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Great escapes this decade

Pakistan v Australia, Dubai, 2018 Usman Khawaja, two years ago deemed incompetent in Asian conditions, and Tim Paine, in his second Test as captain, were the heroes as Australia survived four sessions against a strong Pakistan bowling attack in the fourth innings. Khawaja batted more than 300 balls for his 141, and was supported by first Travis Head, who got 72 off 175 and then Paine, who got 61 off 194. Once Khawaja was dismissed, two quick wickets followed, leaving Paine to bat out 12.1 overs with No.10 Nathan Lyon. What made the performance special was that this was an Australian line-up that had lost their best two batsmen to bans and were hence massive underdogs.

Alejandro Montenegro

New Zealand v England, Christchurch, 2018 Having won the first Test, New Zealand needed a draw to take the series. It looked unlikely when England had them six down with 50-plus overs left in the Test. Then Colin de Grandhomme and Ish Sodhi batted out 25.5 overs for the seventh wicket. Sodhi went on to get 56 off 168 balls, but the most gutsy performance was by No.9 Neil Wagner, who got 7 off 103

West Indies v England, Antigua, 2015 With more than 120 overs to bat out in the fourth innings, West Indies were five down inside 70. Denesh Ramdin, captaining the side, battled for 141 balls, and then Jason Holder, batting at No.8, scored a century. He needed help from No.9 Kemar Roach, who survived 55 balls to help the home team secure the draw

New Zealand v England, Auckland, 2013 A heart-stopping series decider! With 143 overs to bat out, England hung on, just about. Ian Bell blocked for nearly six hours, Stuart Broad took 62 balls to get off the mark,  Monty Panesar’s comical crawl  to safety became a meme and Matt Prior produced one of England’s greatest match-saving hundreds to stave off defeat

South Africa v India, Johannesburg, 2013 After setting a target of 458, a new-look India were dreaming of an overseas win over a South African line-up filled with greats. Tenacious centuries from Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers didn’t just thwart India, they took South Africa within eight runs of the biggest run chase ever

Australia v South Africa, Adelaide, 2012 Once again South Africa showed their prowess under pressure in Tests. Four-and-a-half sessions to bat out on a wearing Adelaide surface? No problem. Faf du Plessis took up 376 balls as he conjured one of Test cricket’s finest debut centuries, ‘Mr 360’ AB de Villiers put away his outrageous array of strokes to make a boundary-less 220-ball 33, and a hamstrung Jacques Kallis stuck it out for nearly two and a half hours

South Africa v England, Cape Town, 2010 England have made several great escapes over the years. This one was as tense as they get. With 141 overs to survive, the top three got them off to a solid start, and then Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell stayed together for 57 overs. Quick wickets meant the last pair, Graeme Swann and Graham Onions, had to survive 17 balls to save the Test. Despite some plays and misses and a failed review by South Africa, they managed it. (ESPN Cricinfo)



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