In the recently concluded Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which in the end Pakistan comfortably won by 8 wickets, the third day of the test match proved out to be a total deviation from the previous day as Pakistan cruised to an easy 8 wicket victory after Razzaq got Muralitharan caught by Umar Gul with the next ball (5 th) of the over he continued from the previous day. Since Jayasuriya was not available to bat because of the injury, Sri Lanka was all out for 73 and set a target of 183 runs which everybody at that time thought would be very difficult for Pakistan. Pakistan just lost two wickets in the process of achieving that target there by proving all cricket pundits wrong. No one thought it would be such a cakewalk for Pakistan after seeing 20 wickets fall the previous day.
On day two, Sri Lanka resuming their overnight score of 267/8 was bowled out immediately without offering any further resistance in just 3.2 overs for 279. Then came the Drama with Muralitharan, playing his 103rd Test Match produced a deadly spell and took his 51st five wicket haul in a Test innings which helped SL to bowl out Pakistan under 53 overs for just 170 runs. Surely, at that point they must have thought that they would be clinching the match and there by the Test Series. But Mohammed Asif who took 6 wickets in the Sri Lanka’s 1st innings had other thoughts and reduced Sri Lanka to 73/8 by close of 2nd day’s play by taking 5 more wickets with Abdul Razzaq chipping in with other 3 wickets.
Altogether 20 wickets fell in a fascinating day’s play, thus providing a very rare occasion of 20 wickets falling in a single day’s play of a Test match. This provided just 26th instance in 1796 test matches played till today. Following is the list of all such instances with a hyper link to the test matches , day of the test , scores progression and the number of wickets fallen in that order.
1. Test # 0009 Eng Vs Aus The Oval 1882 Aug 28th-29th 1st (Eng 63 , Aus 101) 20 W
2. Test # 0009 Eng Vs Aus The Oval 1882 Aug 28th-29th 2nd (Eng 122 ,Aus 77) 20 W
3. Test # 0028 Eng Vs Aus Lord’s 1888 Jul 16th -17th 2nd (Eng 18/3 to 53 AO, Aus 60, Eng 62) 27 W
4. Test # 0031 SA Vs Eng Port Elizabeth 1889 Mar 12th-13th 1st (SA 84, Eng 148) 20 W
5. Test # 0034 Eng Vs Aus The Oval 1890 Aug 11th-12th 1st (Aus 92, Eng 100, Aus 5/2) 22 W
6. Test # 0043 Aus Vs Eng Melbourne 1894 Dec 29th-Jan 3rd 1st (Eng 75,Aus 123) 20 W
7. Test # 0047 SA Vs Eng Port Elizabeth 1896 Feb 13th-14th 1st (Eng 185, SA 93, Eng 0/1) 21 W
8. Test # 0052 Eng Vs Aus The Oval 1896 Aug 10th-12th 2nd (Eng 69/1 to 145 AO, Aus 119, Eng 60/5) 24 W
9. Test #0066 Aus Vs Eng Melbourne 1902 Jan 1st-4th 1st (Aus 112, Eng 61, Aus 48/5) 25 W
10. Test #0094 Eng Vs SA Leeds 1907 Jul 29th-31st 1st (Eng 76, SA 110) 20 W
11. Test #0095 Eng Vs SA The Oval 1907 Aug 19th-21st 3rd (SA 149/5 to 178 AO,Eng 138, SA 159/5) 20 W
12. Test #0101 Eng Vs Aus Birmingham 1909 May 27th-29th 2nd (Aus 74,Eng 121, Aus 67/2) 22 W
13. Test #0104 Eng Vs Aus Manchester 1909 Jul 26th-28th 1st (Aus 147, Eng 119) 20 W
14. Test #0128 Eng Vs SA The Oval 1912 Aug 12th-13th 1st (SA 95, Eng 176) 20 W
15. Test #0201 Aus Vs WI Sydney 1931 Jan 1st-5th 3rd (Aus 323/4 to 369 AO, WI 107 & 67/5 ) 21 W
16. Test #0216 Aus Vs SA Melbourne 1932 Feb 12th-15th 1st (SA 36, Aus 153, SA 5/1) 21W
17. Test #0327 Aus Vs Eng Brisbane 1950 Dec 1st-5th 3rd (Eng 68/7 decl, Aus 32/7 decl, Eng 30/6) 20 W
18. Test #0343 Aus Vs WI Adelaide 1951 Dec 22nd-25th 1st (Aus 82, WI 105, Aus 20/2) 22 W
19. Test #0353 Eng Vs Ind Manchester 1952 Jul 17th-19th 3rd (Eng 292/7 to - 347/9 decl, Ind 58 & 82) 22 W
20. Test #0620 Eng Vs Ind Birmingham 1967 Jul 13th –15th 2nd (Ind 9/0 to 92 AO, Eng 203) 20 W
21. Test #1503 Eng Vs WI Lord’s 2000 Jun 29th – Jul 3rd 2nd (WI 267/9 to 267 AO, Eng 134, WI 54) 21 W
22. Test #1537 SL Vs Eng Colombo(SSC) 2001 Mar 15th- 19th 3rd (Eng 175/4 to 249 AO, SL 81, Eng 74/6) 22 W
23. Test #1633 NZ Vs Ind Hamilton 2002 Dec 19th-23rd 3rd (Ind 92/9 to 99 AO, NZ 94, Ind 154, NZ 24/0) 21 W
24. Test #1720 Ind Vs Aus Mumbai 2004 Nov 3rd-7th 3rd (Ind 5/0 to 205, Aus 93) 20 W
25. Test #1759 Zim Vs NZ Harare 2005 Aug 7th-11th 2nd (Zim 59 & 99) 20 W
26. Test #1796 SL Vs Pak Kandy 2006 Apr 3rd-7th 2nd (SL 267/8 to 279 AO, Pak 170, SL 73/8) 20 W
Some Interesting facts about the 20 Plus wicket Test Days.
