Pulsating drawn Tests

As Pakistan narrowly prevented a loss against England after a lacklustre four days in Abu Dhabi, here is a look at five other drawn Tests in recent years that have been equally tense.

AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis added 205 for the fifth wicket in South Africa's chase of 458 against India in Johannesburg in 2013.   -  Getty Images

Ricky Ponting shakes hands with Monty Panesar after England held on for a draw in Cardiff in 2009.   -  Reuters

Shane Watson scored a dazzling century to lead Australia's domination at The Oval in 2013.   -  Reuters

After four days characterised by run accumulation of marathon proportions by Pakistan and England, there seemed little likelihood of a result on the final day of their Test in Abu Dhabi. The script took a twist from unruffled batting on an unruffled surface to relative hara-kiri by Pakistan’s batsmen, precipitated by confident bowling from England leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Pakistan were bowled out for 173 and England needed 99 runs in 19 overs for a victory. Bad light came to Pakistan’s rescue when the umpires called off play, with England 25 short of victory with six wickets in hand.

‘Was it dangerous?’ Alastair Cook asked after the game, referring to the rules that were invoked when the umpires declared the light unfit for play. The England captain, a couple of years earlier, had been in a similar situation, when his team almost pulled off a fourth Ashes Test win of the series at The Oval, helped by a generous declaration from Michael Clarke.

Here are five Tests in recent years that have been drawn, but only just.

South Africa vs India, Johannesburg, 2013-14

A strong second-innings batting performance from India, shaped by Cheteshwar Pujara’s 153 and Virat Kohli’s 96, set the hosts a daunting target of 458, with a day and a half in which to get them, or survive India’s bowling. Eventually, it was India who escaped with a draw. AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis batted for much of the final day, adding 205 runs for the fifth wicket. When reaching the target looked certain, two quick wickets fell. The lower-order batsmen folded shop and did not go for the win. A last-ball six from Dale Steyn had South Africa finishing eight short of their target.

India vs West Indies, Mumbai, 2011

The Wankhede Stadium witnessed a topsy-turvy Test featuring a stunning turnaround by India after having conceded a 108-run lead in the first innings. West Indies, after piling up 590, led by a century from Darren Bravo, were dismissed for 134 in their second innings, leaving India 243 to win. India kept up with their required run-rate of more than 3.75 an over, but kept losing wickets regularly.

India needed three to win off the final over and were left with one wicket to protect. Varun Aaron, the No. 11, could not get a run off the first three balls, and took a risky single off the fourth. R. Ashwin, the set batsman, failed to put bat on ball off the fifth delivery. He then played the final delivery towards long-on, hesitated while coming for the second, and was run out. It was only the second drawn Test with the scores level.

England vs Australia, Cardiff, 2009

James Anderson, the No. 10, and Monty Panesar, the No. 11, batted and battled for 69 deliveries in the final hour on the final day of the first Test in Cardiff in 2009 to deny Australia an Ashes win. Needing 250 runs to make Australia bat again, England were ripped apart by some effective bowling. Struggling at 70 for five, the lower half of the hosts’ batting order put up some resistance. Paul Collingwood, who shepherded the innings with the lower order even as wickets fell around him, was the ninth batsman to be dismissed, for a defiant 74. The last pair ensured his effort would not go in vain.

England vs Australia, The Oval, 2013

Australia outperformed England at the end of the first innings, led by an attacking 176 from Shane Watson, but almost ended up losing their fourth Test of the series. The reason was time. Searching for an elusive win, Michael Clarke saw the crucial fourth day of the Test taken away from him and his team due to rain. His bowlers took a little over a session to bowl the opposition out and gain a lead of 115. Australia took 23 overs to score 111 for 6, and Clarke declared to allow England a sight at the target of 227 in a possible 44 overs.

Jonathan Trott scored 59 off 87 balls, and was backed by a quickfire 62 from Kevin Pietersen (off 55 balls) to get England well on their way towards victory. With 33 needed off five overs, and six wickets in hand, they got 11 runs and lost a wicket in six balls. The umpires, however, ruled that the fading light was not sufficient for play, and called off the contest. England finished 3-0 Ashes victors.

Australia vs New Zealand, 2001-02

New Zealand had conceded a lead of 199 runs at the end of the first innings, in a contest that looked like being dragging on for an insipid draw. On Day Five, they declared their first innings closed at 287 for 8, before Australia took 14 overs to score 84, and provide their opponents a target of 284, in 50 overs. Fifties from Mark Richardson and captain Stephen Fleming, and healthy contributions from Chris Cairns and Nathan Astle helped them finish at 274 for 6, ten short of what would have been a remarkable victory.

This was the first Test of the Trans-Tasman trophy that season, in Brisbane. The rest of the matches were also drawn.