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In Case You Missed It: A thrilling finish to 2020

Our best content from the week gone by

Deepti Unni
So close it hurts: Pakistan almost clinched a famous victory over New Zealand  •  Getty Images

So close it hurts: Pakistan almost clinched a famous victory over New Zealand  •  Getty Images

Three Boxing Day Tests, three thrilling finishes - six months ago who would have imagined this embarrassment of riches to close the year out with? India went from their lowest-ever score to a legendary win in the space of one Test, Pakistan came close to beating New Zealand in their own backyard, and Sri Lanka made a heroic start against South Africa before being hobbled by a string of injuries. Catch up on everything that went down and take stock of the year that was in our cheat sheet.
Ajinkya Rahane's India wrap up famous Boxing Day victory
India banished the ghosts of #36allout to seal a clinical, concise win over Australia in the second Test, despite the loss of key personnel. The match belonged to unflappable stand-in captain Rahane, whose composed 112 anchored India's first innings and guided them to a quietly confident win. Australia, on the other hand, come into the third Test with a number of questions about their batting order - Joe Burns is out, but do they play a still recovering David Warner? Should Marcus Harris come in?
Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla impress as South Africa bowlers seal innings win
Sri Lanka came out all guns blazing in their first innings, racing to 369, their highest innings score against South Africa, before losing nearly half their players to injuries in the course of the match. South Africa then racked up a massive 621 against a depleted attack, with Faf du Plessis contributing 199, his highest Test score, before the bowlers brought it home. It was a win South Africa needed, and a victory they're savouring like one of their best says Firdose Moonda, even if it hasn't come against a full-strength Sri Lankan side.
New Zealand wrap up dramatic win despite epic Fawad Alam-Mohammad Rizwan stand
A thrilling first Test went down to the wire on the final day as New Zealand clinched victory with 4.3 overs remaining. Neil Wagner, bowling with two broken toes, and Kyle Jamieson broke through Pakistan's heroic resistance. Despite the loss it was vindication for Fawad Alam whose Test century came more than 11 years after his last one, and who has often been overlooked despite scoring more runs than anyone else on the Pakistan first-class circuit.
Women's T20 Challenge 2020 logs 'record-breaking viewership', 147% rise in viewing minutes
The 2020 edition of the Women's T20 Challenge (WT20C) logged 5.34 billion minutes in viewership in India - a rise of 2.45 times over the 2019 edition. As many as 105 million unique viewers tuned into the three-team competition as opposed to last season's 71 million. But even as the numbers proved that women's cricket is gaining in popularity, the BCCI has postponed India women's tour of Australia scheduled for January, which effectively means they have played no cricket since March 2020.
The summer when apartheid set English cricket aflame
Alan Gardner reviews Barbed Wire and Cucumber Sandwiches - a book that looks back to 50 years ago, and the protests against South Africa's 1970 tour of England.
Farewell, Jackers
As a commentator, Robin Jackman, who died last week, gave viewers a sense of friendship both with the man who was talking to them and the game that was his metier. He will be missed, says Mark Nicholas.
The year in review
As the curtains came down on one of the strangest years for sport, and life, ESPNcricinfo's writers looked back to take stock of 2020. Sambit Bal says 2020 made us fall in love with cricket all over again. Mark Nicholas says it was a miracle that cricket happened at all, and revisits the events of the year through the cricket matches he played.
How did England, Ireland, Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand and women's cricket fare this year?. Find out in our first batch of team report cards for the year. Our staff also picked their XIs of the year. How closely did you follow cricket in 2020? Take Steven Lynch's end-of-year quiz and find out.

Deepti Unni is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo