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Lowest Test totals of the 21st Century

Aniket Dass
Top 5 / Top 10
6.45K   //    05 Jul 2018, 12:09 IST

Cricket has always been about a contest between bat and ball and it still is, even though the advantage has shifted towards the batsmen with heavier bats, flatter pitches, and smaller boundaries. However, that was not always the case.

In the earlier years, when the practice of covering the pitches was not a norm, pitches would often be spicy and favour the bowlers. There have been 6 totals of 40 or less in Test Cricket, and all of them came in the first 402 Test Matches. In the 88 years since there has been no total less than 40 over 1908 Test matches.

Given the shift in the balance between bat and ball, it is rare to see bowlers completely annihilate a batting order. But even in the era were scores in excess of 400 are being achieved in ODIs, there have been teams who have struggled to get past 40 in Test Matches on some occasions.

Here are the 5 lowest Test Totals observed in the 21st century.

#5 Pakistan 49 all-out vs South Africa, 2013

1st Test: South Africa v Pakistan Day 4
South Africa ran through Pakistan

Having bowled out South Africa for 253, and finished on 6 without losing a wicket on the 1st day of the series, Pakistan would have been pretty upbeat that February evening. Little did they know what Dale Steyn had in store for them the next day.

In his very first over of the day, Steyn got the ball to move away after pitching and found the outside edge of Mohammad Hafeez's blade. 9/1. The first ball of his next over, he had one come in and pinned Nasir Jamshed in front. 12/2. The very same over, Steyn got the ball to swing a mile and had Younis Khan edge one to the slips. 12/3. Pakistan's nightmare had begun.

Misbah walked out to accompany Azhar Ali, and the pair added 24 runs in 83 balls, stemming the rot. But once Kallis got rid of Azhar Ali with a snorter, the floodgates opened up once again. 36/4. Kallis returned in his next over to send Misbah packing and Philander picked up a brace in the next over with two pretty wide deliveries. 39/7.

Steyn returned after lunch and struck with the very second ball of his spell. Another outside edge, another wicket. 40/8. The first ball of his next over, he had his fifth. Caught behind once again. 41/9.

A streaky outside edge to the fence was followed by a short-ball being hammered past mid-off in the next over of Philander. Those two boundaries meant that Pakistan were now 5 runs away from avoiding the follow-on. But then, they had to either see a Steyn over through or get them off him.

The very first ball once again, Steyn produced an edge that was gobbled up in the slips. 49 all-out. Dale Steyn's figures read 8.1-6-8-6.

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Aniket Dass
Cricket crazy number nerd who has a funky fixation for alliteration and who'd love to work in association with the Gentleman's Game.
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