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Top 3 shortest completed Test matches in history of cricket

The second Test of India's 2023-24 tour of South Africa witnessed the breaking of several records, one of which was the shortest completed Test match in the history of cricket.

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Mathew K
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SA vs IND 2nd Test (Source: Twitter)

SA vs IND 2nd Test (Source: Twitter)

Test cricket is the real test for both batters and bowlers. If T20 cricket favours the batters, the Test format suits both departments equally. Unlike the other two formats, both the batters and bowlers have to be on top to win a Test match. What makes red ball cricket more interesting is that no one can predict when and who will get the upper hand. 

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The red-ball competition has five days to determine the winner. However, over the years, we have seen many matches being completed in 2-3 days. The outcome of the match also depends on the playing conditions. Some venues offer seam, swing and bounce, while others have a large amount of turn, and in others, the bowlers get no help at all. On that note, let's take a look at the shortest completed Test matches (by balls bowled).

3. 672 balls - WI vs ENG, Bridgetown, 1935

The 1935 Test between West Indies and England in Bridgetown lasted for only 112 overs as the game was largely affected by the rain. Batting first, West Indies were bundled out for 102 in 47 overs with Ken Farms taking 4/40. England, in reply, declared when the team score was at 81/7 due to a deteriorating pitch. The hosts made a stunning declaration at 51/6 in 19 overs, leaving England with a modest target of 75. The visitors crossed the finish line for the loss of six wickets in the fourth innings. 

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2. 656 balls - AUS vs SA, Melbourne, 1932

South Africa registered their two lowest Test scorers when they took on Australia in 1932. The Proteas were bowled out for just 36 in 23.2 overs in the first innings as Bert Ironmonger claimed insane figures of 5/6. Australia managed to put up 153 runs which was enough for them to secure a victory by an innings and 72 runs. The visitors were bundled out again for 45 in 31.3 overs in their second innings.

1. 642 balls - SA vs IND, Cape Town, 2024

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The second Test of India's 2023-24 tour of South Africa in Cape Town witnessed the breaking of several records, one of which was the shortest completed Test match in the history of cricket. A memorable spell by Indian pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah saw an 89-year-old record being broken. Siraj accounted for a six-wicket haul in the first innings as South Africa were bundled out for just 55 runs. In reply, India managed to score 153 runs, but the home team could only set a target of 79 runs. Overcoming the target by three wickets in 12 overs, the Men in Blue became the first Asian team to win a Test in Cape Town.

South Africa featured India