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5 final day performances to save a Test

When a special batting effort on the last day saved teams the ignominy of defeat.

For the purists, Test cricket is still the ultimate format of the game and can be far more entertaining than its slam-bang cousins, the ODI and T20I formats. While everyone wants to see result-oriented matches in the longest version of cricket, there are occasions when drawn Tests can be equally exciting.

This happens when the team which is due to bat on the final day of the 5-day affair is under the burden of trying to avoid suffering a loss. Many teams tend to succumb to this pressure and end up losing the game but there have been a number of instances when sides have played out the entire day and secured a draw.

Let’s take a look at 5 final day performances which helped save Test matches:


#5 Australia against England at Manchester, 2005 Ashes

Ponting batted almost the entire 5th day to ensure a draw

The 2005 Ashes series is considered to be one of the greatest to have been played between the two arch-rivals, Australia and England. With the series level at 1-1 after the first 2 Tests, the 3rd match of the series at Old Trafford was a crucial one as none of the teams wanted to lose it.

The English batted first and gained early momentum in the Test by scoring 444 in their first innings. In response, the Australians were struggling at 201 for 7 at one stage, but a fine 90 from Shane Warne helped them reach a score of 302 as the home side took a lead of 142 runs.

England batted superbly in their second innings, too, and declared at 280 for 6, giving the Aussies a little over a day to chase down 423 to win the game. The visitors ended Day 4 at 24 for no loss and required 399 more for a victory on Day 5 of the Test.

Justin Langer fell early on the final day and that brought skipper Ricky Ponting to the crease. Ponting showed great determination and kept going despite losing partners at regular intervals.

By the time he was dismissed by Andrew Flintoff for a score of 156, Australia needed to play out just 4 overs and the last wicket pair of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath managed to complete the job.

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