Top 5 Team Innings of the 2021-23 ICC World Test Championship

India won against England at the Pautudi Trophy in a heroic manner

The 2021-23 Cycle of the ICC World Test Championship was full of thrill and astonishment. Although the tournament was for the longest format of cricket, few matches and teams managed to keep the fans glued to their chairs throughout the game.

From Australia to New Zealand, all nations gave their best to reach the final and eventually win the silverware. In the hunt, Fans witnessed numerous stellar individual performances. Nevertheless, the Gentleman’s game is a team sport and to win, a magnificent team inning is required. 

Thus, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 best team innings of the 2021-23 ICC World Test Championship cycle. 

#5 Bangladesh vs New Zealand (1st innings) – 1st Test, January 1-5, 2022

Swiftly, Bangladesh is becoming a strong cricketing nation, and their rivalry with the Blackcaps is one of the most intriguing things in the world of cricket. Thus, the pundits as well as fans were shocked after Bangladesh defeated New Zealand at the Bay Oval in the first test of the two-match series.

After winning the toss, Mominul Haque decided that his team would field first. Initially, it seemed like they had taken the wrong decision following the partnership of Devon Conway and Will Young. However, the Tigers got the much-needed breakthrough when Young got run out. 

After the dismissal, the whole New Zealand side started falling like a house of cards as their last five players failed to get into double digits and despite getting a decent start, Tom Latham’s whole team got all-out on 328. In reply to that, fans got to witness one of the best team efforts of WTC 2021-23. The Blackcaps bowling trio of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Neil Wagner were humiliating the Bangladeshi batting line-up with their speed and aggression.

However, the Bangla Tigers managed to stay compact. Bangladesh’s opening pair as well as the middle order delivered when it was most required. Half-centuries from the likes of Mahmudul Hasan Joy (78), Najmul Hossain Shanto (64), Mominul Haque (88), and Litton Das (86) helped Bangladesh score 458 runs in their first innings. 

New Zealand’s batting line-up in the second innings was traumatized by the eventual man of the match, Ebadot Hossain. Thus, Bangladesh managed to ace the victory in the first test by 8 wickets. 

#4 England vs Pakistan (1st innings) – 1st Test, December 1-5, 2022 

England defeated Pakistan in a test thriller as visitors

The first test between England and Pakistan that took place in Rawalpindi was the perfect epitome of top-class test cricket. From batting to bowling to an elite mentality for winning, the match had everything. On a green pitch, England decided to bat first against Shaheen Shah Afridi-less Pakistan. Thus, as planned, the English batters started smashing shots all around the ground. 

In the first innings, all three batters in England’s top order, (Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, and Ollie Pope) scored a century with an average strike rate of 100. On the other hand, coming after the early dismissal of Joe Root, Harry Brook scored 153 off just 116 deliveries. Moreover, a cameo of 41 in just 18 deliveries from skipper Ben Stokes was the cherry on top. After smashing Pakistan’s bowling line-up brutally, England scored 657 in the first inning. 

In reply, Pakistan also came forward with three centuries from Abdullah Shafique (114), Imam-ul-Haq (121), and Babar Azam (136). After being in a strong position at 472/4, Will Jacks suddenly thrashed the Green Attire and ended their inning at 579. However, the first English inning did enough damage that Pakistan failed to overcome and lost the match on the verge of a draw in session three of day five. 

#3 New Zealand vs South Africa (1st Innings) – 1st Test, February 17-19, 2022

A match that South Africa will always look forward to forgetting while the Blackcaps will try to remember was the test played between the two sides at Hagley Oval. Winning the toss, New Zealand decided to bat first and as the pair of Dean Elger and Sarel Erwee arrived on the pitch, wickets started falling. 

One after another, the fearsome South African batting lineup was failing against the pace bowling of the Kiwis. Surprisingly, seven players in the Proteas’ batting line-up failed to score in double digits. Their Innings ended at a worrying total of only 95, Matt Henry did the most damage as he took seven wickets leaking only 23 runs. 

After watching South Africa drown, New Zealand got a better idea of the pitch. Thus, their batters started playing extremely slowly on the pitch of Hagley Oval. Incredible ton from Henry Nicholls (105) was supported by Tom Blundell (96), Neil Wagner (49), Colin de Grandhomme (45), and most importantly, seven-wicket-taking Matt Henry (58). 

Nevertheless, trailing by 387 runs, the Proteas were crushed by New Zealand’s bowling again. Interestingly, South Africa lost three wickets at the score of 4 after five overs. Thus, only scoring 111 in the second innings, the Proteas suffered an embarrassing loss in the first test by 276 runs. 

#2 Australia vs England (1st Innings) – 2nd Test, December 16-20, 2021

Australia bashed England in the 2021-22 Ashes by 4-0

The 2021-22 Ashes saw the distressing annihilation of England at the hands of Steve Smith’s Australia. After losing the first test, the Poms might have thought that they would make a comeback in the second. However, they were wrong as the Australian batting lineup came up with other plans. 

Batting first in Adelaide, the Aussies made sure that the English bowlers suffered immense pain. David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, and Steve Smith played brilliant innings to give Australia a great start at the home ground. Their heroics were supported well by lower-order batters as well. Thus, after a great team effort, the Aussie decided to play a mental game by declaring the inning at a score of 473 with one wicket in hand. 

As the Poms came to bat, they instantly lost both of their openers at the ripe score of 12. Dawid Malan and Joe Root looked good for a few overs as they completed their half-centuries. However, the English batting lineup was demolished like an old wrecked building after their dismissal. 

England bowled better in the second innings however Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head managed to score half-centuries. Nevertheless, the Poms still had a mammoth total to chase, and they failed even before reaching the halfway mark. Thus, Australia won the second match of the series by 275 runs. 

1. India vs England (2nd Innings) – 4th Test, September 2-6, 2021

Winning the 2021 Pataudi Trophy was a huge moment for the Indian cricket team. However, the most interesting match of the prestigious series was the 4th test played at the Oval. In the first inning, India got a wrecked start as they failed to generate even 200 runs on the grassy pitch in London.

England managed to collect a lead of 99 runs in the second innings and looked extremely confident for a home win. However, then the Indian fans got to witness a Rohit Sharma masterclass. The Hitman scored 127 runs and got valiant support from almost the whole team. From Cheteshwar Pujara’s 60 to Shardul Thakur’s half-century, the Indian cricket team managed to pull an unthinkable total of 466 in the second inning.

Thus, the Poms had a total of 368 to chase. They started well as England lost their first wicket at 100. However, they eventually fell short in front of Indian bowlers as the whole English team was back in the pavilion with 210 on the scoreboard. Thus, the Men in Blue managed to record an impossible-looking victory with a valiant team effort at the Oval by 157 runs.