Euro 2020 Special

Lowest Team Scores in International Test History

There have been days that teams will just want to forget when they look back on the history of Test cricket, when their batting just failed completely and they were bowled out for a derisory score.

Everybody likes to remember the highest scores in Test history, but there have also been days of infamy.

Three teams actually share the distinction of having been dismissed for just 36. South Africa against Australia in Melbourne in 1932; the Australians themselves against England in 1902 at Edgbaston and India, who were okaying Australia at Adelaide just two years ago.

However, they are spared their place in the history books, because there have been four lower totals than that in the annals of Test cricket.


South Africa v England

(Cape Town, 1899 – 35 runs)

In their early years of playing Test cricket, South Africa seemed determined to monopolise this particular record. Just three years after being humiliated against the English in Port Elizabeth, almost the exact same thing happened, except that the venue for their embarrassment was Cape Town this time.

It had also started well for the home side, who had bowled out the tourists for just 92, and then taken a first innings lead by making 177 in reply.

England, though, proved much stronger with the bat and posted a score of 330, meaning that the home team needed a notional 246 runs to win the Second Test.

It was not to be, however, despite the opening pair of William Shalders and Albert Powell sharing a stand of 18 for the first wicket. The next nine wickets fell for the addition of just 17 more runs, as Schofield Haigh and Albert Trott ran through the batting order.

South Africa were all out for 35 in the 23rd over, with Haigh taking 6 -11, and Trott 4 -19.

England, in the end, had won by 210 runs.


South Africa v England

(Port Elizabeth, 1896 – 30 runs)

The early record-setters were South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 1896, who were playing England at the time.

In what had been a low-scoring match already, the tourists had made 185 in their first innings and then bowled out the home side for 93 in turn. Second time round, England did better and posted 226, meaning South Africa needed 319 to win.

They were to get nowhere near it. Instead, George Lohmann ripped through their innings, taking 8 -7, whilst Hugh Davenport and Tom Hayward took one apiece.

The only man to make it into double figures was Robert Poore, who was out to Lohmann for 10. It was all over in the 19th over of the innings, with South Africa out for just 30.

England had won by 288 runs.


South Africa v England

(Edgbaston, 1924 – 30 runs)

Incredibly, South Africa matched their unwanted feat 28 years later and against the same opposition, although this time the humiliation came on English soil, and it happened in the second innings of the match, and not the fourth.

South Africa had won the toss at Edgbaston in the First Test and invited England to bat, and the home side went on to make 438.

In reply, the South Africans simply could not cope with the pace of Arthur Gilligan and Maurice Tate who bowled unchanged. The fact that captain and opener Herbie Taylor, who made 7, was outscored by extras tells its own story.

The innings ended in the 19th over, by which time Gilligan had figures of 6 – 7 to his name, whilst Tait had figures of 4 – 12.

The tourists did much better eventually, with Ben Cottrell making 120, out of a total of 390. However, the match was beyond them by then, and they succumbed to an innings and 18-run defeat.


New Zealand v England

(Auckland, 1955 – 26 runs)

New Zealand may be the current World Test Champions, but life has not always been so rosy for the Kiwis.

Arguably the darkest day in New Zealand Test history came during the Second Test against England in Auckland in 1955.

Winning the toss and batting first, the home side were dismissed for 200 and then managed to restrict the tourists to 246 in reply.

But that was when it all went horribly wrong, and, despite opener Bert Sutcliffe making 11, the rest of the batting simply imploded, and they were all out for just 26. Bob Appleyard claimed 4 – 7, and Brian Statham 3 – 9, as improbably, the English won by an innings and 20 runs on the third day of the match.




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