949-79 period had the highest percentage of drawn matches, closely followed by the 1980-1999 period. In these tables I have looked at the five classifications of draws within these four periods. We get a lot of additional insights. The current period has had the maximum percentage of the first and most exciting of draws. 10 draws during the identified period would mean one every year. If we take the first two classifications together, surprisingly, it is the 1949-79 period which stands out, with 18.1%, followed by the current period, with 15.2%. It seems to be a wronged period. This is further confirmed by the low % values for 1949-79 period of the fifth classification. When we look at the numbers it is clear that the 1980-99 period is the one with fewer exciting draws and more dull draws. Maybe because there was one stand-out team and other lower level teams.

Overall summary of draws - by Team
LocationTestsDraws% Draws1-ball away%Very Close%Competitive%Fair Draws%Dull-Dreary-Dead%
Australia 75420226.8% 8 4.0% 2713.4% 7939.1% 77 38.1% 11 5.4%
Bangladesh 77 810.4% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 562.5% 2 25.0% 112.5%
England 93333435.8% 12 3.6% 3410.2%13038.9%133 39.8% 25 7.5%
India 47220443.2% 7 3.4% 20 9.8% 7335.8% 78 38.2% 2612.7%
New Zealand 38215440.3% 3 1.9% 2314.9% 4730.5% 70 45.5% 11 7.1%
Pakistan 37315441.3% 2 1.3% 13 8.4% 6240.3% 58 37.7% 1912.3%
South Africa 37711430.2% 3 2.6% 1614.0% 4943.0% 40 35.1% 6 5.3%
Sri Lanka 222 7634.2% 1 1.3% 810.5% 2634.2% 32 42.1% 911.8%
West Indies 49016834.3% 14 8.3% 16 9.5% 6438.1% 65 38.7% 9 5.4%
Zimbabwe 89 2629.2% 2 7.7% 311.5% 726.9% 13 50.0% 1 3.8%
ICC World XI 1 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

This is as expected. West Indies, England and Australia have played the most exciting draws. They are followed by South Africa and New Zealand. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had the most dull and dreary draws. That is expected. The 1950s and 60s in the sub-continent was a nightmare.

Overall summary of draws - by Location
TeamTestsDraws% Draws1-ball away%Very Close%Competitive%Fair Draws%Dull-Dreary-Dead%
Australia 389 7519.3% 5 6.7% 1418.7% 3445.3% 19 25.3% 3 4.0%
Bangladesh 47 1021.3% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 880.0% 1 10.0% 110.0%
England 47817436.4% 5 2.9% 17 9.8% 6436.8% 76 43.7% 12 6.9%
India 24210945.0% 4 3.7% 1110.1% 3834.9% 40 36.7% 1614.7%
New Zealand 186 8143.5% 1 1.2% 1113.6% 2125.9% 43 53.1% 5 6.2%
Pakistan 144 6847.2% 0 0.0% 5 7.4% 2130.9% 33 48.5% 913.2%
South Africa 203 5225.6% 2 3.8% 713.5% 2446.2% 17 32.7% 2 3.8%
Sri Lanka 114 4035.1% 1 2.5% 3 7.5% 1742.5% 14 35.0% 512.5%
West Indies 223 9140.8% 6 6.6% 1011.0% 3639.6% 34 37.4% 5 5.5%
Zimbabwe 47 1634.0% 212.5% 212.5% 531.2% 6 37.5% 1 6.2%
U.A.E. 12 433.3% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 375.0% 1 25.0% 0 0.0%

Australia not only produces least percentage of draws, it also produces the most exciting and competitive of draws. Pakistan is the worst in this table. More than 61% of the draws are of the uninspiring type. New Zealand is next with 59% and India follows with 51%.

Here comes the interesting part. The list of fascinating and exciting Test draws. The key word is the first word. I have gone through the first two categories and selected what I feel would fit into this selection criteria. There is no personal bias since I have not looked at individual scores. It is clear that West Indies, Australia and England feature most in these matches simply because of the fact that they have played more exciting Tests than the others. So my suggestion to readers is not to ask "why have you (not) included this Test?" I will not answer those. Rather, post your own alternatives, and if possible, with a 2-3 line summary of the Test.

A list of close drawn matches: Not necessarily a complete list

1. 0498: Win-453ao Aus-505ao Win-284ao Aus-232ao

The first tie ever, that too the "perfect tie". A hundred and thirty two runs by Garry Sobers and four supporting 50s took West Indies to 453. Alan Davidson captured five wickets. Norm O'Neill scored 181 and Bob Simpson 92, to give Australia a good lead. Frank Worrell scored 65 to take West Indies to a competitive score, Davidson captured 6 wkts and Australia had a target of 233. Australia were 92 for 6. Davidson (80) and Richie Benaud (52) contributing the bulk of the runs. Last wicket fell with one ball to go. Wes Hall captured 5 wkts.

2. 1052: Aus-574/7 Ind-397ao Aus-170/5 Ind-347ao

The second tie, but an "imperfect" one. Australia declared at 574/7, thanks to Dean Jones' 210, David Boon's 122 and Alan Border's 108. Kapil Dev made a quick 119 and three other fifties were scored. But India finished nearly 200 runs in arrears after the first innings. Greg Matthews captured 5 wickets. In their second innings, Australia declared at 170 for 5, setting India a target of 348 to win. Sunil Gavaskar scored 90 and there were useful contributions all-around. India were dismissed for 347 in their second innings. Matthews and Ray Bright captured 5 wickets each.

3. 2019: Win-590ao Ind-482ao Win-134ao Ind-242/9

Nearly a tie. Would have been a perfect tie also. Darren Bravo's 168, and 5 other 50s take West Indies to 590. R Ashwin captured 5 wickets. India, despite four top-order 50s, were in trouble at 331 for 6. Then Ashwin scored his maiden Test hundred and India finished 108 behind. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha dismissed West Indies for 134. In their second innings, India needed 243 to win. Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli scored fifties. India were 241 for 8 with two balls to go. Ashwin, aware of a potential loss, plays carefully on the fifth ball, ensuring India don't lose the Test. Then takes a single off the last ball of the match and, after a ponderous turn, is run out. Could have ended as a tie.

4. 1345: Zim-376ao Eng-406ao Zim-234ao Eng-204/6

A rather ordinary match that became a cliff-hanger. After two good first innings, with centuries from Andy Flower (who else?), Nasser Hussain and John Crawley, Zimbabwe were dismissed for 234 in the third, leaving England a comfortable fourth innings target of 205, in about 65 overs. One ball before tea, England were at 202 for 5 and Nick Knight was batting on 94. He sent the ball long, took two runs and was run-out going for the winning run. Then heavens opened up and the match came to a dead-stop. Although England scored at 5.5 runs per over, one must find fault with Hussain, Crawley, Graham Thorpe and Darren Gough, who, as a group, scored 13 runs in 22 balls. Shades of the World Cup 2003 match between South Africa and Sri Lanka.