- Very first time when this happened, in the only test played at The Oval during the 1882 Australian tour of England, remarkably it happened twice. 20 wickets fell on each of the two days this test match was played. This test match also gave birth to the Ashes and still remains only occasion of two sides getting bowled out in a test on two consecutive days of a Test Match.
- The highest number of wickets to fall in a single day's play in a Test match is 27 wickets in the 1st Test of the 1888 Ashes, played at Lord's.
South Africa is the only country to have involved in this 20+ wickets day in their inaugural Test.
- 1st day of the 2nd Test of The Ashes 1894/95 , played at Melbourne which saw both the sides getting bowled out provided a unique instance of a wicket falling on both first and last ball of a 20 plus wickets day.
- 1st Test of the 1895/96 Series between SA & England played at Port Elizabeth, SA were dismissed for 30 runs of just 94 balls chasing a target of 319 runs. George Lohmann bowled 58 of those deliveries and had a bowling analysis 9.4-5-7-8 . he finished the match with a hat-trick.
- The Ashes, 1901/02, 2nd Test Played at Melbourne, after 25 wickets fell for 221 runs on first day, the 2nd day saw 252 runs for the loss of 4 more wickets. In an unusual move the Australian captain Joe Darling held back his top order batsmen on the first day back because of the sticky wicket. They answered their captain’s call with Clem Hill making 99, and debutant Reggie Duff hitting a century on debut and adding 120 runs for the last wicket with Warwick Armstrong , who made 45 as Australia won by 299 runs.
- 2nd and 3rd Test of the 1907 Series between SA and England provided the only instance of back to back test matches with 20 plus wickets falling in a single day's play. England won the 2nd Test Played at Leeds whereas the 3rd Test played at The Oval is the one of the two Tests involving a 20 Plus wicket day that did not produce a result. The other Test being the 4th Test of the 1909 Ashes, which was played at Manchester.
- In the 5th Test of the 1931/32 Series between Aus and SA Played at Melbourne, South Africa was bowled out under 40 and involved in a 20 plus wicket 1st day for the 5th time.
3rd Test of the 1952/52 Series between Aus and WI played at Adelaide, West Indies for the first time involved in a 20 plus wickets Test day. West Indies won the Test by 6 wickets.
- In the 3rd Test of the 1952 series against England, India was involved in a 20 plus wickets Test Day. It also provided the one of the two instances of side getting bowled out twice in a day of Test cricket in its 129 years of history and 1796 Test matches as of today i.e. 5th April , 2006. India lost the match by an innings and 207 runs. They were bowled out for 58 & 82 on the 3rd day of the Test after England declared their innings at 347/9 , resuming their overnight score of 292/7.
- 3rd Test of the 1967 series between England and India in which both India and England were bowled out on 2nd day for 92 and 13 respectively has provided the only occasion when all four members of the India's famed spin quartet, BS Bedi, BS Chandrasekhar, EAS Prasanna & S Venkatraghavan, played together.
- There was a huge gap of 33 years and 883 Test matches between the 20th and 21st instance of 20plus wicket Test Days. But they both had one person on the field. S Venkatraghavan was one of the umpires who officiated in the 2nd Test thriller of the 2000 Series between England and West Indies played at Lord's.
- 3rd day of the 3rd Test of the 2000/01 SL - England Series played at Colombo 's SSC ground provided the first instance of Sri Lanka getting involved in 20 plus wicket Test day.
- 2nd Test of the 2002/03 Series between India and New Zealand played at Hamilton , which saw 22 wickets crumble on Day three, provides the only instance in Test Cricket in which both teams got dismissed for less than 100 runs in their 1st innings. This Test also was the only Test in which a team scoring less than 100 recorded a 1st innings lead.
- On the 2nd day of the 1st Test of 2005/06 Series played at Harare Sports Club , Zimbabwe emulated India's 53 year old record of getting bowled out twice in a day of a Test match. After New Zealand declared their innings at their overnight score of 452/9, Zimbabwe couldn’t cross the 100 run mark in either of their innings and were bowled out for 59 and 99 thus losing the match by an innings and 294 runs.
- Bangladesh, considered to be the babies of Test Cricket , in the 42 Tests played to date is the only country yet to involve in a 20 wicket Test Day.