As England chased down 378 against India at a canter in the fifth Test at Edgbaston, The New Indian looks at 5 most stirring run-chases in Tests since 2000.
1) India vs England, Chennai (2008): Arguably the most stirring run-chase of the last 25 years and the reasons are more than just surrounding cricket. England’s team had gone to their country after Pakistan-sponsored terrorists attacked Mumbai on November 26. The horrific assault shook the conscience and confidence of the entire nation as the terrorists held the city to ransom for almost three days.
England’s team returned after a few days to play the Test match and set India a stiff target of 387 with the help of hundreds by Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood. However, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar had other plans. Sehwag, in particular, set the tone for the victory by tearing into England bowlers as he bludgeoned 83 off just 68 balls. His sabre-rattling innings included 11 boundaries and 4 sixes. Sehwag’s blistering onslaught broke the morale of bowlers and later Tendulkar also piled misery on them by scoring an unbeaten century.
The hosts reached the target at the loss of just four wickets and gave a despondent nation a reason to cheer.
2) England vs Australia, Headingley (2019): It was arguably the most dramatic and pulse-pounding Test of the last decade. There were tense moments, plentiful thrills, intrigues, human errors and jaw-dropping brilliance on display. England, who were bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, made a resounding comeback and razed down 359 to win the match by just one wicket.
Their chase was toplined by Ben Stokes who whipped out once-in-a-lifetime innings. At one stage he had scored only 2 runs off 66 balls but then he suddenly changed gears and launched a scorching assault on Australian bowlers. At one stage, he was trapped in front of stumps by the off-spinner Nathan Lyon but the umpire didn’t give him out. Unfortunately, by then Aussies had run out of their DRS turns. In the end, Stokes thrashed Pat Cummins through covers for a four to seal a memorable win.
3) West Indies vs Bangladesh, Chattogram (2021): This Test match will always be remembered for Kyle Mayers’ miraculous debut. Playing his first Test, Mayers unleashed a turbocharged double hundred in the fourth innings of the match as West Indies chased down 395 against the hosts Bangladesh. This remains the highest successful chase ever in Asia in the history of Test cricket.
Mayers unbeaten 210 was embellished with 20 boundaries and 7 sixes. He became the sixth cricketer to score a double-ton on his Test debut. Mayers also attained the accomplishment of being only the sixth cricketer to smash a double ton in the fourth innings of a Test.
4) India vs Australia, Brisbane (2021): Brisbane had been a bastion for Australia as they had not lost any Test at this venue since 1988. However, an injury-ravaged India punched above their weight and slew the giant in its backyard.
India lost their opener Rohit Sharma early in the 329-run chase but Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara cobbled up a 114-run alliance for the second wicket. After Gill was dismissed for breezy 91, Ajinkya Rahane also fell quickly. But Rishabh Pant took the centre stage and took Aussie bowlers to the cleaners. After Pujara was nipped out, Washington Sundar gave him fine support as India romped home by three wickets. Pant remained unbeaten for 89 as the visitors sealed the series 2-1.
5) England vs India, Edgbaston (2022): India were leading the series 2-1 and they must have felt their hands around the trophy when they set the hosts a target of 378. England’s highest successful fourth-innings till then was 359 against Australia at Headingley.
After their openers gave a good start, England lost three wickets quickly and were reduced to 109-3. But Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow threw pressure to the wind and unfurled a range of shots with self-assured aplomb. Bairstow, fired up by Virat Kohli’s sledging, thumped the second hundred of the match while Root continued his sterling form as both of them steered England to a seven-wicket victory.
What made this run-chase even more phenomenal is the fact that the target was chased in just 76.4 overs.