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Five most thrilling Test draws of the last decade

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5.21K   //    09 Aug 2017, 00:54 IST

1st Test: South Africa v India, Day 5
Remarkably, both teams gave up on a win with South Africa needing 16 off 3.1 overs

The charm that the longest format of cricket brings not only comprises the stern test of skill and character of 22 players, but also the unique quality of producing drawn games full of excitement and pleasure – often matches whose fate is decided by the final ball on the fifth day.

Many humdingers have taken place ever since Test cricket, the most engrossing form of the game, has been formed, with matches even decided by bad light – the final Ashes Test in England in 2013 – and poor weather – the Cape Town Test between South Africa and England in 2016, where rain had its share in ensuring an abruptly interesting game ended in a draw.

Here we list some nail-biting draws that have taken place in the previous decade.

#5 South Africa vs India: Johannesburg, 2013

India 280 & 421 drew with South Africa 244 & 450/7

Having lost the three-match ODI series 0-2 – one game was washed out – India were eager to hit back on a tour that had given them nothing but disappointment. MS Dhoni elected to bat on a Wanderers pitch expected to provide good pace and bounce.

A young Virat Kohli, who hit 119, remained the only hefty contributor as India folded for 280, with the accurate Vernon Philander picking 4/61. In return, the hosts fell short of a modest opposition score to themselves make only 244, with Ishant Sharma and the returning Zaheer Khan snaring four scalps each, as captain Graeme Smith top-scored with 68.

With a paltry first-innings lead in India’s pocket, two emerging batsmen in Kohli and Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara strung together the joint-highest partnership by an Indian pair in South Africa. They added 222 for the third wicket as Pujara smashed 153 and Kohli fell short of another ton by just four runs. India were eventually bowled out for 421, setting the Proteas 458 to win in 136 overs.

From a stable 108/0, South Africa sniffed defeat when the scoreboard read 197/4, with India having 75 overs to take the remaining wickets. But the grit of centurions AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis consumed 62 of those, as they added 205 for the fifth wicket. With 16 to get in 3.1 overs and the tail exposed, remarkably, both teams gave up on a win, setting their sights on the final Test of the series.

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A childhood cricket enthusiast, my earliest cricket memory goes back to the 2003 World Cup, when I was 7. With a hobby of cricket commentary and writing from my early days, I earned an invitation for employment by aged only 20, and have also had the opportunity to interact with the great analyst Harsha Bhogle.
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