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The Best of Tests: An England victory off the last ball in Durban's fading light

England's Alec Bedser
England's Alec Bedser
©England's Alec Bedser

Test cricket mirrors life. The ebbs and flows of the format have given birth to some of the most breath-taking cricketing epics. A Cricket World Series, The Best of Tests, highlights the finest of these spectacles.


Match Summary


RSA 161/10, 219/10 (89.3)


ENG 253/10, 128/8 (28)


Result - England won by 2 wickets


The light had almost disappeared so much so that the players from the middle could see the spectators lighting matches in the stands in Durban. It was 1948 and the gathering clouds had become heavy enough to block any light on the ground. In fact, the hills on one side of the park had been completely hidden by rain.


England were on their tour of South Africa and the first Test was panning out to be rather dramatic. After the hosts were bowled out for just 161 in the first innings, England did a good job by posting 253 on a sporting wicket at the Kingsmead.


South Africa replied with 219 in the 3rd essay on the back of 63 from WW Wade and 48 from DW Begbie. With 128 required from 28 overs, England were down to 126 for 8 with just three deliveries remaining.


England required three to win off as many balls with Alec Bedser and Cliff Gladwin at the crease. Both had swung quite a lot in the last couple of overs but had hardly made contact as most runs had come off leg byes.


With one required off the last ball and Lindsay Tuckett bowling final over, the balls struck Gladwin on the thigh as the two batmen scampered for single by the time the short leg collected the ball and aimed at the wickets.


Spectators ran onto the field and Gladwin was given a great reception. His seven runs were celebrated like a century as England won off the last ball.


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