5. 0544: Win-301ao Eng-297ao Win-229ao Eng-228/9

Two average first innings either side of 300 and a below-par third innings by West Indies meant England needed 234 to win. They finished a single stroke short. This was the famous match in which Colin Cowdrey walked in when the ninth wicket fell, with his fractured hand bandaged, ready to bat left-handed, if required.

6. 0311: Win-286ao Ind-193ao Win-267ao Ind-355/8

After three rather below-par scores, India were left 361 to win. Aided by a Vijay Hazare century, they finished at 355 for 8, again a single stroke short. Let us not forget that this was a great result for India since they were just finding way in the wonderland of Test cricket.

7. 0504: Win-393ao Aus-366ao Win-432/6 Aus-273/9

Three good scores in the first three innings meant that Australia were left the better part of two days to survive or get an impossible 460 to win. They were 207 for 9, couple of hours before the close of play. Ken Mackay and Lindsay Kline survived those two hours of fierce bowling and ensured that Australia won the series 2-1. The deliveries faced information is not available but it is clear that Kline faced over 60 deliveries. Since this series also had the tied Test, it was arguably the greatest series of all time.

8. 1840: Eng-298ao Ind-201ao Eng-282ao Ind-282/9

England had a lead of nearly 100 runs and set India 380 to win. India lost wickets steadily but MS Dhoni played one of his best Test innings and took India to safety. The 10th wicket partnership with S Sreesanth realized 19 runs. During recent years England saved four Tests through staunch last wicket efforts. The roles were reversed on this occasion.

9. 1908: Eng-566/9 Win-285ao Eng-221/8 Win-370/9

England posted a huge total. West Indies were nearly 300 runs behind. England batted again and set West Indies an impossible 500+ to win. Ramnaresh Sarwan's century and useful contributions by many other batsmen proved insufficient and West Indies were 353 for 9 with 10 overs to play. The unlikely pair of Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards batted out these 10 overs, scoring an inconsequential 17 runs, and saved the match.

10. 1760: Eng-444ao Aus-302ao Eng-280/6 Aus-371/9

This match was during the wonderful 2005 Ashes series. Chasing 423 to win, Australia slumped to 264 for 7, with over 30 overs left. The late order rallied, with Shane Warne, Brett Lee and Glen McGrath playing out over 100 balls. The last wicket partnership was 17 runs and more significantly, 23 balls.

11. 0277: Eng-294ao Ind-170ao Eng-153/5 Ind-152/9

In a low scoring 3-day match, England took a 124 run lead and set India an imposing 278 to win. They had no answer to Alec Bedser and were 87 for 6 and then 138 for 9. Ranga Sohoni and Dattaram Hindlekar added 14 priceless runs, possibly in 7 overs, and saved the day.

12. 0797: Pak-435ao Win-421ao Pak-291ao Win-251/9

After two above-par first innings, Pakistan were dismissed for less than 300, setting West Indies just over 300 to win. West Indies floundered against Pakistani pace men and were struggling at 217 for 8 and 237 for 9. Andy Roberts and Colin Croft added 14 and saved the match.

13. 2084: Nzl-443ao Eng-204ao Nzl-241/6 Eng-315/9

The most recent escapade. Eden Park was the scene of heart-stopping fifteen minutes. No amount of coloured tamasha will match this. New Zealand did not enforce the follow-on even though they were 239 ahead. Then batted on, for what quite a few felt, too long, and set England a near-500 target. England were in dire straits, at 237 for 7. Matt Prior and Stuart Broad battled on for 25 overs, Broad scoring a 77-ball 6. Just when everything was pointing to a draw, Kane Williamson came on and captured 2 wickets in 3 balls. Prior and Monty Panesar survived the final 16 balls. An emphatic statement that the Test cricket lives, and how?

14. 1942: Saf-418ao Eng-356ao Saf-301/7 Eng-228/9

This match was one of the four England's great escapes over the past 5 years. These matches all follow a similar pattern. Good first innings totals and a reasonable third innings meant that England were given a reasonable target of 350+. From a reasonable position of 205 for 5, they slumped to 218 for 9. Prior and Broad, the heroes at Eden Park 4 years later, both scored 0s. Graeme Swann lasted 15 balls and Graham Onions, two full overs to save the day, along with Paul Collingwood. The last wicket added 10 runs, but more importantly, lasted 4 overs.

15. 0636: Win-414ao Eng-371ao Win-264ao Eng-206/9

The pattern is similar. Two good innings and then a middling innings setting a target of just over 300. Then came the defensive rear-guard action. First Colin Cowdrey scored a patient 83. However the defining match-saving innings was that of Alan Knott, who resisted for 260 balls in a 6-hour marathon of 73. John Snow was the other partner in this odyssey, scoring 1 in 60 balls. Jeff Jones held on for 5 overs at the end.

16. 0645: Win-276ao Aus-533ao Win-616ao Aus-339/9

Garry Sobers' 110 helped West Indies score a moderate 276. Then every Australian batsman contributed and they took a lead of just over 250. In the second innings West Indies amassed 616. There was only one century, by Basil Butcher, but 80+ scores were recorded by three batsmen including David Holford, batting at no.9. Australia were set 360 to win, but were 21 short with the last wicket in hand. They were well placed at 304 for 3 but then lost next 6 wickets for 29 runs. There was mayhem on the ground, in the form of 4 run outs.

17. 1087: Nzl-317ao Aus-357ao Nzl-286ao Aus-230/9

No hundreds were scored in the match. However quite a few scores exceeding 70 meant that, after three innings on either side of 300, Australia were set under 250 to win. They had reckoned without Richard Hadlee and were soon in trouble at 216 for 8. Craig McDermott and Mike Whitney saved the day for them with a last wicket partnership, lasting 7 overs.

18. 1096: Win-174ao Pak-194ao Win-391ao Pak-341/9

Two below-par first innings of sub-200 scores were cancelled by much better batting displays the second time around. Viv Richards and Jeff Dujon scored hundreds and West Indies set Pakistan 372 to win. Javed Miandad's 100 was negated by 0 and 1 from Shoaib Mohammad and Imran and Pakistan were 311 for 8. Ijaz Faqih scored a patient 51-ball 10 and saved the match, along with Ijaz Ahmed and Saleem Yousuf.

These are the matches where one team was a single delivery away from a win. For the other team, it was survival.

19. 1420: Saf-552/5 Eng-183ao fo Eng-369/9

One of the most intriguing draws ever. Huge South African total, followed by a disastrous first innings by England meant that England started the third innings 369 in arrears. This time they batted much better, led by a wonderful 164 by Alec Stewart and top-quality knock of 88 from Mike Atherton. They were sitting pretty at 237 for 2, when Atherton was dismissed. Then wickets started falling at regular intervals and soon they were 329 for 8. The ninth wicket added 38 runs but England were soon at 367 for 9, still 2 behind. Then Robert Croft and Angus Fraser survived 4 overs and added 2 priceless runs. The match finished with the scores level. Technically, this is not a one-ball-away situation since two balls are now needed. One to take the 10th wicket and one to score the winning run. This is the only match of its kind in the history of Test cricket. Scores exactly equal at the end of third innings at match-end.

20. 1922: Eng-435ao Aus-674/6 Eng-252/9

How many of these last-ball situations has England had recently? England posted a very good first innings score of 435, with all batsmen contributing. With four batsmen contributing 100s, led by North, RickyPonting, Simon Katich and Brad Haddin, Australia declared at 674 for 6. England were 70 for 5 and 159 for 7. However, Paul Collingwood, helped by all members of the late order, saved the Test. Not before a 35-ball classic by Panesar and 200 balls faced by the last four batsmen.

21. 1181: Aus-313ao Ind-483ao Aus-173/8

This was Warne's "forgettable" debut Test. Australia scored a moderate 313. India, with a dour 206 from Ravi Shastri and a classic 148 by Sachin Tendulkar, posted an impressive first innings lead of 170. Australia batted indifferently and was soon at 114 for 6. Alan Border dug in, with the help of Merv Hughes to save the Test. Australia finished only 3 runs ahead.

22. 0627: Eng-568ao Win-363ao fo Win-243/8

Ken Barrington and Tom Graveney helped England reach a huge first innings total of 568. Despite a 100 by Clive Lloyd, West Indies were dismissed for 363. Those were the days of follow-ons - West Indies batted again. They barely managed to clear the arrears and finished at 243 for 8, 39 ahead. They were 180 for 8 and a ninth wicket partnership of 63 by Garry Sobers and Wes Hall saved the match for them.

23. 1129: Aus-521/9 Nzl-231ao fo Nzl-322/7

David Boon's 200 helped Australia to score 521. New Zealand were dismissed for 231 and followed on 290 behind. Mark Greatbatch played one of the greatest of defensive innings of all time, scoring 146 in 485 balls, and saved New Zealand's Test. They finished at 322/7, only 33 ahead.

24. 1806: Ind-588/8 Win-215ao fo Win-294/7

Three hundreds by Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif, punctuated by a 0 from VVS Laxman and 2 from Yuvraj Singh meant that India posted a huge first innings score of 588. West Indies were dismissed for 215 and followed on well over 350 runs behind. Helped by a defensive classic of 120 by Brian Lara, West Indies saved the Test. They finished 78 behind. Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Ian Bradshaw played important defensive innings.

To download/view the list of 720 drawn matches and the classifications, please CLICK HERE.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 14, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Hi Ananth, hope this comment is taken in the right spirit. Cricinfo's new arrangement has made it quite difficult to painlessly visit your site, and interact with readers. Earlier it was not only an article with comments, it was also a forum with rich interaction. Now the changes, all negative, are 1) I have to do multiple clicks to come to your article 2) I have to go down to change the "latest" to "all" comments 3) the comments are sorted the wrong way - the latest comment is on top, so I have to read that, come to the bottom and then post my observations. I am sure some of these can be changed by cricinfo without disturbing their overall arrangement with you or other writers. Hope we will have more enjoyable times.
    [[
    Gerry, I agree with you 100%. I have lost most of the good aspects of the earlier blogspace. I am certain I have lost many readers. Many readers who were ready to comment on the earlier articles are now reluctant to do that.
    However I am not sure what i can do. I am with Cricinfo by invitation and it is upto them to provide me with the right environment. I understand the lack of involvement of many readers which has been caused by the far more difficult access route. Some readers still take the trouble to post the comments. But many do not.
    However the loss ultimately will be to Cricinfo. I have already decided not to use Cricinfo to post the articles on the major projects I am now doing on Test Contributions and Ratings.
    Unfortunately despite my many suggestions, Cricinfo has ignored the forum aspect of the earlier blogspace. The public forum now is IPL dominated.
    I will make one final attempt. But see no chance of any change. Soon I have to take a stand on what I am going to do in future.
    I do not even get the mails from readers. I cannot even forward your mail to anybody. But I will feature your comment.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • harshthakor on May 7, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Sorry Ananth,

    I missed out 2 important games both involving West Indies and Pakistan

    In 1977 in the 1st test at Bridgetwon,Barbados Pakistan scored 435 and had the calypsos reeling at 167-5 before Clive Lloyds151 took them to 421 .In the 2nd innings Pakistan crashed to 158-8 before Wasim Raja and Wasim Bari engaged in record 133 run stand for the last wicket.Chasing a target of 306 for victory West Indies from 142-1 crashed to 217-8 and finally 254-9.It was simply test cricket at it's best with the pendulum swinging in opposite directions throughout.

    In 1988 in the 2nd test at Trinidad after being dismissed for 170 the Calypsos came back superbly to have Pakistan at 68-7 before the tail wagged to take them to 191.In the 2nd innings from 125-5 a Viv Richards century enabled them to recover to 391.Chasing a target of 372 runs Pakistan were cruising home at 280-5 with Miandad scoring a century His exit again turned the game and Pakistan finished at 341-9.
    [[
    In JeffG's later omment, he says "We flipping murdered them." referring to David Lloyd. My dear Harsh, "You flipping murdered this topic". What a pair of Test matches. They were in my shortlist but I could not get a handle on the swings in the match. Especially those late order stands.These two are official entries to this article.
    For that matter, the Pakistan score of 435 was from 271 for 7. I think this match can stake a claim for the most exciting Test of all time. And to top it all, this was Garner's and Croft's debut Test.
    Harsh, you have made my day.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 7, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Looking at the first table, I was struck by 2 things - the big reduction in the overall number of draws since 2000 and the increase in the proportion of "1 ball away" draws in that same period.

    Could this be due to the impact of limited overs cricket, and maybe more specifically, Duckworth-Lewis? Captains are now far more aware of what the boundaries are in terms of realistic targets and players are far more aware of how to pace an innings and balance risk/reward when chasing.

    When you add this to the increased "Americanisation" of needing a result, you get much fewer "dead draws" nowadays.
    [[
    I think Australia single-handedly changed the face of Test match cricket. They were ready to be all out for 400 in 120 overs as against 500/6 in 160 overs and told the other team that there was enough time left in the Test to win. They dared the teams to defend. Of course they lost matches but won a lot more.
    Of course the ODI cricket brought with it better running between wickets and the mindset that 3 runs per over was only par.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    And a quick comment on the Eng-Zim draw - I remember listening to the finish of this match on the radio, and while the commentators were disappointed with Streak's tactics, there was a sense that he was being "professional" and most other players would have done the same. I think this was also the series that spawned David Lloyd's famous "we flippin murdered em" comment after the series was drawn

