Stats: Most expensive overs in the history of Test cricket

Stats: Most expensive overs in the history of Test cricket

South Africa yielded 28 runs in the 82nd over bowled by Joe Root to Keshav Maharaj.

Keshav Maharaj
Keshav Maharaj. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Thrashing is a small word for what England did to South Africa in the Port Elizabeth on their way to an innings and 53-run win. England began the Test by grinding out on the first day before the 2nd day was flooded with boundaries. Spinners Dominic Bess and Joe Root bagged majority of the wickets and they were bowled out for only 209 in the first innings and were on the verge of another such total in the 2nd essay.

South Africa’s best moment of the game came when the debutant Dane Paterson paired up with Keshav Maharaj for the last wicket in the 2nd inning. The home side were 138/9 and still, 152 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat. Maharaj, who was batting on 19 off 73 by then, took on the England bowlers and Paterson, who is known for his big-hitting down the order, followed the suit. The duo added 99 runs for the 10th wicket in only 73 balls.

The partnership came to an end in an unfortunate manner as Sam Curran’s direct hit caught Keshav short of his crease. The left-arm spinner scored 71 while Paterson remained unbeaten on 40-ball 39. The day began with Joe Root bowling most of the overs as he stood one wicket away from his maiden 5-wicket haul in his professional career. Root even bowled the 2nd over with the second new ball but Maharaj’s exploits ensured the England skipper didn’t bowl again.

Keshav smashed fours on each of the first three balls of the over. He slog-swept the 4th ball for a six and sent the 5th delivery over the fence as well. Root made a slight comeback on the last ball where he tried a leg-break. Maharaj missed getting contact on it but the ball missed everything and yielded in four byes. Thus, the 28 runs during the 82nd over South Africa innings turned it as the joint-most expensive over in the history of Test cricket.

There have been two instances of 28 runs in an over in Test cricket; both the times all the 28 runs were scored by a player. In the 2003 Johannesburg Test, Brian Lara smashed 4, 6 and 6 off the first three balls in the over bowled by Robin Peterson and followed it with a hat-trick fours to bag 28 runs. During the 2013/14 home Ashes, George Bailey took on James Anderson in Perth where he smashed three sixes and two fours in an over that witnessed 28 runs.

Most runs scored off one over in Test cricket:

(Stats as on January 20, 2020)