For every bunch of extraordinary records in cricket, there is a rare and bizarre record. One such record is the most number of bowlers to bowl in a single inning of a test match. Can you guess how many could have bowled in a single innings to top this record? What if I tell you that the correct answer is not 10 but 11. Surprised right? Well, it is true. There have been four such instances in test cricket where all 11 players of a team have bowled at least one over in an innings. So to soothe your curiosity, here are four instances when all 11 players bowled in a Test innings:
#1 England against Austalia, 1884:
This bizarre incident happened for the first time back in August 1984. In the first innings of this third Test between England and Australia at the Oval, London. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Interestingly they wore down every English bowler by batting for 311 overs at a run rate of just 1.77. Being at the receiving end of this long and tiring grind, England had to try every single bowling option available in their team. So they bowled all of their 11 players to provide their primary bowling options with some recovery time.
Three English bowlers Ted Peate, George Ulyett, and Billy Barnes, bowled more than 50 overs. Dick Barlow bowled 50, Allan Steel bowled 34, and W.G. Grace bowled 24 overs. Five of their remaining bowlers bowled less than 13 overs. Due to this long 1st innings grind from Australia, this match ended in a draw, and England won the series 1-0.
#2 Australia against Pakistan, 1980:
This time it was Australia who tried all their options in an attempt to get Pakistan batters out. In March 1980, Australia put 617 on the scoreboard after batting for 211 overs in the 2nd test of their Pakistan tour. But Pakistani batters Taslim Arif and Javed Miandad matched their grit and resilience, and we’re an immovable force till the end of the test match.
In an unsuccessful attempt to get both these batters out, Australia bowled all of their 11 players. Arif and Miandad went unbeaten on 210 and 106, respectively, to draw the test match.
#3 India against West Indies, 2002:
The third instance when all the players bowled in a Test innings was the first of the 21st century. India bowled all their 11 players in the 4th test of their 5-match tour of West Indies in the 2nd innings in May 2002. Batting first, India scored a massive 1st innings total of 513 before declaring. They batted out 196 overs with V.V.S Laxman and wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra scoring centuries.
West Indies bettered India’s total by batting 248 overs to score 629 at the expense of nine wickets. India tried their best to get through West Indies batters’ defences and bowled all of their players, including their wicketkeeper Ratra. However, Carl Hooper, Ridley Jacobs, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul‘s centuries diminished every chance of a result, and the match ended in a draw.
#4 South Africa against West Indies, 2005:
The final instance when all the 11 bowled in a Test innings was in the final test of South Africa’s tour of West Indies in April-May 2005. South Africa batted first and declared their first innings on 588/6.
In reply, West Indies scored 747 batting for 235.2 overs. This reply by West Indies batters left South Africa restless, trying everything in their power to wrap their innings. And in their attempt to get through the West Indian batting line up they bowled all of their 11 players, including wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Interestingly, renowned Superstar batsman Ab De Villiers picked up two wickets in this match. This match ended up in a draw, and South Africa claimed the series with a 2-0 lead.