3 times England drew a Test match with just 1 wicket remaining

James Anderson and Stuart Broad battled late on to help their side secure a draw in Sydney.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad battled late on to help their side secure a draw in Sydney.

Rain and some obstinate batting from Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and the tail ensured that England hung on for a draw in the pink Ashes Test in Sydney. It was the kind of day in which Test cricket's unmatched qualities came out for one and all to see.

The drama was tense when Steve Smith picked up Jack Leach’s wicket as Joe Root's side had two more overs to survive in the fading lights of Sydney. But the Three Lions' legendary bowling duo of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad hung around for those 12 balls.

The SCG crowd was boisterously egging on the home team, with Australia placing fielders all around the bat but Anderson and Broad hung on. The match was drawn as the visitors salvaged some pride out of what has been a dismal Ashes tour so far.

This wasn’t the first time England have hung on to a draw on Day 5 with just one wicket remaining. There have been over 12 instances of this happening in the Three Lions' illustrious Test cricket history.

In this article, we look at three matches from the 21st century that England managed to draw with just one wicket remaining.

#3 England vs New Zealand - Auckland - 2013

England were set a target of 481 to win in a little over four sessions by New Zealand back in 2013. With a steep task at hand, the Three Lions began with a defensive mindset, led by Alastair Cook and Ian Bell’s blockathons.

But New Zealand kept chipping away to leave Alaistar Cook's side at 90/4 in the 53rd over. The batting side also went on to lose important wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow either side of lunch, leaving the score at 159/6. Close to 60 overs were still left in the day’s play.

That’s when Matt Prior walked into bat and took a different approach to his peers. While Bell and Stuart Broad were blocking everything thrown at them at the other end, Prior started counter-attacking the disciplined New Zealand bowling. He raced to a century, one of the most definitive innings of his career, and held the fort down.

But with 3.1 overs remaining, they lost their ninth wicket as Monty Panesar joined Prior in the middle. Panesar faced just five of the 19 remaining balls, and the Three Lions managed to scrape through with a draw. They denied New Zealand a series win at home in Test cricket against their opponents since 1983-84.

#2 England vs South Africa - Centurion - 2009

Former Three Lions all-rounder Paul Collingwood.
Former Three Lions all-rounder Paul Collingwood.

A target of 364 in 96 overs was always going to be a tough chase. And it became a lot tougher when England lost their first three wickets for just 27 in 18.2 overs.

Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott were then involved in a handy partnership as they scored 145 runs together in a little over 45 overs. But the Three Lions went into defensive mode once again after South Africa got rid of Pietersen.

Paul Collingwood and Trott played attritional cricket, minimizing risks and drying up the runs, with a firm focus on attaining a draw. Things got tougher as Friedel de Wet, Morne Morkel and Paul Harris chipped in with wickets at regular intervals.

Here too, they lost their ninth wicket with 3.1 overs to go and Graham Onions joined Paul Collingwood in the middle.

Collingwood almost lost the match for England as he let Onions keep strike for the last over which was bowled by Makhaya Ntini. The tailender, who has an FC Cricket average of just 12, looked out of sorts but showed incredible composure and a straight bat to block the six balls thrown at him.

England escaped with a draw, keeping the series alive.

#1 England vs Australia - Cardiff - 2009

This is perhaps England’s greatest escape in Test cricket so far. The Three Lions were battling an innings defeat after Australia posted a mammoth 674/6d in their first innings.

Centuries from Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting, Marcus North, and Brad Haddin left Andrew Strauss' side in an extremely difficult situation. With a win out of the equation, the hosts had 105 overs to survive and draw the Test.

Paul Collingwood played one of the best knocks of his cricket career as he spent close to six hours in the middle for his obstinate 74. However, things turned bleak when England lost their ninth wicket for 233 in the 94th over, with over 11 overs left in the Day’s play.

Monty Panesar joined Jimmy Anderson at the crease, both classic No.11 batsmen.


With the skies going dark, Australia weren’t able to bowl Peter Siddle for long and the last five overs were bowled by Hauritz and Marcus North. The unlikely pair of No.10 and 11 survived in what was a great story for the whole of Test cricket.

They batted long enough to ensure that there wasn’t time for Australia to come back and chase the mini 5-10 run target they would have eventually been set. It was an Ashes classic that kept the series alive.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman