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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

When 42 Test wickets fell on a day

On January 28, there was a glut of wickets in three Tests being played in Adelaide, Abu Dhabi and Napier. We look at more such days, filled with wickets and runs

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

February 1, 2012

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Chris Martin sees off Brendan Taylor, New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Only Test, Napier, 3rd day, January 28, 2012
Chris Martin took eight of the 22 wickets to fall in Napier on January 28 © Getty Images
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If you are the sort of person who likes seeing wickets fall you'd have had a good time watching the cricket on January 28. It was the final day of the Adelaide Test, the fourth of the Abu Dhabi Test and the third of the Napier Test, and bowlers were raising hell everywhere. Australia's attack mopped up the Indian tail, taking 4 for 35 to complete a 4-0 whitewash; England claimed 6 for 89 against Pakistan, after which they imploded for 72; and New Zealand, after losing 2 for 103 and declaring, razed Zimbabwe twice - for 51 and 143. Never before had so many Test wickets - 42 - fallen on a day across the world.

December 28, 1996 was the third day of Boxing Day Tests in Melbourne, Durban and Harare. Forty Test wickets fell on that day. The match at the MCG went no further as West Indies lost their last first-innings wicket for 22 runs, bowled out Australia for 122 in their second innings, and lost four wickets during their successful chase of 87. The Kingsmead Test also hurtled to a finish with South Africa losing 6 for 95 in their second innings and, having set India a target of 395, demolishing them for 66. India had earlier been dismissed for 100 in the first innings. They lasted 73.2 overs in total. In Harare, Zimbabwe collapsed from 110 for 2 to 215, taking a lead of only 59 when they could have got much more. England were 17 for 1 at stumps, and would go on to reach 195 for 3 before rain and a wet outfield ruined the game.

March 21, 1998, which is at No. 4 in the table below because it had 36 wickets, was the first time four Tests were played on a day. India beat Australia at Eden Gardens; South Africa played Sri Lanka at Newlands; Zimbabwe and Pakistan squared off in Harare; and West Indies hosted England at the Rec, in the sixth match of the last six-match series in Test cricket. New Zealand were the only team chilling. They were playing Pakistan in Auckland the next time four Tests happened on a day, on March 11, 2001. India were playing Australia at Eden Gardens again, the start of one of the most memorable of Tests. Four Tests have never been played on a day since.

Most Test wickets on a day
Date Mat Runs Wkts List
28 Jan 2012 3 493 42 Aus v India 35/4, Eng v Pak 161/16, NZ v Zim 297/22
28 Dec 1996 3 531 40 Aus v WI 231/15, SA v India 161/16, Zim v Eng 139/9
24 Nov 1990 3 568 38 Aus v Eng 192/13, India v SL 143/12, Pak v WI 233/13
21 Mar 1998 4 904 36 India v Aus 143/9, SA v SL 249/9, WI v Eng 217/8, Zim v Pak 295/10
29 Nov 1998 3 559 36 Aus v Eng 216/12, Pak v Zim 193/14, SA v WI 150/10
17 Mar 2001 3 793 36 NZ v Pak 276/4, SL v Eng 229/22, WI v SA 288/10
10 Nov 2002 3 641 36 Aus v Eng 264/12, SA v SL 138/13, Zim v Pak 239/11
19 Dec 2004 3 748 36 Aus v Pak 54/9, Ban v India 397/16, SA v Eng 297/11
16 Dec 2006 3 1039 36 Aus v Eng 427/5, NZ v SL 289/11, SA v India 323/20
28 Oct 2004 3 759 33 Ban v NZ 310/15, India v Aus 241/8, Pak v SL 208/10
23 Nov 1996 3 650 32 Aus v WI 258/7, India v SA 123/13, Pak v NZ 269/12
28 Feb 1998 3 675 32 NZ v Zim 296/11, SA v Pak 211/8, WI v Eng 168/13
29 Dec 1998 3 751 32 Aus v Eng 341/18, NZ v India 250/11, SA v WI 160/3
28 Dec 1999 3 667 32 Aus v India 308/14, NZ v WI 176/8, SA v Eng 183/10
23 Feb 1986 3 604 31 NZ v Aus 241/4, SL v Pak 167/14, WI v Eng 196/13
17 Nov 2001 3 657 31 Ban v Zim 209/9, SA v India 307/13, SL v WI 141/9
19 Mar 2004 3 878 31 NZ v SA 266/11, SL v Aus 423/12, WI v Eng 189/8
26 Dec 1996 3 622 30 Aus v WI 248/11, SA v India 237/10, Zim v Eng 137/9
3 Jan 1999 3 725 30 Aus v Eng 233/10, NZ v India 279/10, SA v WI 213/10
3 Dec 2001 3 731 30 Aus v NZ 325/11, India v Eng 262/11, SL v WI 144/8

December 16, 2006 was a pretty action-packed day. It had 36 wickets, the fourth best for a day, and 1039 runs, the second highest number of runs. There were only three Tests played too. The bulk of the runs were scored in Perth, where Adam Gilchrist's 102 off 59 balls helped Australia amass 408 for 4 against England in a day. In Wellington*, it was relatively more balanced between bat and ball, with New Zealand and Sri Lanka scoring 289 runs for 11 wickets. At the Wanderers, however, the bowlers lorded it. India lost their last five first-innings wickets and their first five second-innings wickets for 239, and South Africa were shot out for 84 in between.

In comparison to those wicket-filled days, November 15, 2010 was so dreary. On flat pitches in Hyderabad, Dubai and Galle, a total of 923 runs were scored and only nine wickets fell. New Zealand and India made 273 for 5, Pakistan and South Africa scored 288 for 2, and a Chris Gayle-inspired West Indies made 362 for 2 against Sri Lanka.

