Lowest Score in Test Cricket
On most occasions in this game, the key to success with the ball is getting some early breakthroughs. When the ball is new and moving well, or there’s great bounce or turn available from the track, life is a lot more difficult for those holding the willow. We have seen multiple occasions where such early wickets have proven to be the catalysts for major successes, but then, sometimes these breakthroughs lead to utterly disastrous results for the batting side. But what is the lowest score in Test cricket? This question has in the past had many people stumped.
Such moments end up humiliating the batting units and provide as much satisfaction to the bowling units as winning a major trophy.
Let’s find out which is the Lowest Score in Test Cricket.
10. Australia – 42 all out vs England, 1888, Sydney
Lowest Score in Test Cricket: The Sydney Test between Australia and England in 1888 holds a unique distinction. It is the only time when both these nations played a one-off Test for the Ashes title since this name came into existence in 1882. It was one to forget for the hosting nation, who had a superb start by bowling England out for 113 runs, but managed to let the advantage slide when they came out to bat.
The Australian side had some renowned names like Alec Bannerman, Fred Burton, Jack Worrall and skipper Percy McDonnell, but they could not contain the wrath of George Lohmann and Bobby Peel. The duo picked five wickets each in a staggering 37.3 over spell, and bowled Australia out for 42 runs, which remained the lowest team total in Test cricket for 8 years. England went on to win the game by 126 runs.
9. New Zealand – 42 all out vs Australia, 1946, Wellington
Lowest Score in Test Cricket: 15 years into their existence in Test cricket, New Zealand were still hunting for their first-ever Test win and in pursuit, they hosted Australia in Wellington. The team led by Walter Hadlee were off to a disastrous start, with the iconic Billy O’Reilly and Ernie Toshack in full flow.
The duo picked up 9 wickets amongst themselves, with Reilly taking five, and Ray Lindwall chipped in with one wicket. The Kiwis got bowled out for just 42 runs, and in their second innings, they were bowled out for 54 runs. Australia won the game comfortably by an innings and 103 runs, with skipper Bill Brown’s half-century proving to be pivotal.
8. Ireland – 38 all out vs England, 2019, London
In what was just their 3rd Test match, Ireland had the daunting task of facing the English side at the Lord’s in 2019. Much to the surprise of everyone, they bowled out England for just 85 runs and established a 122-run first-innings lead. But Jason Roy, surprise opener Jack Leach, chipped in with big contributions in England’s second innings as they posted a target of 182 runs for Ireland.
They had the opportunity to register their first-ever Test win, but the situation just proved to be too overwhelming. It took 15.4 overs for Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad to bowl the Irish out, with the former picking up 6 wickets. William Porterfield’s men managed just 38 runs and it was the fourth lowest number of overs a team faced before getting bowled out.
7. India – 36 all out vs Australia, 2020, Adelaide
In the top 10 of Lowest Score in Test Cricket list, only two entries are from the 21st century, with this one being the most famous of all. Just when it seemed like India had a command over the opening Test in Adelaide in December 2020, they put in a horrendous batting performance, one that led to them registering their worst-ever total in an international innings across all formats.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were the chief architects of this destruction, picking 5 and 4 wickets among them respectively. The innings ended with India at 36/9 and Mohammed Shami getting retired hurt, handing Australia a 90-run target, which they chased in 21 overs.
6. Australia – 36 all out vs England, 1902, Birmingham
In the opening Test of the 1902 Ashes, rain gods played spoilsport for the hosting nation, who had otherwise put in a sensational performance with the bat and ball. Johnny Tyldesley’s 138 got them to 376 in their first innings, and the immortal Wilfred Rhodes hammered the visiting side with a sensational bowling performance.
Despite having big names in their line-up like Victor Trumper, Clement Hill, Syd Gregory and Joe Darling, the Aussies could only manage 36 runs and were bowled out in 23 overs. Besides Rhodes’ 7/17, George Hirst picked up three wickets for England. The game finished in a draw after rain washed out plenty of game time.
5. South Africa – 36 all out vs Australia, 1932, Melbourne
The 1931/32 outing to Australia is the single-most disastrous cricketing series in South African history, which is the only time they lost a Test series 5-0. Sir Donald Bradman scored 806 runs in the opening 4 Tests and he was absent hurt for this final Test in Melbourne. It started on a horrendous note for the Proteas, whose batters just showed no resistance.
Bert Ironmonger, who went on to pick 11 wickets that game, was the destroyer-in-chief on Day 1 as South Africa got bowled out for just 36 runs with skipper Jack Cameroon being the only person to hit double digits. They got bowled out for 45 runs in the second innings, losing the Test by an innings and 72 runs.
4. South Africa – 35 all out vs England, 1899, Cape Town
South Africa came close to registering their first Test win in 1899 against England in the opening Test at Johannesburg, but fell short by 35 runs. They got off to a solid start in the second Test in Cape Town, by bowling England out for 92 runs and getting an 85-run first-innings lead. But Johnny Tyldesley’s century in the second innings helped England to set a target of 246 runs, which proved to be too much for the hosts.
Schofield Haigh powered through the Proteas line-up with seam bowling, and registered figures of 6/11. Alongside Albert Trott, who got 4 wickets himself, the duo bundled out South Africa for 35 runs in just 22.4 overs and went on to win the game by 210 runs.
3. South Africa – 30 all out vs England, 1924, Birmingham
South Africa had an uphill task in 1924 when they travelled to England, where they faced a Three Lions side containing some of the game’s greatest in Sir Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe, Patsy Hendren, Frank Woolley among others. In the opening Test in Birmingham, the English top order fired in with crucial contributions to score 438 runs.
South Africa in response, got bowled out in just 12.3 overs for 30 runs, which is the lowest number of overs a team ever faced before getting all-out in Tests. Maurice Tate (4/12) and Arthur Gilligan (6/7) completed the job with the ball for England. South Africa managed 390 runs in the second innings while following on, but lost the game by an innings and 18 runs.
2. South Africa 30 all out vs England, 1896, Port Elizabeth
England’s visit to South Africa in 1895/96 was just the third international series South Africa were a part of, the first two also coming against England. In the opening Test in Port Elizabeth, England showed their dominance in the first three innings and set the hosts a target of 319 runs.
George Lohmann, who had picked 7 wickets in the first innings for England, single-handedly caressed the South African batting line-up and got them bowled out for just 30 runs in 18.4 overs. Lohmann registered figures of 8/7, and finished the game with figures of 15/45 as England won by 288 runs.
1. New Zealand – 26 all out vs England, 1955, Auckland
It took New Zealand nearly 5 decades to win their first-ever Test match and in the process, they had plenty of disastrous results. One such came in Auckland, 1955, when they hosted Leonard Hutton’s England. New Zealand put up 200 runs batting first and with skipper Hutton’s half-century, England got a slender 46-run lead in the first innings.
In their second innings, the Kiwis were blown away by the magnificence of Bob Appleyard and Mike Statham. Frank Tyson provided two early breakthroughs for England, after which Appleyard and Statham got 7 wickets between themselves to crumble the Kiwis for just 26 runs, which stands as the lowest total ever registered in Test cricket, to this very day.