There’s been 2 Tied Tests in Test cricket, both involving Australia, there’s been at least 15 matches decided by 1 wicket, with Australia losing 6 of them, the Australians have also lost by 2 runs and 3 runs against England in the epic Tests at Edgbaston in 2005 and Melbourne in 1982, but on January 26, 1993, there was the first, and so far only, instance of a 1-run margin of victory in Test Cricket.
The West Indies defeating Australia in the 4th Test of the 1992-93 Frank Worrell Trophy series at the Adelaide Oval.
Thanks to birthday boy Tim May’s 5 for 9 off 7 overs, Australia skittled the West Indies for 146 in their 2nd Innings to set a modest target of 186 to win the match and the series, which would’ve marked the Windies’ first series defeat in 12 years, but against the almighty pace attack of Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop and Courtney Walsh, the Australians fell to 8 for 102, then looked certain to fail at 9 for 144 after debutant Justin Langer was dismissed for 54 thanks to a botched pull shot to Junior Murray.
Staring defeat in the face, the unlikely tail end combination of May and Craig McDermott went on to add 40 runs and get the Aussies to within 2 runs of their first series win against the Windies since 1976…
Then McDermott attempted to avoid a Courtney Walsh bouncer, but the ball seemingly caught part of McDermott’s bat or glove or helmet and made a big noise, the umpire gave McDermott out caught behind, and the West Indies jubilantly won by 1 run, the first and only instance of a Test match being decided by 1 run, and Allan Border proceeded to slam the cricket ball he was clutching straight into the ground.
Tim May later described the match in an article for Wisden Asia Cricket in 2010:
“When we were just one run behind, Craig tried to fend off a Walsh bouncer and was given out caught behind in controversial circumstances. I was in a poor position to judge because when Craig tried to avoid the ball, his back was towards me. There was definitely a noise, and lots of people had plenty to say later about what exactly the ball hit.”
“Back in the dressing room, though, no one said anything for 20 minutes. There was nothing left to say. It was so bloody close in the end. The one-run defeat – still the only game in Test-match history to have finished by that margin – still bites me. When I batted, I kept saying to myself, “It’s Australia Day, it’s my birthday; of course, we’re going to win.” It didn’t work out like that. Frustrating. It continues to hurt still.”
After well over a decade of punishment as captain, it was the closest Allan Border ever came to defeating the West Indies in a Test series in his 16-year international career, but alas, the teams went to the WACA with the series squared at 1-1, and Curtly Ambrose proceeded to produce the most devastating spell of fast bowling Test cricket has ever known…
7 wickets for 1 run.
AB retired in 1994, and the final frontier was finally conquered by Mark Taylor & co. in 1995, marking the end of the Windies’ dominance of international cricket.
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