In a historic turn of events, India rewrote the annals of cricket history by clinching a seven-wicket victory over hosts South Africa at Newlands, leveling the Test series at 1-1. The riveting clash unfolded with India successfully chasing down an easy target of 79 runs, securing the win after losing three wickets. This extraordinary showdown marked the shortest-ever Test match completed in the history of cricket, requiring only 642 balls (107 overs) to reach its conclusion, surpassing Australia’s 656-ball (109.2 overs) triumph over South Africa in 1932.
In the shortest Test match in the history of cricket, the hosts batted first and managed to score only 55 runs in their first innings. In reply India was 153 for the loss of 4 wickets, suddenly the visitors found themselves all out for the same amount of runs in a matter of 11 balls. In the second innings, the Proteas scored 176 runs, giving a target of 78 runs to India’s win. India chased the target down for the loss of 3 wickets.
The 1932 encounter between South Africa and Australia at Melbourne witnessed a historic low for the Proteas, as they posted their lowest Test scores. The first innings saw South Africa dismissed for a paltry 36 runs in 23.2 overs, with Bert Ironmonger delivering an exceptional bowling performance, claiming figures of 5/6. Australia’s decisive score of 153 led to a victory by an innings and 72 runs. South Africa struggled once more in their second innings, being all out for just 45 runs in 31.3 overs, culminating in a match completed in a mere 109.2 overs.
Fast forward to 1935, the Test match between West Indies and England in Bridgetown endured heavy rain, limiting the play to 112 overs. West Indies batted first, managing 102 runs in 47 overs, with Ken Farms taking 4/40. England, responding to adverse pitch conditions, declared at 81/7. The hosts, making a bold declaration at 51/6 in 19 overs, set England a target of 75, ultimately chased down successfully despite losing six wickets in their fourth innings.
In a distant cricketing era, the 1888 Test match between England and Australia in Manchester stretched over 788 balls (131.3 overs). Rain before the first day’s play set the stage, with England making 172 and Australia 32-2 on day one. However, a sunny turn of events dried the wet surface, leading to Australia’s downfall as they were bowled out for 81 and 72, succumbing to left-arm spinner Bobby Peel’s prowess (7-31 and 4-37) on the challenging pitch conditions.
As the cricketing world reflects on this historic clash between India and South Africa, the brevity of the match underscores its uniqueness. It solidifies its place in the sport’s captivating history.