  • on May 6, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Your description of a 'perfect tie' is pretty good.. But,I would say that the perfect tie would be when both teams end up having the same state of mind..what I mean is that both the teams either feel dissapointed of not being able to cause a result in their favour or feel that they have done well,keeping thier nerves and not ending up on the losing side... In the Mumbai test between India and the West indies in 2012,(which you wrote about) When the match got over...We saw the WIndies rejoicing and the Indian camp feeling dissapointed.. you wrote-you wrote-'If Ashwin had gone for a single off the penultimate ball and got out and the last ball result was repeated, it would have been the "ultra-perfect tie". Had that been the case...The windies would have been happy then too... A perfect tie i think wud be like-The WC match between eng and india(though its an odi)..in which both teams' camp were smiling by the end of it
    [[
    Even today Shastri feels cheated by the umpires and feels that the last wicket in Chennai was not Lbw. I think Shastri, in his anxiety to get a win, misses the honour of being in a tie.
    It is tough to quantify what you say. At Perth in 1961, initially West Indies looked like winning easily. But after the long stand between Benaud and Davidson, they were happy to get a tie.
    However unlike Shastri, both Benaud and Worrell knew the importance of the result. Both of them were glad to be part of a historic occasion.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • harshthakor on May 6, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    I will always add the 4th test at the Oval in 1979 when India came within 9 runs of achieving the highest winning 4th innings total of 438 runs.India looked to be cruising home before Gavaskar departed for a an epic 221.It was cricket at it's best with India finishing at 429-8.
    [[
    Yes, this is always a candidate. As I have mentioned in the article could even be construed to be a miss by me. Let us add this draw to the list of draws I have. Unfortunately I do not have access to the article now. So cannot add the entry as I used to do before.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    Another interesting draw was when Peter Willey saved England in the 4th test the Oval in 1980 when England were reeling at 92-9 and just 197 runs ahead before lunch on the final day.A record last wicket stand between Peter Willey and Bob Willis saved England.In a rain affected game fortunes fluctuated with the England batting collapse.
    [[
    Let us say West Indies were set 200 to win and if Willis bowled like he bowled an year later at Headingley and Dilley, as he bowled in the first innings and Botham, as he bowled at Birmingham the next year: this was not an easy match for West indies to win.
    But the bowling attack Willis scored his hundred off, was something. Holding/Croft/Marshall/Garner. Probably the best attack ever.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    There was also a hard -fought draw in the 3rd test at Adelaide of the 1997-98 series in Australia between S.Africa and Australia.Controversially Mark Waugh was given not out and till the last over the Proteas could have won.Similarly India had an exciting draw with Australia in 1985-86 at Adelaide,with India almost winning the match on the final day.
    [[
    Mark Waugh's was an all-time classic defensive innings. And done with average support only.. But 120+ needed and 3 wickets in hand is not that desperate situation.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Regarding the draw between Eng and Zim, i feel that it is wrong to only criticize the English batsmen for slow scoring. I remember reading reports at that time how heath streak bowled way wide outside the off stump and was not called for wides. Infact, i remember reading in "cricket samrat" (a hindi cricket magazine) that when heath streak was fined by the match refree for admitting to bowl wides and expressing surprise that umpire did not call him, the English reporters paid his fine from their pockets On another note, i think that if the same yardstick is applied to ODI cricket ( classification of results as 1) Very close matches 2) Potential to be close matches 3) One sided affairs,) then the percentage of one sided matches to result would be higher relative to same figures for tame test draws
    [[
    Sorry for not responding. This was published by some one else despite instructions not to do so.
    I understand what you say. However what i say is based on the scorecards. Behind every close win/draw there is bound to be a story or two, but outside the scorecard. In the India-West Indies draw in 1949, the umpires seem to have pulled off the stumps 5 minutes earlier. In the India-Nzl draw after India follow-on and New Zealand finishing at 80 for 8, I could hear the commentators sayng that the umpires were running to their respective ends to get some extra overs. And so on.
    Let me retain the blame on the English batsmen. After all they missed a win by one run.
    It intrigues me why the English reporters paid Streak's fine.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Nutcutlet on May 4, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    A truly fascinating analysis & given the interesting & contrasting textures of the drawn match categories used here (except the DDD category!), providing further evidence (if such were needed) of the boundless joy of Test cricket over its formula-driven descendants & all other outdoor team sports yet devised. Sometimes issues in life, especially the ones that teach us most about ourselves & others are just like drawn matches: frequently tantalising, often filled with 'what-ifs?' & 'if-onlys'. And, perhaps most lives can, at their ends, be described as hard-fought & honourable draws. If a match won is like something grasped, then I am reminded of Robert Browning's famous line: 'Ah, but man's reach must exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?' (Now, if only Americans could grasp that concept!)
    [[
    Thanks for the lovely turns of phrases.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • andrew-schulz on June 6, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Graf and Sanchez played a 5-set match at Wimbledon? And Ashwin did go for a single in that 2011 Test. He should have been going for a 2.

  • on May 17, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Regarding the tied Chennai test, it was AB's sporting declaration which made it a contest. Else, in both innings, it was Aussie rampage all the way. An underrated Dean Jones overpowered Chennai heat and humi(liation)dity and made an all time classic. If at all, it had to be the Aussies who should feel for not winning the match. Of course, a spirited Indian chase going for the target was in the right spirit (unlike Indians of those days, when they respected the opponent's right for domination) . . . It was aggressive captaincy from India which enabled them to go after the target. Forget Shastri, even Manindar Singh keeps telling he nicked it .

    Test 1840, I remember how RP Singh was taunted and faced an equally daunting innings to not lose his wicket (Neither Dhoni nor the same Indian tail could repeat this act in Sydney 2008, where I feel still, on such a lovely wicket 212 could be chased on day 5. 9,10 & Jack falling for Clarke was def unacceptable)!

  • Bonehead_maz on May 11, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    This is brilliant stuff Ananth !

    Not only are draws interesting in themselves. I believe they are the whole reason Cricket is the most interesting team game. Even if generally considered boring, I consider a draw the most beautiful result lest a tie :).

    That day in December 1960 in Brisbane, my father left the ground to go to work at tea, expecting a WI win. ..... funny how cricket is :)

    Other than that most miraculous game, my favourites are listed here as No 5 and No 19. They are all super matches and many others mentioned here are as well !

    Thanks Ananth
    [[
    Murray, the wonder is that the many matches sugegsted by readers in general and Harsh in particular, are all wonderful ones. That means that I could have doubled the number of anecdoted Tests and there would have been no complaints. The West Indis-Pakitan series and the Australia-New Zealand Test series are all magnificent ones. One reason why I fancy the limited overs less is the insistence on a result. Why cannot a T20 match end in a tie. Why this single over bash. What is wrong with teams sharing a bi-lateral series or 2 points in a league.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 14, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Hi Ananth, hope this comment is taken in the right spirit. Cricinfo's new arrangement has made it quite difficult to painlessly visit your site, and interact with readers. Earlier it was not only an article with comments, it was also a forum with rich interaction. Now the changes, all negative, are 1) I have to do multiple clicks to come to your article 2) I have to go down to change the "latest" to "all" comments 3) the comments are sorted the wrong way - the latest comment is on top, so I have to read that, come to the bottom and then post my observations. I am sure some of these can be changed by cricinfo without disturbing their overall arrangement with you or other writers. Hope we will have more enjoyable times.
    [[
    Gerry, I agree with you 100%. I have lost most of the good aspects of the earlier blogspace. I am certain I have lost many readers. Many readers who were ready to comment on the earlier articles are now reluctant to do that.
    However I am not sure what i can do. I am with Cricinfo by invitation and it is upto them to provide me with the right environment. I understand the lack of involvement of many readers which has been caused by the far more difficult access route. Some readers still take the trouble to post the comments. But many do not.
    However the loss ultimately will be to Cricinfo. I have already decided not to use Cricinfo to post the articles on the major projects I am now doing on Test Contributions and Ratings.
    Unfortunately despite my many suggestions, Cricinfo has ignored the forum aspect of the earlier blogspace. The public forum now is IPL dominated.
    I will make one final attempt. But see no chance of any change. Soon I have to take a stand on what I am going to do in future.
    I do not even get the mails from readers. I cannot even forward your mail to anybody. But I will feature your comment.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • harshthakor on May 7, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Sorry Ananth,