Most Test runs on a day
Date Mat Runs Wkts List
28 Dec 2001 3 1086 24 Aus v SA 361/9, NZ v Ban 336/11, SL v Zim 389/4
16 Dec 2006 3 1039 36 Aus v Eng 427/5, NZ v SL 289/11, SA v India 323/20
1 Mar 2009 3 1008 19 Pak v SL 317/4, SA v Aus 334/11, WI v Eng 357/4
12 Mar 2005 3 991 17 India v Pak 324/4, NZ v Aus 300/7, SA v Zim 367/6
5 Jan 2008 3 970 19 Aus v India 269/4, NZ v Ban 349/6, SA v WI 352/9
11 Mar 2001 4 956 23 India v Aus 291/8, NZ v Pak 343/3, SL v Eng 70/3, WI v SA 252/9
27 Dec 2003 3 956 21 Aus v India 354/9, NZ v Pak 267/7, SA v WI 335/5
13 Dec 2003 3 945 25 Aus v India 336/9, SA v WI 280/8, SL v Eng 329/8
12 Dec 2003 3 938 15 Aus v India 400/5, SA v WI 368/3, SL v Eng 170/7
19 Oct 2002 3 923 21 Aus v Pak 298/3, India v WI 312/9, SA v Ban 313/9
15 Nov 2010 3 923 9 India v NZ 273/5, Pak v SA 288/2, SL v WI 362/2
11 Mar 2005 3 917 30 India v Pak 326/10, NZ v Aus 309/10, SA v Zim 282/10
11 Mar 2004 3 915 23 NZ v SA 282/8, SL v Aus 322/6, WI v Eng 311/9
18 Dec 2004 3 915 21 Aus v Pak 364/6, Ban v India 260/11, SA v Eng 291/4
21 Mar 1998 4 904 36 India v Aus 143/9, SA v SL 249/9, WI v Eng 217/8, Zim v Pak 295/10
4 Dec 2009 3 896 30 Aus v WI 336/6, India v SL 294/8, NZ v Pak 266/16
9 Nov 2002 3 890 27 Aus v Eng 278/10, SA v SL 327/7, Zim v Pak 285/10
2 Jan 1999 3 887 17 Aus v Eng 322/10, NZ v India 283/5, SA v WI 282/2
19 Mar 2004 3 878 31 NZ v SA 266/11, SL v Aus 423/12, WI v Eng 189/8
26 Nov 2009 3 874 28 Aus v WI 322/5, India v SL 220/13, NZ v Pak 332/10

The day with the most runs and wickets in ODIs, and the day with the most runs and wickets across formats, is the same - February 4, 2007. There were six one-dayers that day, one in Melbourne, three in Nairobi, one in Harare and one in Centurion. A total of 3119 runs were scored and 88 wickets fell.

*February 1, 2012, 6.50GMT: The New Zealand v Sri Lanka 2006-07 Test was played in Wellington and not Dunedin as was written. This has been corrected

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Venkatb on (February 3, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

The 42 could well have been 48 had Australia batted a little longer on day 4 and left India to bat it out on Day 5!

Posted by MrKricket on (February 2, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

I wonder what's the LONGEST that Test cricket has been played over concurrent Tests in different time zones? Can it overlap if there's a Test in the Windies, NZ, Australia and India perchance?

Posted by Puffin on (February 1, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

it seems December is a good month to witness mayhem of one sort or another.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 22:29 GMT)

The E vs WI series in 1998 only went to six matches because of the abadonment in in the first game in Jamaica.

The last planned six match series was the previous summer between England & Australia in England where A won 3-2

Posted by stormy16 on (February 1, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

This is a love or hate analysis - for me its a pointless exercise. Doesnt really tell one much other than coincidents.

Posted by hussainD on (February 1, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Other similarities:

January 28 was the day on which three tests concluded - each in a result - prematurely. At least 4 sessions remaining in each of the three tests.

All three results also ensured that the winning team maintained a 100% record in the series. Aussies completing the whitewash; Pak taking a 2-0 lead and on track for a whitewash; and the Kiwis winning the one-off test.

And thirdly, in all three concluded matches, the man of the match was a bowler; Martin (NZ), Rehman (Pak) and Siddle (Aus).

Too bad Siddle didn't take 6 wickets in India's final demolition - or else another would have be added when in each of the three tests, the man-of-the-match performance was a 6-wicket haul by the winning team's bowler.

I bet this is without precedence. Or is it, I Ask Steve

Posted by G-Wyll on (February 1, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Incredible, Donda's awful reductionist attitude. Only 8 test playing nations in the world? So you want to take Test cricket back to the medieval ages just because a team playing their first test overseas in seven years had a batting collapse? Too many wickets in a day means good NZ bowling mate, as well as bad batting, i'm sick of our awesome, democratic, talented and free country being underrated by people who can't hold a bat, because we're considered 'small'. We are rising, are you worried Donda? Maybe your team might not be in the top 8 in a year or two, considered that? Of course you haven't.

I welcome Ireland to test status in the next few years, and in maybe 50 years, we can see the growth of the most beautiful game on earth with new test teams from the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Kenya, the USA, Central Africa and Canada. T20 is injecting money and therefore class into these areas, unfortunately Donda, it is you and only you who shows no respect.

Posted by ajithpraveen on (February 1, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

i don't know how u guys find this and makes a list. really a cricket genies.....

Posted by Cricinfo-Editorial on (February 1, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

Thanks to SachTLG for pointing out the error in the venue of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka 2006-07 Test. This has been corrected from Dunedin to Wellington

Posted by 9ST9 on (February 1, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

I think on 16 dec 2006 SL and NZ played in Wellington as opposed to Dunedin as mentioned here.

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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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