Rarest of rare: All four instances of follow-on victories in Tests

Test cricket got introduced way back in 1877 with a clash between Australia and England in Melbourne. Since then, it has been one of the most prominent formats even after the inception of the limited-overs format. Victory after a follow-on in Tests is the rarest of rare scenarios which have hardly occurred in the history of 146 years. Only four times teams have managed to do the unthinkable and they feature in this article.

Let us look at the instance of follow-on wins in the history of Tests:

1. England in 1894

England toured Australia in 1894/95 and they stunned the hosts in the opening Test. Aussies batted first and posted 586 as Syd Gregory hit 201. England got bundled out for 325 and the Kangaroos enforced the follow-on. The visitors scored 437 with Albert Ward scoring a ton. Chasing 177, the home side fell short by ten runs. With this, England became the first team to win after a follow-on in Tests.

2. England in 1981

It is England and Australia again as they met in Leeds in 1981. The tourists posted 401/9d with John Dyson scoring a ton. The home side managed only 174 in their first innings. Aussie skipper Kim Hughes enforced the follow-on and Ian Botham then stole the show with his unbeaten 149 The hosts got to a total of 356, setting a target of 130. Bob Willis picked up 8/43 to dismantle the Aussies for 111. The English side won the contest by 18 runs to recreate the magic of 1894.

3. India in 2001

The Aussies were at the receiving end yet again with this time India sealing an epic win. In Kolkata in 2001, Australia struck 445 with captain Steve Waugh scoring a ton. In reply, India got bowled out 171 as Glenn McGrath took four wickets. Following on, India scripted history as they posted 657/7d with VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid hitting 281 and 180, respectively. Harbhajan Singh then spun his web with 6/73 as the Kangaroos got out for 212.

4. New Zealand in 2023

New Zealand became the third team overall to win a game after a follow-on against England in Wellington recently. The tourists posted 435/8d with Harry Brook hitting 186. The Kiwis scored 209 and captain Ben Stokes enforced the follow-on. Kane Williamson hit 132 as the Blackcaps reached 483, setting a target of 258. Root scored 95 but Neil Wagner took 4/62 as the Kiwis sealed a terrific one-run victory to become the second team to do so in Tests.