    I missed out 2 important games both involving West Indies and Pakistan

    In 1977 in the 1st test at Bridgetwon,Barbados Pakistan scored 435 and had the calypsos reeling at 167-5 before Clive Lloyds151 took them to 421 .In the 2nd innings Pakistan crashed to 158-8 before Wasim Raja and Wasim Bari engaged in record 133 run stand for the last wicket.Chasing a target of 306 for victory West Indies from 142-1 crashed to 217-8 and finally 254-9.It was simply test cricket at it's best with the pendulum swinging in opposite directions throughout.

    In 1988 in the 2nd test at Trinidad after being dismissed for 170 the Calypsos came back superbly to have Pakistan at 68-7 before the tail wagged to take them to 191.In the 2nd innings from 125-5 a Viv Richards century enabled them to recover to 391.Chasing a target of 372 runs Pakistan were cruising home at 280-5 with Miandad scoring a century His exit again turned the game and Pakistan finished at 341-9.
    [[
    In JeffG's later omment, he says "We flipping murdered them." referring to David Lloyd. My dear Harsh, "You flipping murdered this topic". What a pair of Test matches. They were in my shortlist but I could not get a handle on the swings in the match. Especially those late order stands.These two are official entries to this article.
    For that matter, the Pakistan score of 435 was from 271 for 7. I think this match can stake a claim for the most exciting Test of all time. And to top it all, this was Garner's and Croft's debut Test.
    Harsh, you have made my day.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 7, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Looking at the first table, I was struck by 2 things - the big reduction in the overall number of draws since 2000 and the increase in the proportion of "1 ball away" draws in that same period.

    Could this be due to the impact of limited overs cricket, and maybe more specifically, Duckworth-Lewis? Captains are now far more aware of what the boundaries are in terms of realistic targets and players are far more aware of how to pace an innings and balance risk/reward when chasing.

    When you add this to the increased "Americanisation" of needing a result, you get much fewer "dead draws" nowadays.
    [[
    I think Australia single-handedly changed the face of Test match cricket. They were ready to be all out for 400 in 120 overs as against 500/6 in 160 overs and told the other team that there was enough time left in the Test to win. They dared the teams to defend. Of course they lost matches but won a lot more.
    Of course the ODI cricket brought with it better running between wickets and the mindset that 3 runs per over was only par.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    And a quick comment on the Eng-Zim draw - I remember listening to the finish of this match on the radio, and while the commentators were disappointed with Streak's tactics, there was a sense that he was being "professional" and most other players would have done the same. I think this was also the series that spawned David Lloyd's famous "we flippin murdered em" comment after the series was drawn

  • on May 6, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Your description of a 'perfect tie' is pretty good.. But,I would say that the perfect tie would be when both teams end up having the same state of mind..what I mean is that both the teams either feel dissapointed of not being able to cause a result in their favour or feel that they have done well,keeping thier nerves and not ending up on the losing side... In the Mumbai test between India and the West indies in 2012,(which you wrote about) When the match got over...We saw the WIndies rejoicing and the Indian camp feeling dissapointed.. you wrote-you wrote-'If Ashwin had gone for a single off the penultimate ball and got out and the last ball result was repeated, it would have been the "ultra-perfect tie". Had that been the case...The windies would have been happy then too... A perfect tie i think wud be like-The WC match between eng and india(though its an odi)..in which both teams' camp were smiling by the end of it
    [[
    Even today Shastri feels cheated by the umpires and feels that the last wicket in Chennai was not Lbw. I think Shastri, in his anxiety to get a win, misses the honour of being in a tie.
    It is tough to quantify what you say. At Perth in 1961, initially West Indies looked like winning easily. But after the long stand between Benaud and Davidson, they were happy to get a tie.
    However unlike Shastri, both Benaud and Worrell knew the importance of the result. Both of them were glad to be part of a historic occasion.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • harshthakor on May 6, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    I will always add the 4th test at the Oval in 1979 when India came within 9 runs of achieving the highest winning 4th innings total of 438 runs.India looked to be cruising home before Gavaskar departed for a an epic 221.It was cricket at it's best with India finishing at 429-8.
    [[
    Yes, this is always a candidate. As I have mentioned in the article could even be construed to be a miss by me. Let us add this draw to the list of draws I have. Unfortunately I do not have access to the article now. So cannot add the entry as I used to do before.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    Another interesting draw was when Peter Willey saved England in the 4th test the Oval in 1980 when England were reeling at 92-9 and just 197 runs ahead before lunch on the final day.A record last wicket stand between Peter Willey and Bob Willis saved England.In a rain affected game fortunes fluctuated with the England batting collapse.
    [[
    Let us say West Indies were set 200 to win and if Willis bowled like he bowled an year later at Headingley and Dilley, as he bowled in the first innings and Botham, as he bowled at Birmingham the next year: this was not an easy match for West indies to win.
    But the bowling attack Willis scored his hundred off, was something. Holding/Croft/Marshall/Garner. Probably the best attack ever.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    There was also a hard -fought draw in the 3rd test at Adelaide of the 1997-98 series in Australia between S.Africa and Australia.Controversially Mark Waugh was given not out and till the last over the Proteas could have won.Similarly India had an exciting draw with Australia in 1985-86 at Adelaide,with India almost winning the match on the final day.
    [[
    Mark Waugh's was an all-time classic defensive innings. And done with average support only.. But 120+ needed and 3 wickets in hand is not that desperate situation.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Regarding the draw between Eng and Zim, i feel that it is wrong to only criticize the English batsmen for slow scoring. I remember reading reports at that time how heath streak bowled way wide outside the off stump and was not called for wides. Infact, i remember reading in "cricket samrat" (a hindi cricket magazine) that when heath streak was fined by the match refree for admitting to bowl wides and expressing surprise that umpire did not call him, the English reporters paid his fine from their pockets On another note, i think that if the same yardstick is applied to ODI cricket ( classification of results as 1) Very close matches 2) Potential to be close matches 3) One sided affairs,) then the percentage of one sided matches to result would be higher relative to same figures for tame test draws
    [[
    Sorry for not responding. This was published by some one else despite instructions not to do so.
    I understand what you say. However what i say is based on the scorecards. Behind every close win/draw there is bound to be a story or two, but outside the scorecard. In the India-West Indies draw in 1949, the umpires seem to have pulled off the stumps 5 minutes earlier. In the India-Nzl draw after India follow-on and New Zealand finishing at 80 for 8, I could hear the commentators sayng that the umpires were running to their respective ends to get some extra overs. And so on.
    Let me retain the blame on the English batsmen. After all they missed a win by one run.
    It intrigues me why the English reporters paid Streak's fine.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Nutcutlet on May 4, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    A truly fascinating analysis & given the interesting & contrasting textures of the drawn match categories used here (except the DDD category!), providing further evidence (if such were needed) of the boundless joy of Test cricket over its formula-driven descendants & all other outdoor team sports yet devised. Sometimes issues in life, especially the ones that teach us most about ourselves & others are just like drawn matches: frequently tantalising, often filled with 'what-ifs?' & 'if-onlys'. And, perhaps most lives can, at their ends, be described as hard-fought & honourable draws. If a match won is like something grasped, then I am reminded of Robert Browning's famous line: 'Ah, but man's reach must exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?' (Now, if only Americans could grasp that concept!)
    [[
    Thanks for the lovely turns of phrases.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • andrew-schulz on June 6, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Graf and Sanchez played a 5-set match at Wimbledon? And Ashwin did go for a single in that 2011 Test. He should have been going for a 2.

