New Zealand Gets Shot Out For 26:
A combination of factors led to New Zealand subsiding for the lowest score in Test Match history in Auckland in 1955. Conditions seemed normal in the first two innings of the match, as New Zealand battled to a competitive score of 200, and England replied with 246, taking a small lead. England looked set to score more, but a heavy shower in the era of uncovered pitches made the pitch difficult to bat on, and the lower order failed to capitalize on the platform set by the batsmen.
Nobody could have predicted the response: New Zealand batted for more overs than they scored runs, as the legendary new ball attack of Frank Tyson and Brian Statham tore through the top order, only for the lower order to completely fail against the left-arm spin of Appleyard when the quicks were given a rest. England came out with one of cricket’s most unlikely innings victories.
India Falters at the Home of Cricket:
I’ve been told that if you utter the number ‘42’ to an Indian cricket fan of the correct vintage, they are immediately filled with a pang of dread; that was the score India finished with against England at Lord’s in 1974, India’s lowest ever Test score. The English had essentially run away with the game by posting a mammoth 629 in the first innings, and made India follow-on after they ended with 302.
Perhaps it was the inevitability of defeat which led to a break in concentration, but the Indian batsmen fell like dominoes, with an air of doom and inevitability to the swing and seam of Arnold and Old. Eknath Solkar bashed 18 of 17 balls, pushing India past the lowest ever score in Test cricket, remaining not out and dazed with the wreckage around him.
Australia Self-Destructs at Newlands:
One of the great Test matches. There is something in the air at Newlands, perhaps it is a wind from the sea, but there are passages of play when the bowling is utterly unplayable. The movement isn’t exaggerated or random, but it seems that every ball does something. It was clear that it wasn’t the most batting friendly pitch when Australia batted first, but one man, Michael Clarke, made it look easy. In a total of 284, he cracked 151 of the purest runs you will ever see. In response, his innings was made to look like a career height when Ryan Harris and Shane Watson got the ball to jag in sharply off a good length, tearing through the top order with four and five wickets respectively.
South Africa was bowled out for 96, and many would have written them off, but their pack of fast bowlers had seen Australia take advantage of the conditions, and were ready to do the same. A combination of poor shot selection, half-baked techniques, and masterful bowling led by debutant Vernon Philander sent Australia spiraling to a 21-9, only to be propped up by some late strokeplay by Lyon and Siddle. Amla and Smith then slammed hundreds as South Africa, buoyed by the dominance of their bowling display, ran down the tricky target of 236 at almost five an over.
Broad Sends Australia Packing:
Stuart Broad has made his name from his sudden, inspired spells which win a match in a session. With the Ashes in the balance, he found the perfect length and a damp Trent Bridge pitch after England chose to bowl first. Australia’s top order, accustomed to ransacking tired bowlers on flat roads down under, found their techniques taken apart by an incisive Broad, who ended with incredible figures of 8-15. Australia was bowled out for 60, and the Ashes were lost in a morning.
image source; Australia Cricket Twitter