Five of the Best: Test Matches from the Last Decade

Cheering crowds of England cricket supporters at Headingley in 2019

For the most hardcore cricket fans, the debate over which format of cricket is best is a frustrating one, when clearly nothing compares to test matches.

The emergence of T20’s and the progression of ODI’s has meant that newer fans of the game are more interested in the shorter formats.

However, test cricket offers up drama and tension like no other.

A single match taking place over a possible five days could seem tedious but it provides multiple ups and downs you won’t see anywhere else.

Over the last decade, test cricket has seen some of the best matches of all time and here are five of the best:

5. England v Australia – 4th Test in 2010

English cricket players dancing the sprinkler in celebration

England went Down Under at the beginning of the decade after regaining The Ashes the previous year.

Before the beginning of the series, this was tipped to be one of the closest Ashes series in Australia for years, with the Aussies often dominating.

The Boxing Day test began with the series at 1-1; England were far superior in the first two tests but struggled in Perth.

Australia were bowled out for just 98 in their first innings and England ended their perfect first day with a lead of 59 without losing a wicket.

England went on to score 513 thanks to Jonathan Trott and ended up winning by an innings and 157 to retain The Ashes in the Aussies back yard.

4. Pakistan v Sri Lanka – 3rd Test in 2014

Pakistan test cricket team pose for a photo with a trophy

Four days of this test match were not the best advertisements for test cricket, with the game seemingly drifting out to a draw.

Sri Lanka scored 428 in their first innings at a slow run rate of just over 2 runs per over.

Pakistan fell 87 runs short of their first innings total but bounced back and bowled Sri Lanka out for just 214, giving the hosts a target of 302.

The problem? They had just 60 overs to chase down the total.

With Pakistan down 1-0 with just this test remaining, they went all out for the win and it paid off.

Pakistan emphatically chased the runs down in just 57 overs thanks to a brilliant century by Azhar Ali and quickfire runs by Sarfaraz Ahmed and Misbah-ul-Haq.

3. South Africa v India – 1st Test in 2013

South African cricketers celebrate taking a wicket against Indian in 2012

As with the Pakistan v Sri Lanka test match, it looked as if this one would be heading for a draw.

After the first innings, India had a lead of just 36 but Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli piled on the first in India’s second innings.

The visitors set South Africa a total of 458 to win, which would have been a world record chase.

The Proteas lost two late wickets at the end of day four and many would have thought they’d attempt to play out for a draw.

However, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers put on an incredible 205 for the fifth wicket.

By the time both were dismissed, South Africa needed just 16 runs from 19 balls.

To the bemusement of every supporter, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander blocked the last three overs to see out a thrilling draw.

2. South Africa v Sri Lanka – 1st Test in 2019

Sri Lankan cricketers celebrate taking a wicket against South Africa in 2019

Arguably one of the greatest test innings to have ever been played.

Sri Lanka were one of the most impressive test teams back a few years, however declined dramatically late in the decade.

Many predicted they would only be playing for pride in South Africa after a drubbing in Australia.

Chasing 304 for victory in the first test, they were 206-5 at one stage before they lost four quick wickets.

At 226-9, the game seemed all but over. However, Kusal Perera smashed the Proteas bowlers across all parts to score 153 not out and dramatically saw Sri Lanka over the line.

Perera could also thank Vishwa Fernando who stuck around at the other end.

1. England v Australia – 3rd Test in 2019

Ben Stokes celebrates scoring the winning runs for England versus Australia in 2019

Another contender for greatest test innings to have ever been played.

England were in all sorts of trouble after being dismissed for just 67 and The Ashes seemed all but lost.

Even without Steve Smith due to concussion, the Aussies set England 359 to win which looked impossible with their fragile batting line-up.

Thanks to Joe Denly and Joe Root, England had slight hope but neither could capitalise on a good start.

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow got England down to just 117 to win and with just four wickets down, the fans were dreaming.

However, in typical England fashion, a batting collapse commenced, leaving England needing 73 to win with just one wicket left.

Stokes, such as Perera did for Sri Lanka, smashed the bowlers to all parts including an incredible switch hit for six.

After hitting the winning runs through the covers, Headingley erupted and fans have fond memories of that day and Jack Leach cleaning his glasses will forever be iconic.

Jordan is a journalism graduate with a background in sports journalism covering football across a number of online publications, who now works in Gibraltar producing content for Mansion.
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