  • on May 17, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Regarding the tied Chennai test, it was AB's sporting declaration which made it a contest. Else, in both innings, it was Aussie rampage all the way. An underrated Dean Jones overpowered Chennai heat and humi(liation)dity and made an all time classic. If at all, it had to be the Aussies who should feel for not winning the match. Of course, a spirited Indian chase going for the target was in the right spirit (unlike Indians of those days, when they respected the opponent's right for domination) . . . It was aggressive captaincy from India which enabled them to go after the target. Forget Shastri, even Manindar Singh keeps telling he nicked it .

    Test 1840, I remember how RP Singh was taunted and faced an equally daunting innings to not lose his wicket (Neither Dhoni nor the same Indian tail could repeat this act in Sydney 2008, where I feel still, on such a lovely wicket 212 could be chased on day 5. 9,10 & Jack falling for Clarke was def unacceptable)!

  • Bonehead_maz on May 11, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    This is brilliant stuff Ananth !

    Not only are draws interesting in themselves. I believe they are the whole reason Cricket is the most interesting team game. Even if generally considered boring, I consider a draw the most beautiful result lest a tie :).

    That day in December 1960 in Brisbane, my father left the ground to go to work at tea, expecting a WI win. ..... funny how cricket is :)

    Other than that most miraculous game, my favourites are listed here as No 5 and No 19. They are all super matches and many others mentioned here are as well !

    Thanks Ananth
    [[
    Murray, the wonder is that the many matches sugegsted by readers in general and Harsh in particular, are all wonderful ones. That means that I could have doubled the number of anecdoted Tests and there would have been no complaints. The West Indis-Pakitan series and the Australia-New Zealand Test series are all magnificent ones. One reason why I fancy the limited overs less is the insistence on a result. Why cannot a T20 match end in a tie. Why this single over bash. What is wrong with teams sharing a bi-lateral series or 2 points in a league.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 11, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    in para 3 - for the first - and hopefully the last time, i read the names of some unheard of films of dubious manufacture, sandwitched between some stellar movies.
    [[
    Obviously shows a complete lack of the fact that great movies have been made in languages other than English and Hindi. And the term "for the last time" indicates a frog-in-the-well attitude. And the term "dubious" indicates shallowness of thinking and narrow-mindedness.
    If you had taken the trouble of looking through these film names in Wikipedia you would have learnt something.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 10, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    (cont) - plenty of Kiwis say they were ripped off in this series, but no weather factors & Oz would of been leading 2nil at this stage. Oz were 5 for 244, & needed almost 200 @ nearly 10 rpo. Enter Gilly. Flemingis/was arguably the best captain of the last 20 years & under normal circumstances would attack the whole final session, but Gilly started smoting them, & Fleming had to start defending until S Wauugh got out. I think the match ended a shade early under agreement, Ox did have 3 wickets in hand, but only needed about 60 to win. Clearly on paper this series was nowhere near a last ball thriller but both matches were in doubt within the last hour. I was living in Brizzy at the time of the 1st Test & thought there was no way they'd even play on the 5th day, (raining on/off all night & morning), to get so close to a result was a miracle. Fleming & NZ had my admiration for taking up Waughs challenge! Great stuff!
    [[
    Yes, Meety: A rare 0-0 series which had its many moments. In the third Test once Gillespie had to defend to save the test (1 in 24 balls) and Gilchrist also slowed down.
    But the first Test was something. This was the year Australia were day-robbed of a 3-0 series into a 1-2 win in India. Still Waugh's declaration on the last day, around 3 runs per over, was extremely courageous and it did not matter that the Test was nearly lost. Cairns played a wonderful cameo when new Zealand were chasing.
    I agree that it was a wonderful series.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 10, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    HI Ananth, back again. A series I'd like to draw your attention (even though it doesn't fit your criteria) is the Oz v NZ series in Oz in 01/02. The series was drawn 0 all, primarily due to the weather. None of the draws fit your criteria, but the 1st & 3rd Tests were thrillers. The 1st Test at the Gabba, had the best parts of Day,2,3 & 4 washed out, then out of the blue on Day 5 Waugh declares 283 ahead, giving NZ just under 60 overs to win. NZ straight away take up the challenge, 1st wicket falls @ 1-33 during the 6th over. Even spread of wickets & continuous run scoring sees NZ needing about 60 the last 7 overs, Cairns & McMillan hit 6s off Warne & McGrath, & it finishes with NZ about 8 runs short with 4 wickets in hand, (Oz lost only 11 wickets to NZ 16). The 2nd test was a rain affected draw, then out of the blue NZ @ the WACA get 9/534 (3 tons). Oz replied with 351. NZ set Oz 440, & Oz have a crack on the last day (cont)

  • on May 8, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    Brilliant Analysis as always. You just got to love the numbers Test Cricket can pull up for you. And Ananth as always has done some amazing work to get meaningful data from the plethora of numbers. I am your big fan.

    Adding to the list of exciting draws, I would like to mention the SA vs Australia match in Adelaide, 2012. Though South Africa were not 9 down, they still had to play a session and a half to save the match. The last session in particular, after Kallis departed i.e., was as dramatic and as intriguing as cricket can get. The last hour when Siddle just kept going. He was literally drained of energy, but just didn't give up. Faf Du Plessis too just kept stonewalling ball after ball.

    Though not as close as the ones mentioned above, the drama was intense.
    [[
    Thanks, jagannath.
    As I have already mentioned the fact that 8 wickets fell kept this match outside the criteria. However there is no denying the excitement and quality of the fightback. Du Plessis, who was considered by many to be just a T20 player, showed adnirable technique and concentration for 8 hours. This was a trait displayed admirably by Henriques later in India.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 8, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    In the match which Harsh Thakor refers (1976-77 WI-Pak) - Imran refers to this entire series as one of the most exciting he has played in. In this first test, I think WI were 183-5, but Imran and Sarfraz were causing havoc with the old ball which was swinging with control under cloudy skies. The new ball became due, and Mustaq Mohammed, the captain, immediately called for the new ball. Sarfraz protested to Imran, asking him to intervene and prevent this. Mustaq laughed it off, scoffing that "only Pakistani new ball bowlers dont want the new ball". He took it ignoring them, the ball swung uncontrollably, and Lloyd immediately pounced on the chance and raced away.

