In 2374 Tests that have been played in the history of cricket, there have been only two ties. Such is the rarity of this result that after every 1187 Tests, a tie can be possible. December 14, 1960 is forever etched in the minds of the cricket fans for it was on this day that the first-ever tied Test was played out between Australia and West Indies at the Gabba in Brisbane. It was a fitting contest between two sides who were on the upswing and the cricket that was produced was beyond exhilirating. West Indies chose to bat and they immediately dictated terms to the Australian bowlers. Sir Garfield Sobers smashed 132 and skipper Frank Worrell, along with Joe Solomon and Gerry Alexander's fifty helped West Indies reach 453 all out. Alan Davidson stood tall among the ruins with 5/135 but Australia fought back in style.
Bob Simpson and Colin McDonald smashed 92 and 57 respectively but it was Norm O'Neill who stole the show with a brilliant 181. West Indies fought back with Wes Hall taking 4/140 but Australia managed a lead of 52. Things hotted up as the Test progressed. Run-scoring became difficult. Rohan Kanhai hit 54 while Worrell hit his second fifty of the match with an identical 65. However, it was Davidson who was simply unstoppable and he took 6/87 to bowl West Indies out for 284.
Needing 233 for a win, Australia were in deep trouble as they were reduced to 92/6 with Wes Hall running roughshod. However, Davidson and skipper Richie Benaud decided that they would not go down in style. Facng the likes of Wes Hall, Sobers and the spin duo of Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin, the duo strung a partnership of 134 for the seventh wicket. At 226/7, it seemed Australia held the edge but West Indies had other ideas.
Davidson was run-out for 80 and Hall took his fifth wicket by dismissing Benaud for 52. The chaotic over bowled by Hall included a leg-bye, a bye, a caught behind, a dropped catch by the bowler almost near square leg. At 232/9, Australia needed a run and West Indies needed a wicket. Ian MecKiff set off for the run but a direct hit by Joe Solomon resulted in the match being tied.
The rest of the series was a classic. Australia won the second Test in Melbourne by seven wickets but West Indies fought back with a 222-run win in Sydney. The fourth Test in Adelaide was drawn but the fifth and final Test in Melbourne saw a crowd of over 90,000 (unofficially 100,000). The Test produced yet another thrilling finish. In a match that saw no centuries, Bob Simpson's 92 trumped Sobers' five-wicket haul as Australia won by two wickets to win the series 2-1. Such was the performance by the West Indies that they won the hearts of the Australians. In the words of Peter Roebuck, he summed up the match by saying, "The crowds came out to cheer as the West Indians received a farewell fit for heroes."
Incredibly, 26 years later, Australia were once again involved in an epic tied Test. In the game against India in Chennai, Dean Jones' magnificent 210 in brutal heat and humidity, backed by toons from David Boon and skipper Allan Border set the course for Australia dominating the game. However, Kapil Dev's brilliant batting along with the likes of Ravi Shastri put India on course. However, Greg Matthews 10-wicket haul, including the LBW of Maninder Singh resulted in Test cricket's second tie.
While the Brisbane Test was Test No.498, the Chennai Test was No.1052. There is one common connection in both the tied Test matches. Can you guess it? It is Bob Simpson. Simpson was in the Australian team as a batsman in the Brisbane tied Test in 1960 while in 1986, he was the manager of the Australian side who had come to India.
59 years later since the tied Test, the memories remain fresh among all cricket fans. Which is your favorite tied Test? Brisbane or Chennai? For majority of the cricket fans, young and old, both matches will forever remain a classic.