Cricket: Five shortest Tests in historyThu, 04 Jan 2024 17:30:46 GMT

India’s victory in the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Thursday broke many records, most notably becoming the shortest completed Test match in the history of the game, lasting just 624 balls. AFP looks at the five shortest matches to produce a winner in the 147-year history of Test cricket. – 642 balls: India v South Africa, 2023The match at Newlands was the 2,522nd Test to be played since England met Australia in Melbourne in 1877. It was also the shortest. Twenty-three wickets fell on the opening day as South Africa, who elected to bat first, were shot out before lunch for just 55. India were then dismissed for 153, losing their last six wickets for zero runs. The Proteas fared marginally better in the second dig with Aiden Markram scoring a brilliant century. But India knocked off the runs for a seven-wicket win, the match lasting just 107 overs. – 656 balls: Australia v South Africa, 1935South Africa were also participants in the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that previously held the record as they were dismissed for a combined total of 81 across their two innings. All out for 36 in their first innings in 23.2 overs with Bert Ironmonger returning figures of five wickets for six runs, South Africa were skittled again for 45 in the second. Australia won by an innings and 72 runs which was remarkable for a side that was dismissed for only 153, coincidentally the same as India at Newlands.- 672 balls: West Indies v England, 1935George Headley and Wally Hammond were the only batsmen to pass 40 as England secured a four-wicket win over the West Indies in January 1935 in Bridgetown in a slightly bizarre game where both sides made tactical declarations to try and make the most of the bowler-friendly conditions. After bowling out the home side for 102, England declared on 81-7 in their first innings, keen to get the West Indies back in on a rapidly deteriorating pitch. The West Indies followed suit, declaring at 51-6 in 19 overs, setting England 75 to win.England sent in their lower order first to take the new ball, leaving Hammond, who made 43 in the first innings, to come in at number seven and steer them home with an invaluable unbeaten 29.  – 788 balls: England v Australia, 1888WG Grace top-scored with 38 as England caught Australia on a sticky track at Old Trafford to claim an innings victory in the 1888 Ashes. A sensible first day saw England make 172 and Australia respond with 32-2. Overnight rain on the uncovered pitch left to bake in the Manchester sun then opened the door for left-arm spinner Bobby Peel who ripped through the Australians, taking 7-31 and 4-37 as they collapsed twice, bowled out for 81 and 70.  – 792 balls: England v Australia, 1888Just six weeks earlier the boot was on the other foot as Australia beat England by 61 runs at Lord’s, 27 wickets falling on the second day, which remains a record for most wickets in a single day’s Test cricket.After mustering 116 in their first innings, the Australians made the most of a damp, spicy pitch to knock over England for just 53. Their own response was little better as they made only 60. But England got nowhere near the 124-run target as Charlie Turner took his second five-wicket haul of the match to bowl them out for just 62 in 47 4-ball overs – Grace again the top-scorer with 24.