5 major upsets in tests in the last two decades

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When faced with the question of nominating the great upsets in the game, one would like to reflect upon the humiliation of Australia by Bangladesh or the Irish win against England; others would claim the defeat of Sri-Lanka against Kenya to be a more likely contender. While the shorter format contains a plethora of such examples, test cricket is also punctuated by a selected few, albeit less popular than their ODI counterpart.

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1) Australia vs West Indies, Kensington Oval, Barbados (1999)

A jubilant Lara after the close victory
A jubilant Lara after the close victory

One of the greatest ever victories by the West Indies was spearheaded by Brian Charles Lara, who scored a brilliant 153 (not out) in the second innings to deliver his team from a sure defeat. The target 308 was indeed a mammoth one when one takes the formidable McGrath and Gillespie into consideration. Lara toiled hard facing 256 balls, hitting 19 fours and a six as he batted some minutes short of six hours. West Indies won the match by 1 wicket leading the series by 2-1, although Australia squared the series in the fourth and final test. The match was hailed as the greatest Test he ever played by none other than the Aussie captain, Steve Waugh.

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2) India vs Australia, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (2001)

Laxman and Dravid: An Australian nightmare
Laxman and Dravid: An Australian nightmare

The Australians were just a match away from conquering “the Final Frontier” when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid put an end to all their hopes. They not only stopped the indomitable Australians from their 16th consecutive win, but won back the match after conceding a follow-on. Laxman scored a mighty 281 assisted by Dravid(180) and they together formed a partnership of 376 runs in the second innings. To put a cherry on the top Harbhajan Singh made a hat trick in the following innings ending up with figures showing 13/196. India crushed Australia by 171 runs and went on to win the series 2-1.

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3) India vs Pakistan, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (1999)

An effort in vain: Sachin(136) walks back to the pavilion
An effort in vain: Sachin(136) walks back to the pavilion

A match that would be remembered for an herculean effort from Sachin Tendulkar, was also one of the most unfortunate defeats of the Indians in their own soil. Faced with a target of 271 in the final innings the Indian batsmen dwindled in front of the pace battery led by Akram and Younis. The Master scored a valiant 136, partnered by Nayan Mongia, who struggled to a well earned half century. In spite of all the efforts, Pakistan won the match by a mere 12 runs as Mustaq polished off the tail.

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4) England vs Australia, Edgbaston, Birmingham (2005)

Flintoff breathing fire in Edgbaston
Flintoff breathing fire in Edgbaston

The second Ashes test featured a nail biting finish as Warne and Lee struggled to reach 282 after the top order crumbled. Even after Warne fell to Flintoff, unfortunately hitting his ownstumps, Lee continued with Kasprowicz, but stopped just 2 runs shy of achieving the target. Although Warne took a total of 10 wickets in the two innings combined, it was Flintoff who bagged the Man of the Match Award. England won the series 2-1 and took hold of the urn after almost eighteen long years.

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5) Zimbabwe vs Pakistan,Peshwar (1998)

Pakistan cowered before Olonga's pace
Pakistan cowered before Olonga’s pace

 

When Zimbabwe won its first overseas test match in Peshwar it came as quite a surprise, the more so because it was carried out against a formidable team of Pakistan, a side consisting of Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haque, Yusuf Yuhana, Azhar Mahmood along with Akram and Younis. The first two innings are not worth mentioning except for a fine knock of 107 by Neil Johnson in the second. In the third,the green surface saw Pakistan collapse in 103, shuddering under the vicious pace of Olonga and Mbwanga. It was a easy task for the visitors chasing 162, which they achieved comfortably as Murray Godwin’s 73 (not out) saw them till the end.

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