Kusal Perera and Vishwa Fernando strung a partnership of 78 for the final wicket which helped Sri Lanka pull off a dramatic one-wicket win against South Africa in Kingsmead, Durban. Kusal Perera slammed 153* and the final wicket stand with Fernando was the best-ever in a successful run-chase as Sri Lanka completed a dramatic victory. The total of 304 was the fourth-highest in a fourth-innings chase in South Africa and it was the highest-ever by an Asian nation in South Africa. Following the magnificent win in Durban, here are five other instances when a run-chase involved dramatic moments and gave the side victory or got them closer to achieving the impossible.
Sachin Tendulkar smashed a century in the fourth innings to help India chase down 387 in Chennai. (Image credit: Twitter)
1.) Sachin Tendulkar’s dream chase in Chennai erases pain
In 1999, Sachin Tendulkar battled back spasms and scored 136 against Pakistan but India suffered heartbreak when they lost by 12 runs. The 2008 Test in Chennai against England was played in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks which killed close to 170 people. Andrew Strauss hit centuries in both innings as England set India a target of 387 on a difficult wicket. Virender Sehwag changed the complexion of the match with an amazing 83 off 68 balls which included 11 fours and four sixes and he was aided by Gautam Gambhir’s 66. Tendulkar was determined to give glory to India and he smashed a brilliant 103 and was given good support by Yuvraj Singh (85) as India won a dramatic Test by six wickets. Tendulkar’s knock healed the wounds of a nation recovering from the terror attack.
Adam Gilchrist announced himself on the world stage with 149 against Pakistan in Hobart. (Image credit: Twitter)
2.) Adam Gilchrist announces himself on the world stage in Hobart
Pakistan had dominated the game against Australia in Hobart in 1999. The hosts managed a lead of 24 with Saqlain Mushtaq taking 6/46 and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s brilliant 118 set Australia a stiff target of 369. Australia was reduced to 126/5 and Justin Langer was joined at the crease by Adam Gilchrist, playing in his second Test. While Langer played the sheet anchor role to perfection, Gilchrist attacked and tore the Pakistan bowling to shreds. His strike-rate was 91 and he blasted his maiden century. Langer also notched up his ton and the 238-run stand gave Australia a magnificent four-wicket win. Gilchrist’s 149* established him as one of the greats of the game.
West Indies' chase of 418 remains the highest successful chase in Tests. (Image credit: Twitter)
3.) West Indies scale the summit against Australia in Antigua
West Indies were hammered 3-0 in the four-Test series against Australia in the 2003 series. In the final Test in Antigua, West Indies were set a target of 418 but the hosts decided to go down in a blaze of glory. Ramnaresh Sarwan became involved in a heated confrontation with Glenn McGrath but he held his nerve and scored 105 while he was ably assisted by Shivnarine Chanderpaul who hit 104. However, when Chanderpaul departed on the score of 372/7, it seemed the game was up. But, Omari Banks, who had batted well with Chanderpaul found good support from Vasbert Drakes and the pair defied Australia with a solid 46-run stand. Both batsmen guided West Indies to victory and they achieved the highest successful chase in Test history.
Nathan Astle's brilliant 222 was the fastest double century at that time. (Image credit: ICC Twitter)
4.) Nathan Astle symbolizes glory in lost chase against England
England managed to take a 81-run lead and they gave New Zealand a target of 550 thanks to Graham Thorpe’s 200 and Andrew Flintoff’s 137 in the Christchurch Test of 2002. New Zealand fought valiantly but at 333/9, the game was almost sealed but Nathan Astle had other ideas. With Chris Cairns struggling with injury, Astle decided to counterattack. He blasted a four and six off Matthew Hoggard and slammed two sixes and fours off Andrew Caddick. Things became tense for England when Astle hammered three consecutive sixes off Caddick, with one sailing out of the ground. The right-hander clobbered a four and six off Flintoff and he reached his 200 off just 153 balls, which was the fastest at that time. However, Astle’s epic 222 was cut short and New Zealand was all out for 451 to lose by 98 runs. The knock included 22 fours and 11 sixes and it was dubbed by many as one of the ‘greatest exhibitions of ball-hitting’.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali helped Pakistan chase down 302 at a run-rate of over five. (Image credit: Twitter)
5.) Pakistan secure victory in the dark in Sharjah vs Sri Lanka
For four and a half days, it seemed the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka match in Sharjah would head towards a dull draw. Sri Lanka were boosted by Dilruwan Perera’s 95 and they managed to take an 87-run lead thanks to Rangana Herath’s 5/125. Sri Lanka scored at a run-rate of 2.01 and they set Pakistan a target of 302 in 59 overs to level the series. However, Pakistan, aided by some defensive and negative captaincy from Angelo Mathews and some pro-active batting went after the target. With the light fast fading, Sri Lanka wasted time but Pakistan were focused on the task in hand. Azhar Ali hit a brilliant century and Misbah-ul-Haq’s 68* helped Pakistan win the match by five wickets with just nine balls remaining. The sun had set and the lights were on but for Pakistan, it was their greatest triumph.