5 Shortest Tests in cricket history, including recently-concluded SA vs IND Cape Town Test

The second and last Test of the two-match series between South Africa and India at the Newlands in Cape Town ended within four and a half sessions of the game.

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Mathew K
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South Africa vs India, Cape Town Test, 2024 (File Photo: Twitter)

South Africa vs India, Cape Town Test, 2024 (File Photo: Twitter)

The recently-concluded second and last Test of the three-match series between South Africa and India made it to the history books of cricket, but that might not sound very pleasing for cricket fans around the world. Both teams played this match at the Newlands in Cape Town, which started on January 3, 2024.

But this Test ended just on the second day of the match, with 33 wickets falling within a total of 464 runs across all four innings of the match. 

With that said, here we’ll have a look at the shortest Test matches in terms of the balls bowled, ever played in the 147-year-long history of the game since 1877. 

England vs Australia, 1888, Lord’s (792 balls)

This famous Lord’s Test is still recorded in the history books for the highest number of wickets falling on a single day. There was a fall of 27 wickets on the second day of the match. After bundling out England at the score of 116 runs on the first day; subsequently, England lost their 3 wickets at the score of 18 runs at the time of stumps.

Later, on the second day, the hosts faced a drastic collapse and lost 7 wickets just at the score of 26 runs and they hardly managed to get a total of 53 runs. In the fourth innings of the game, England were given a target of 124 runs by Australia; the three lions collapsed once again and now from 29-0 to all out for 62 and lost the match, the match ended just within a period of 792 balls.

England vs Australia, 1888, Manchester (788 balls)

Just one and a half months later, England and Australia took on each other in Manchester in another shortest Test match. England were all out on 172 on the first day followed by Australia's 32 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Still, furthermore, England bundled Australia on 81 runs on the second day, followed by bundling them out at another double-digit score of 72 runs to win the match. 

West Indies vs England, 1934-35, Bridgetown (672 balls)

This Test match is also known as the ‘declaration’ Test, which was quite a bit of fashion in the times of pitches that weren’t covered amidst the rains or bad weather. West Indies got all-out at 102 runs. Later, England declared their first innings at the score of 81 runs for the loss of 7 wickets, with West Indies having a lead of 21 runs.

Furthermore, in the second innings, the hosts also stunned everyone by declaring their second innings at the score of 51 runs for the loss of 6 wickets to set a target of 73 runs for England; subsequently, England were also in trouble at one stage after losing six wickets. But eventually, Wally Hammond made things easy for England to get them over the line.

Australia vs South Africa, 1932-33, Melbourne (656 balls)

Australia were taking on South Africa almost 92 years back from now in the 1932-33 session at the MCG in Melbourne. Australia also played without having their key players like Sir Don Bradman and Clarrie Grimmett. South Africa were bowled out on 36 and 45 in both innings and lost the match drastically as Australia had scored 153 runs in their first innings in response to SA’s 36.

South Africa vs India, 2024, Cape Town (642 balls)

With the recently-concluded Cape Town Test between South Africa and India, the record of the shortest Test ever played in the game's history has now been broken after 92 years since the last one was played between Australia and South Africa in Melbourne in 1932. 

Indian pace attack bundled the hosts at the score of 55 runs in the first innings followed by the collapse-forced all-out at the score of 153, with a lead of 98 runs. Subsequently, on the back of Aiden Markram’s well-fought century, the Proteas managed to set a target of 79 runs for India, scoring 176 runs in the second innings. India comfortably chased down the target and the match ended with only 107 overs bowled in it. 

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