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Top Lowest Team Scores in Test Cricket

Suresh Iyer
February 21, 2022, 13:45
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Top Lowest Team Scores in Test Cricket

In this article, we look at the lowest team scores in Test cricket. New Zealand set the dubious record for the lowest Test score by a team back in March 1955. That record has stood the test of time, remaining unbroken even after the passage of nearly 67 years.

New Zealand, Auckland, March 1955 (26 all out)

In the second Test of a series in Auckland on the England tour of New Zealand in March 1955, the home side batted first and were bowled out for 200. The Kiwis managed to bowl out England for 246, limiting their first innings lead to only 46. The hosts began their second knock on a bad note, losing their first wicket with only 6 runs on the board. Thereafter, wickets fell at regular intervals and New Zealand ended up being bowled out for the lowest ever Test total of 26 runs. For England, Bob Appleyard took 4 wickets for 7 to emerge the most successful bowler. Brian Statham took 3 for 9, while Frank Tyson (2/10) and Johnny Wardle (1/0) were the other wicket-takers. For New Zealand Herbert Sutcliffe top-scored with 11 – no other batsman got into double figures. In the process, New Zealand broke the previous record for the lowest Test score of 30 set by South Africa versus England in 1896.

South Africa, Port Elizabeth, February 1896 (30 all out)

In the first Test of a series in Port Elizabeth on the England tour of South Africa in February 1896 the visitors batted first and scored 185. The hosts replied with 93, giving England a handy lead of 92 runs. The tourists scored 226 in their second knock, setting the home side a target of 319 to win. Batting last on a bowler-friendly wicket, South Africa were bowled out for 30. In the process they set a record for the lowest ever Test score at the time. Of the South African batters, only Robert Poore who scored 10 got into double figures. For England, John Lohmann took 8 wickets for only 7 runs. South Africa’s record for the lowest team total in Test cricket lasted for over half a century until it was broken by New Zealand in 1955.

South Africa, Birmingham, June 1924 (30 all out)

In the first Test of a series in Birmingham on the South Africa tour of England in June 1924 the home side batted first and scored 438. When South Africa replied, they began disastrously losing their first three wickets for only six runs. Things went from bad to worse and the Proteas were bowled out for only 30. In the process, South Africa equaled their own dubious record set in 1896 against the same rivals. None of the South Africa batsmen got into double figures. For England, Arthur Gilligan took 6 for 7 while Maurice Tate took 4 for 12. Following on, South Africa did much better in the second innings. However, they were bowled out for 390, rendering England the winners by an innings and 18 runs.

South Africa, Cape Town, April 1899 (35 all out)

When England toured South Africa in April 89, the two sides met in the second Test of the series in Cape Town. The visitors batted first and were bowled out for 92. South Africa replied with 177, taking a first-innings lead of 85 in the process. The visitors did much better in their second innings, while scoring 330. Set a target of 246 to win, South Africa played poorly in their second knock and were bowled out for 35. Opener Albert Powell (11) was the only batter to get to double figures. Among the England bowlers, Schofield Haigh took 6 for 11 while Albert Trott grabbed 4 for 19 to complete the rout.

South Africa, Melbourne, February 1932 (36 all out)

South Africa toured Australia in February 1932. In the fifth Test of the series in Melbourne, the visitors batted first and were bowled out for 36. Their wicketkeeper skipper John Cameron who scored 11 was the only one who got to double figures. For Australia, Bert Ironmonger took 5 wickets for 6 runs to emerge as the most successful bowler. Laurie Nash grabbed 4 for 18 while Stan McCabe took 1 for 4 to complete the tally. In reply, Australia scored 153, taking a first-innings lead of 117. In the second innings South Africa were bowled out for another low score of 45 allowing Australia to win by an innings and 72 runs.

 Lowest Team Scores in Test Cricket

Venue Date Team Rival Score
Auckland 25 Mar 1955 New Zealand England 26
Port Elizabeth 13 Feb 1896 South Africa England 30
Birmingham 14 Jun 1924 South Africa England 30
Cape Town  1 Apr 1899 South Africa England 35
Melbourne 12 Feb 1932 South Africa Australia 36
Birmingham 29 Mar 1902 Australia England 36
Adelaide 17 Dec 2020 India Australia 36
Lord’s 24 Jul 2019 Ireland England 38
Wellington 29 Mar 1946 New Zealand Australia 42
Sydney 10 Feb 1888 Australia England 42
Lord’s 20 Jun 1974 India England 42
Cape Town 25 Mar 1889 South Africa England 43
North Sound   4 Jul 2018 Bangladesh West Indies 43
The Ova 10 Aug 1896 Australia England 44
Melbourne 12 Feb 1932 South Africa Australia 45
Sydney 28 Jan 1887 England Australia 45
Cape Town   2 Jan 2013 New Zealand South Africa 45
Port of Spain 25 Mar 1994 England West Indies 46
Lord’s 19 Jun 1958 New Zealand England 47
Cape Town 25 Mar 1889 South Africa England 47
Kingston 11 Mar 2004 West Indies England 47
Cape Town   9 Nov 2011 Australia South Africa 47
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