    The match in which Gavaskar scored his maiden double century was also a see-saw affair, with a 180 West Indies run first inn lead neutralized by Gavaskar's double century leading to a small target which the West Indies chased but nearly collapsed doing.

    1986-87 between WI and Pak was also a seesaw series, espl 3rd test.
    [[
    Gerry, the Port of Spain match you are referring to just went below the radar since West Indies still had two wickets. There were still 100 runs to be got. Gavaskar!!! 20 years old and 344 in the match in only his fourth Test, away, and we Indians have problems in recognizing him.
    The last Test you have referred to is Test #1058. Pakistan, needing 213 to win in a low-scoring match just about escaped at 125 for 7. Imran Khan and Tauseef played out the last 22 overs against Marshall, Gray, Walsh. Not comparable to many other Tests chronicled by me and the readers but a very competitive Test, no doubt.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • JeffG on May 7, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    On the subject of Australia single-handedly changing the face of test cricket - I do agree, but life was certainly made easier for those Aussie captains to set the opposition a tempting 300+ to win on the last day. I mean, who wouldn't be brave when you had Warne & McGrath in your line-up, able to bowl 50 of those overs.

    I was looking into test 645 (number 16 on your list) - the Wisden report says that when the last hour started, the Aussies were 298-3 with Chappell & Walters well set. They needed 62 more to win off 15 8 ball overs (120 balls in all)

    You simply cannot imagine a modern team not winning from that position
    [[
    I feel the crazy running between wickets caused the panic. Redpath, Walters, Freeman and Jarman were run out.
    Would the last hour have yielded 15 8-ball overs.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 7, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Match #9 is a funny one. Ordinarily you would say that setting a team 500 + to win in about 135 overs, that they only have themselves to blame if they drew. I suppose the fact the Windies got to 370, suggests maybe they weren't too defensive in setting the total. Ultimately England lost the series 1nil. The final Test of that series could almost have made your list, Windies 8/114 after massive 1st & 2nd innings & then England thanks to a KP special made a run a ball 240.
    [[
    England should still have won. Taylor, Benn, Powell and Edwards lasted 140 balls.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 7, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    In respect of #3 on your list (WI v India). I do recall that for 4 days, most people were saying this was a dull match & destined to be a draw (in a round-about sort of way they were right). The Windies were 2/80 something at Stumps Day 4 & probably content to play for a hard earned (but seemingly unspectacular draw). Ojha blew the game apart early Day5, I remember feeling so disappointed for the Windies to have blown a match that they had done so well for 4 days in. Then it looked like Sehwag was going to have the match won by Tea, but regular wickets gave the Windies a sniff. So IMO, there was 4 days of laborious ho-hum toil + one day of absolute drama, to somehow end up arguably the tightest draw of old time. Test Cricket is a funny game!
    [[
    It was a Test West indies should have won but finally were relieved to draw. That is Test match cricket. The fact that we talk about draws in Test cricket so extensively speaks extensively for the subtle nuances of the game.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Meety on May 7, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    For some reason, I find it difficult to post on this blog due to the part where you write the comments doesn't line up, so I miss the first half a dozen words each line!
    [[
    Meety, I second your view. What was a nice, easy and pleasurable task earlier has become cumbersome and avoidable, for some readers, effort. I am helpless.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    Anyways…. On the first table, I found it interesting that 1980 to 1999 had easily the most "dreary" draws as well as almost the highest draw %. I wonder if that was a period of TWO halves, the 80s having some of the previous period's attitudes, whereas during the 90s, Oz started the trend towards 300 runs in a day. So I would imagine (just a hunch), that the period 1980 to 89, would be completely different to 1990 to 99?
    [[
    Possible. I will split the period and get the numbers. Unfortunately I have to only post the results in the form of a comment since I do not have the article correction facility. Give me a couple of days.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 6, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Wasn't there a Test match where india finished 429/8 chasing 438 against england in 1979? could've made the list instead of the last few. Anyways a good list, with quite a few matches that are not usually discussed among the most interesting matches ever played..
    [[
    Pl see my response to Harsh Thakore.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 6, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Nice, exhaustive article! thanks. I might be nit-picking here. But I was thinking maybe an extra parameter, in addition to the 5 parameters you stated, could be interesting. This is where the relative strengths of the two teams are also considered. For example, one team might be a heavy underdog, and the fact that they made it interesting would make the match more exciting than the numbers might suggest. Maybe you are already taking it into consideration (or don't need to) (?).. I was not sure of the cut-off points between the various Draw categories.
    [[
    That would unnecesarily compilace things. Also the charm of the analysis would be lost. To me whether Bangladesh held on for an exciting draw against Australia or vice versa both are excellent efforts. If you had seen the first part, I have talked about Inzamam's match-winning 100 against Bangladesh. I think it ranks with the 336 at the top of his innings.
    The matches were selected through some analysis and then my own reading of the scorecards.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Viswagopaal on May 5, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Very interesting article sir . India vs australia sydney test 2003-04 came to my mind. I was hoping for india victory but aussies were batting brilliantly.Steve Waugh usually plays to win , but he had played out of his skins to force a draw.
    [[
    You would see that I have only anecdoted Tests which were very very close draws. In other words 1/2 wickets left and/or a few runs to get.
    The test you are referring to does not belong to this category. A few overs before close Australia was 338 for 4, needing only another 100 runs to win. So the odds were slightly in their favour. Then they lost two quick wickets but saved the match quite comfortably.
    An exciting match, no doubt.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 5, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    the 24 draws u picked, are they in any form of order.
    [[
    Not really. But in general, first the ties, then the 4-inns draws and then the 3-inns draws.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • jw76 on May 4, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Plenty of excellent research here. Just one thing - Match 4, Zimbabwe v England, in 1996/97. You say "the heavens opened up," which is not correct. Rain did not intervene; it was the last possible over and ball of the match.
    [[
    My mistake. There was no play after tea on the second day and not on the fifth day. I still maintain, despite Pawan's comments on Streak wides, that the four batsmen scoring 13 runs in 22 balls cost England the match.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    the greatest draw in my lifetime was the second test in the Windies, 83-4, with Border and Alderman hanging on, Border's performance in that test arguably the greatest by an Australian batsman. listened on the radio. gripping stuff.
    [[
    When Alderman joined Border, Australia were 238 for 9, already 22 ahead. But probably 100 minutes of play remained. So the lead was not that substantial. Border and Alderman added 61 runs in about 25 overs and saved the match. On balance I agree that this was a great draw, considering that the bowling attack was Marshall, Garner, Daniel and Small.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • RahulFantasyCricket on May 4, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Another great article Ananth. Out of all these draws, which seemed the most heartstopping/ intense? The recent New Zealand and England test was a great test.
    [[
    Too many close Tests to select any one. I would go for the Brisbane tie of 1961. Most of the cricketers involved were my favourites and the match see-sawed between a West Indian win, Australian win and ended as a tiie.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Venkiviru on May 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    nice one...bt too impatient to look up at the numbers....
    [[
    Impatient!!! First time I have heard that.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    A, hopefully constructive, criticism: _____If you had named each test (eg: Aus vs. W.I. Brisbane 1960) I think the bare bones listing would have been more interesting. As it is I have to guess as to when and where (you do, each time, eventually mention who!)
    [[
    Unfortunately a major goof-up by Cricinfo. I had provided a one-line summary of the Test in colour and they had a problem. Hopefully they should rectify this soon and then please re-visit the article. Thanks.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • BanCricFan on May 4, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Such a big article!!! I am too scared to read.
    [[
    Why??? Please take your time and go through. You would like it.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on May 4, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Another very informative article Ananth.

