The second day of the first Test between West Indies and England in Barbados witnessed a field day for bowlers. On day 2, 18 wickets fell and it included a sensational spell from Kemar Roach who picked up 5/17 to bundle England out for 77, the third time they have bundled out for a score less than 100 in a Test in the Caribbean. In response, England took six West Indies wickets in the second innings after James Anderson’s 27th five-wicket haul bowled West Indies out for 289 earlier in the day. The two West Indies wickets, plus 10 of England’s wickets and six in the West Indies second innings resulted in a great day for bowlers from both sides.
This is the joint-third highest tally of wickets in a single day in a Test in West Indies. The most number of wickets to have fallen in a day in the West Indies is 20 which took place in the Pink Ball Test against Sri Lanka at the same venue in 2018. On day 3, West Indies were bowled out for 93 as Sri Lanka became the first Asian team to win a Test in Barbados. The year 2018 witnessed another great day for bowlers as 19 wickets tumbled on day 2 of the Jamaica Test against Bangladesh as West Indies swept the series 2-0. In 2015, Barbados witnessed another spree of wickets on day 2 against England as 18 wickets tumbled as the hosts won the match by five wickets to level the series.
The most number of wickets to fall on a single day is 27 and it took place between England and Australia in Lord’s in 1888. The highest score in the entire match was 116 by Australia and England was bowled out for 53. In response, Australia were bowled out for 60 setting England a target of 124 but the hosts were bundled out for 62 in a match which lasted just two days.
In the 21st century, there have been two instances when all four innings were played in one day. In the 2000 Test between England and West Indies, 21 wickets fell on a single day as England secured a historic win against the West Indies. In the Cape Town Test of 2011 between South Africa and Australia, a total of 23 wickets fell on day 2. Australia lost two wickets in their first innings before Shane Watson took 5/17 to bowl South Africa out for 96. Australia, in turn, collapsed to a disastrous 47 all out and South Africa lost one more wicket on a chaotic day.
With 18 wickets falling on the day in 2019, Test cricket still demonstrates that bowlers can enjoy themselves.