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Top 10: Longest Innings by a Team in Test Cricket (by Balls Faced)

In Test cricket, there’s no limit on how long a team can bat in a match. If a team decides to bat throughout 5 days without losing all 10 wickets, they can simply do that.

Such scenarios were common in earlier days or when teams played Timeless Tests, which ran until a winner emerged without restrictions on overs faced. There are no such limitations on how many overs a team can face, but nowadays teams are prioritising getting a result out of 5 days of play.

However, back in the day, teams used to bat longer and longer, with no respite to their opponent’s bowling attack. This article will glance at the top 10 instances of the longest innings played by a team in Test cricket (by balls faced).

Longest Test Innings by a Team (Balls Faced)

TeamBalls Faced (Overs)ScoreAgainstVenueMatch Date
England2012 (335.2)903/7dAustraliaThe Oval20 Aug 1938
Pakistan1914 (319.0)657/8dWest IndiesBridgetown17 Jan 1958
England1759 (293.1)611AustraliaManchester23 Jul 1964
England1746 (218.2×8)654/5South AfricaDurban3 Mar 1939
England1633 (272.1)636AustraliaSydney14 Dec 1928
Australia1629 (271.3)491EnglandMelbourne8 Mar 1929
Sri Lanka1626 (271.0)952/6dIndiaColombo (RPS)2 Aug 1997
South Africa1622 (202.6×8)530EnglandDurban3 Mar 1939
New Zealand1608 (268.0)543/3dWest IndiesGeorgetown6 Apr 1972
England1550 (258.2)849West IndiesKingston3 Apr 1930

Key Insights

2012 balls faced by England, making it the longest innings batted by a team in the Test format. England faced 335.2 overs in the first innings against Australia in the 1938 Oval Test. The English side scored a whopping 903/7d England’s highest total and overall the second-highest team total in Tests.

The 5th Test match between South Africa and England in 1939 lasted 10 days — the longest-ever Test match played in terms of days. The Timeless Test witnessed South Africa and England face 1622 and 1746 balls in their first and second innings, respectively. At that time, one over consisted of 8 balls.

952/6d scored by Sri Lanka is the highest team total by a team in a Test innings. The Sri Lankan team batted for 271 overs against India, which saw Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama stitch the second-highest partnership in Tests (576 runs).

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Inarticle 80

98 overs bowled by the West Indies Sonny Ramadhin is the longest spell bowled by a bowler in Tests. England faced a total of 258 overs, of which 98 were bowled by Ramadhin.

There are over 120 instances of teams facing 1200 or more balls in an innings, with only 38 instances resulting in a win for a team.

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