WTC 2023: Some of the games have been very exciting during this World Test Championship period. This season, the opponent has been in the spotlight due to their incredible performances with the bat, ball, and field defence. The five most memorable games are examined in this article.
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Pakistan v England at Rawalpindi Stadium, 2022
Although this historic match’s first four days saw a ton of runs scored it was the third-highest scoring Test match ever—the drama of the final day made sure this match would live on in history for many years to come.
Before visiting captain Ben Stokes’ audacious declaration late on the fourth day, England’s first Test match in Pakistan in 17 years appeared to be destined for a draw.
On what seemed to still be a strong batting pitch, Pakistan had four sessions to chase down 343 runs, but England had other plans as steadfast veteran James Anderson and relentless quick Ollie Robinson masterminded a historic triumph.
In Pakistan’s second innings, the pair each took four wickets, but spinner Jack Leach eventually claimed the final victim as the hosts were bowled out for 268 in the waning light with only a few minutes left.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Christchurch Stadium, 2023
Throughout the first four days, there wasn’t much of a difference between the two evenly matched sides, and when clouds collected over Hagley Oval on the last day, all outcomes were still conceivable.
Rain washed out the whole first session, and as precipitation persisted far into the second session, the draw appeared to be the most likely outcome.
Nevertheless, the rain ceased as New Zealand immediately got rolling in their pursuit of 257 runs from 52 overs while Sri Lanka chased the nine wickets required to keep their chances of winning the World Test Championship alive.
With Sri Lanka still needing three wickets and New Zealand needing eight runs to win, everything came down to the final over of the day with the floodlights on in dwindling light. In order to help the hosts steal victory by the slimmest of margins, New Zealand snatched a bye off the final delivery, and match hero Kane Williamson barely made it to the ground. Matt Henry was run out on the third ball of the over, giving the visitors hope.
Sri Lanka v Pakistan – at Galle Stadium, 2022
When the hosts have up to four good spinners in their starting Eleven, chasing anything more than 100 runs is a difficult chore on a Galle wicket that is degrading. In the first Test in Galle, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal scored excellent innings for the hosts, setting Pakistan a lofty mark of 344.
Yet by the end of day four, Pakistan had reached 222/3 thanks to a century from Abdullah Shafique, putting them in a position to control the game. Drama was heightened by a rain delay with Pakistan was still 11 runs short of the mark, but they quickly recovered to win with distinction.
England v India at Birmingham Stadium, 2022
When India visited England to complete the postponed fifth and final Test of their series from 2021, the Bazball craze had already swept New Zealand in the home series, but there were still some sceptics. Things didn’t look good for the hosts after centuries from Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja in the first innings.
However, India’s second innings collapsed due to superb bowling from Ben Stokes and rookie bowler Matthew Potts, leaving the home team with a target of 378.
Normally, such target would seem unattainable, but this brazen new England team had little trouble scoring the runs with only three wickets lost.
England’s pursuit was launched by a century opening stand, but they lost three wickets in the space of two runs, giving the opposition the early advantage. But after that, England was in good form as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow amassed hundreds and guided their team past the objective with an unbroken stand.
India v New Zealand at Kanpur Stadium, 2021
After the Lord’s finale earlier in the year, this was the first encounter between the World Test Championship cycle’s finalists. It turned out to be a nail-biter as both teams battled for an edge in the upcoming WTC cycle. After the first innings, the score was nearly level as Will Young and Tom Latham’s opening 151-run partnership offset Shreyas Iyer’s century.
Ajinkya Rahane, the captain of India, made a risky declaration in the second innings that gave New Zealand a manageable target of 284 to win in just over one day. When Ravichandran Ashwin caught Young LBW late on the fourth day, things didn’t go well for the visitors.
The Indian spinners were also out for more runs on the last day as the surface continued to play some tricks. Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel hung on for a tie in a thrilling last session on day five, but New Zealand displayed their customary grit and tenacity, leaving the hosts disappointed.