    I have a another drawn test in mind, and this match could have been a dull draw or a Indian loss only for a Magical 229 from Gavaskar at the Oval(was it Oval?) turned the match on its head and gave hopes of an indian victory and finally after losing qucik wickets india fell short by i think 9 runs of what could still have been a record chase.

    Draws can be exciting.

    Had the Ishant withstood Clarke's over then most probably Sydney 2008 would also have come into this discussion. A great match but overshadowed by more serious issues.
    [[
    Yesy the first would have graced any list. Probably the first time India showed the steel they were made of.
    While we can blame the umpires, rightfully, it was finally the spineless batting of the Indian tail which lost India the Test. 6 balls, 3 wickets. And India lost. Almost the same thing happened at Eden park. One innocuous over of Williamson suddenly producing two wickets.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Some observations- 1) In the classification for draws, a seperate category for "weather/rain affected draws" should be added. I agree that is difficult to actually determine the exact statistical impact of weather, but then it can not be denied that a lot of matches have been influenced. Even within this category, there could be two subsets -1) Rain saving a team from certain defeat and 2) Rain playing spoilsport to abruptly end a great contest (as i commented in my previous post about the potential of 2004 Chennai India-Australia test to be a classic) 2) The percentage number of dull/boring draws is highest in the subcontinent ,(more than 10% in all 4 countries) which actually substantiates the criticism of flat tracks in these parts
    [[
    Short of examining the actual scorecards it is difficult to bring in rain. By analyxing the number of overs lost, we can surmise the % of match lost. Afterwards it is conjecture. Problem is that I may not even know how many days were alloted for the Test if any day was washed out. You might remember that there was a rest day after 3 days in many middle period Tests.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Some observations- 1) In the classification for draws, a seperate category for "weather/rain affected draws" should be added. I agree that is difficult to actually determine the exact statistical impact of weather, but then it can not be denied that a lot of matches have been influenced. Even within this category, there could be two subsets -1) Rain saving a team from certain defeat and 2) Rain playing spoilsport to abruptly end a great contest (as i commented in my previous post about the potential of 2004 Chennai India-Australia test to be a classic) 2) The percentage number of dull/boring draws is highest in the subcontinent ,(more than 10% in all 4 countries) which actually substantiates the criticism of flat tracks in these parts
    [[
    Short of examining the actual scorecards it is difficult to bring in rain. By analyxing the number of overs lost, we can surmise the % of match lost. Afterwards it is conjecture. Problem is that I may not even know how many days were alloted for the Test if any day was washed out. You might remember that there was a rest day after 3 days in many middle period Tests.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on May 4, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Another very informative article Ananth.

    I have a another drawn test in mind, and this match could have been a dull draw or a Indian loss only for a Magical 229 from Gavaskar at the Oval(was it Oval?) turned the match on its head and gave hopes of an indian victory and finally after losing qucik wickets india fell short by i think 9 runs of what could still have been a record chase.

    Draws can be exciting.

    Had the Ishant withstood Clarke's over then most probably Sydney 2008 would also have come into this discussion. A great match but overshadowed by more serious issues.
    [[
    Yesy the first would have graced any list. Probably the first time India showed the steel they were made of.
    While we can blame the umpires, rightfully, it was finally the spineless batting of the Indian tail which lost India the Test. 6 balls, 3 wickets. And India lost. Almost the same thing happened at Eden park. One innocuous over of Williamson suddenly producing two wickets.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • BanCricFan on May 4, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Such a big article!!! I am too scared to read.
    [[
    Why??? Please take your time and go through. You would like it.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    A, hopefully constructive, criticism: _____If you had named each test (eg: Aus vs. W.I. Brisbane 1960) I think the bare bones listing would have been more interesting. As it is I have to guess as to when and where (you do, each time, eventually mention who!)
    [[
    Unfortunately a major goof-up by Cricinfo. I had provided a one-line summary of the Test in colour and they had a problem. Hopefully they should rectify this soon and then please re-visit the article. Thanks.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Venkiviru on May 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    nice one...bt too impatient to look up at the numbers....
    [[
    Impatient!!! First time I have heard that.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • RahulFantasyCricket on May 4, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Another great article Ananth. Out of all these draws, which seemed the most heartstopping/ intense? The recent New Zealand and England test was a great test.
    [[
    Too many close Tests to select any one. I would go for the Brisbane tie of 1961. Most of the cricketers involved were my favourites and the match see-sawed between a West Indian win, Australian win and ended as a tiie.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 4, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    the greatest draw in my lifetime was the second test in the Windies, 83-4, with Border and Alderman hanging on, Border's performance in that test arguably the greatest by an Australian batsman. listened on the radio. gripping stuff.
    [[
    When Alderman joined Border, Australia were 238 for 9, already 22 ahead. But probably 100 minutes of play remained. So the lead was not that substantial. Border and Alderman added 61 runs in about 25 overs and saved the match. On balance I agree that this was a great draw, considering that the bowling attack was Marshall, Garner, Daniel and Small.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • jw76 on May 4, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Plenty of excellent research here. Just one thing - Match 4, Zimbabwe v England, in 1996/97. You say "the heavens opened up," which is not correct. Rain did not intervene; it was the last possible over and ball of the match.
    [[
    My mistake. There was no play after tea on the second day and not on the fifth day. I still maintain, despite Pawan's comments on Streak wides, that the four batsmen scoring 13 runs in 22 balls cost England the match.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on May 5, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    the 24 draws u picked, are they in any form of order.
    [[
    Not really. But in general, first the ties, then the 4-inns draws and then the 3-inns draws.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Viswagopaal on May 5, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Very interesting article sir . India vs australia sydney test 2003-04 came to my mind. I was hoping for india victory but aussies were batting brilliantly.Steve Waugh usually plays to win , but he had played out of his skins to force a draw.
    [[
    You would see that I have only anecdoted Tests which were very very close draws. In other words 1/2 wickets left and/or a few runs to get.
    The test you are referring to does not belong to this category. A few overs before close Australia was 338 for 4, needing only another 100 runs to win. So the odds were slightly in their favour. Then they lost two quick wickets but saved the match quite comfortably.
    An exciting match, no doubt.
    Ananth
    : ]]