HomeSportsCricketSwift Showdowns: Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled
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Swift Showdowns: Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled

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Cricket, often perceived as a game of endurance, strategy, and patience, occasionally surprises enthusiasts with remarkably short Test matches that defy the norm. While Test cricket is renowned for its extended battles spanning five days, certain matches have concluded in a remarkably brief timeframe, leaving an indelible mark on the history of the sport. In this blog, we delve into the fascinating world of the shortest Test matches in cricket history, exploring the factors that contributed to their brevity and the memorable moments they have etched in the annals of the game. Here are the top 10 shortest Test matches in cricket, in terms of balls bowled.

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List of Top 10 Shortest Test Matches in Cricket

Team 1 Team 2 Balls Overs   Winner Ground Match Date  
West Indies England 10 1.4   drawn North Sound 13 Feb 2009  
West Indies England 61 10.1   drawn Kingston 29 Jan 1998  
Sri Lanka India 72 12.0   drawn Kandy 17 Jul 1993  
England Australia 104 17.2   drawn Nottingham 12 Jun 1926  
West Indies India 132 22.0   drawn Port of Spain 18 Aug 2016  
Pakistan Sri Lanka 216 36.0   drawn Gujranwala 20 Dec 1991  
England Australia 228 38.0   drawn Lord’s 12 Jun 1902  
England South Africa 401 66.5   drawn Manchester 26 Jul 1924  
England New Zealand 426 71.0   drawn Manchester 15 Aug 1931  
India New Zealand 427 71.1   drawn Chennai 25 Oct 1995  


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West Indies vs England, 2009

Image Source: Times Now Navbharat

Soon into England’s first innings, specifically after ten balls, the match had to be abandoned as the bowlers were unable to get a proper solid foothold. This was due to an overly sandy outfield. Alan Hurst, who was the ICC match referee ruled as follows:  “The ground conditions, and especially the bowlers’ run-ups, were unfit and potentially dangerous and we decided it would not be possible to rectify those fundamental issues over the course of a day or so.”

This particular test match was then later rescheduled at the old Antigua Recreation Ground two days later that is on February 15.

West Indies vs England, 1998

Image Source: ESPNcricinfo

Play was suspended post 10.1 overs into the match (10.1 overs/56 minutes). This was due to the fact that the batsmen had been struck numerous times by the ball which lifted dangerously off at a length. The officials and the players concerned had a lengthy discussion, and after another ten minutes the players left the field. Following this, an hour and a half later, the match was abandoned.

To compensate for this, an additional test was scheduled for 5-9 February.

David Richards, who was the ICC chief executive, said: “It is possible for ICC to rule that the match should be scrubbed out, but I think it is unlikely.”

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Sri Lanka vs India, 1993

Image Source: Times of India

The match had to be abandoned owing to torrential downpours. As a result of this, Only 12 overs – 49 minutes of play – were possible. This match however marked the 125th test match for Kapil Dev, equaling Sunil Gavaskar’s record.

England vs Australia, 1926

Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled - KreedOn
Image Source:

Rain played spoilsport yet again as it allowed only fifty minutes of play. A total of 104 balls were bowled. This ultimately led to a draw between the two teams.

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West Indies vs India, 2016

Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled - KreedOn
Image Source:

A relatively recent occurrence, the farce in Port of Spain ended in bright sunlight which made play not possible. The match was called off at 9:30 am on the fifth day. This was the fourth Test match in the series between the two countries.

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 1991

Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled - KreedOn
Image Source: Cricketnmore

This match saw only 36 overs of play spanned over two and a half hours of play. Rain interrupted in the first day itself, and made it impossible to bowl another ball for the next four days, making this yet another shortest test match played ever.

England vs Australia, 1902

Australian cricket team in England in 1902, Image Source: Wikipedia

One of the rather earlier test matches to be played, the test match played between England and Australia was utterly ruined by rain, which permitted only an hour and three-quarters on the opening day. Ultimately, the match was drawn.

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England vs South Africa, 1924

Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled - KreedOn
Image Source: Chase Your Sport

The weather in England played the antagonist yet again in this test between the two countries. Play was restricted to two hours and three-quarters on the first day. However, it is worth mentioning that England had already won the rubber, so interest in this particular match was already low.

England vs New Zealand, 1931

Image Source: ICC Cricket

The third and last test match in the series between England and New Zealand faced a depressing outcome as no play was possible until after three o’clock on the last afternoon. The limited amount of time available ultimately led to a draw.

India vs New Zealand, 1995

Top 10 Shortest Test Cricket Matches by Balls Bowled - KreedOn
Image Source: The Cricket Monthly

And finally, the test match between India also suffered the same fate. A rather unusual occurrence, the test came two days after a total solar eclipse. However, it was the usually mundane monsoon that brought this match to a halt. Only 71.1 overs of play was possible (427 balls).

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What is a “Test match”?

A Test match is a format of cricket played over five days, typically featuring two innings per team.

What’s the significance of fewer balls bowled?

Fewer balls often imply a quick conclusion due to extraordinary performances, challenging conditions, or dramatic collapses.

Which is the shortest test match ever by number of balls bowled?

West Indies vs England in Feb, 2009 is the shortest test cricket match by the number of balls bowled?

How many balls were bowled in this shortest test cricket match?

In the match of West Indies vs England in Feb, 2009, only 10 balls were bowled.

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