The recently concluded 4th Test saw an ultimate defensive approach from the South African batsmen Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers. Scoring just 25 and 43 runs in 244 and 297 balls respectively, they showed sheer patience and resilience. Throughout the years and games, both the batsmen have proved that they can be very destructive and score very quickly irrespective of who was holding the ball. But their last outing saw something unusual. It was after a very long time that cricket saw batsmen adopting this kind of ‘block-all-balls’ approach.

Test cricket was the game that tested a player both mentally and physically. The scoreboard didn’t show much activity between overs as players seldom found it difficult to concentrate or such a long duration. Once limited overs came in, it all changed. The concept of having limited balls and having batsmen with the mindset of scoring the most in given balls brought some drastic changes to the game. Boundaries came in very frequently, and that even affected their performance in Test matches. Even though they were dressed in whites, they continued to show glimpses of their limited over cricket influence by trying to stroke every ball and score as many runs, totally eliminating the aspect of endurance and patience. With games also ending under 3 days, even Test cricket became a fast game.

The protea pair went back to the basics and reminded the world what Test cricket originally was and meant during the time of its invention. Like them, many batsmen had adopted this type of play where scoring was very low but the temper and fatigue levels of the opposition bowlers reaching new heights. Only when the team could suffer a loss if it lost wickets was when the batting team would undertake this batting style.

Here we look at the top 5 slowest batting innings (in terms of balls) where batsmen took numerous balls to ultimately score paltry runs for themselves while trying to save their teams from losing the game. All the listed batsmen and their scores occurred in the late 20th century which could indicate that the popularity of limited overs game drastically changed the course and the batting style of Test cricket.

 

Batsman

Runs

Balls

Match

Venue & Year

Alec Bannerman

91

620

Aus vs Eng

Sydney, 1892

Herbie Collins

40

340

Aus vs Eng

Manchester, 1920

Hanif Mohammad

20

223

Pak vs Eng

Lord’s, 1954

John Murray

3

100

Eng vs Aus

Adelaide, 1981

Geoff Allott

0

77

NZ vs SA

Auckland, 1999

 

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