India was scheduled to play 13 Tests during this home season, 9 of which are done and dusted. Virat Kohli’s India recently lost their first Test against Australia. Rajkot and Indore made their debuts as Test venues in 2016 and Dharamsala is scheduled to stage its first Test in March 2017. With great facilities and upgrades in these grounds, it is likely that they will host many more Test matches in the near future. But there are several grounds around the world in which only 1 Test match was played, and are unlikely to host any other, rightfully earning the tag of “One Test wonder.”
Let us have a look at the one Test wonders around the globe:
Bramall Lane, Sheffield (England vs Australia, 1902)
Bramall Lane in Sheffield had quite a fair turnout on Day 1 of the third Ashes Test back in 1902 after the first two Tests ended in a draw. The team from Down Under failed to put up a big score in the first innings. All the batsmen were back in the pavilion when the scoreboard read 194. England was no better with the bat, as the Australian pair of Jack Saunders and Monty Noble took 5 wickets each to dismantle the English side for just 145 runs.
A century from Clem Hill ensured that the game was taken away from the hosts, setting up a target of 339 runs in the fourth innings. England was dismissed for 195 runs, losing the match by 143 runs. Monty Noble took 6 wickets and ended the match with 11 dismissals to his name.
Bombay Gymkhana Ground, Mumbai (India vs England, 1933)
Bombay Gymkhana has played host to only one Test match, but nonetheless it was memorable as it was the first ever International match on Indian soil. On 15th December 1933, England featured in the first ever match hosted by India. The visitors cruised on to a 9-wicket victory. C K Nayudu led the Indian side and decided to bat after winning the toss, only to see his side bundled out for 219. In reply, the Englishmen made a mammoth 438 runs with the help of a century from Brian Valentine.
Indian batsman Lala Amarnath scored the first ever century by an Indian in the second innings of the match, but it was not enough to save the Test and England reached the target of 40 runs for the loss of just 1 wicket. Officially built with a capacity of 15,000, the Bombay Gymkhana Ground was installed with temporary stands for the historic Test and as many as 50,000 people were present during the match.
University Ground, Lucknow (India vs Pakistan, 1952)
When Pakistan visited India for its first tour in 1952, they were outclassed by the hosts in the first Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, losing by an innings and 70 runs. The visitors were determined to strike back in the next encounter which was scheduled to be played at the Lucknow University Ground, its maiden and final International match.
The turn of events in that match was very disappointing for the home team as they were dismissed for 106 runs in the first innings. In reply, Pakistan scored 331 runs and also bowled out India for 182 runs in the second innings winning the match by an innings and 43 runs. Pakistani bowler Fazal Mohammad finished the Test with match figures of 12 wickets for 94 runs.
Bahawal Stadium, Bahawalpur (Pakistan vs India, 1955)
The Bahawal Stadium hosted the first ever Test match on what is now Pakistani soil, though the first ever home match played by the Pakistan cricket team was at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka, now a part of Bangladesh. Archrivals India made a trip across the country from Pakistani Bengal to Pakistani Punjab for the second Test of the 5-match series, hosted by the 15,000-capacity Bahawal Stadium, locally known as the Dring Stadium after the second Prime Minister of Bahawalpur, Sir John Dring.
Unfortunately, the match at the ground along with the other four Test matches ended in a draw. Similar to India’s Bombay Gymkhana Ground, that match was the one and only International fixture the Bahawal Stadium ever witnessed, but it went on to host first class matches regularly.
Peshawar Club Ground, Peshawar (Pakistan vs India, 1955)
On the same tour of Pakistan in 1955, each and every one of the 5 matches ended in a draw. The fourth Test was played at the Services Ground in Peshawar. India’s Subhash Gupte was outstanding, picking up a five-for & restricting Pakistan to just 188 runs. Polly Umrigar’s century put the Indians on the front foot with a handy lead of 57 runs in the first innings.
Vinoo Mankad’s five-wicket haul in the second innings demolished the Pakistani line up for just 182, setting a target of 126 runs for the visitors in the fourth innings. Time was limited and India managed to score only 23 runs from 19 overs which ensured the honours were shared at the end of the match.
Rawalpindi Club, Rawalpindi (Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1965)
The Rawalpindi Club hosted the first Test during New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan back in 1964-65. It was rather a cakewalk for the hosts as they outplayed the Kiwis convincingly within 3 days. Having won the toss, Pakistan decided to bowl first and demolished the opposition batting line up for just 175 runs.
Pakistan displayed a fair show with the bat, scoring 318, only to bowl out the visitors for just 79 runs in their second innings and clinch the fixture by an innings and 64 runs. This was also a memorable Test win for the Asians as it was their first win in 6 years.
Ibn-e-Qasim Stadium, Multan (Pakistan vs West Indies, 1980-81)
Ibn-e-Qasim Stadium in Multan got the opportunity to witness some fantastic Test cricket, but was unfortunate that the match was cut short and only three days of play was possible. Already down 0-1 in the four Test series, Pakistan needed to win the last game against the visiting West Indies to save and level the series.
Viv Richard’s unbeaten 120 took the Windies to 249, while Imran Khan picked up 5 wickets. Pakistan were all-out for just 166 runs, blown away by the fierce West Indian bowling line up of Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Sylvester Clarke and Colin Croft.
The Windies could bat for only 42 overs in the second innings, scoring 116 for the loss of 5 wickets, before rain washed out the final 2 days. The match ended as a draw and the West Indies won the series 1-0.
Burlton Park, Jalandhar (India vs Pakistan, 1983)
Jalandhar’s Burlton Park got the opportunity to host an India-Pakistan Test in 1983. The match was a bit of bore with seven hours of play lost due to rain. The visitors scored 337 runs in the first innings, thanks to Wasim Raja’s century. India replied with 374 and the match ended in a draw after Pakistan played only 9 overs in the second innings. The only silver lining for the supporters present was the double century scored by Indian batsman Anshuman Gaekwad.
Apart from the lone Test match, Burlton Park also staged three One-Day Internationals, the last one between India and Sri Lanka in 1994.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur (India vs Pakistan, 1987)
The Sawai Mansingh Stadium played host to many IPL matches and even ODIs; but the Pink City staged a lone Test match back in 1987, against India’s archrivals, Pakistan. Though the match ended in a draw, the crowd present at the stadium got their money’s worth as Mohammad Azharuddin and Ravi Shastri both scripted entertaining centuries.
The ground in Jaipur has undergone major renovations and upgrades in recent times, having hosted as many as 11 ODIs since 2005. It was a fortress for IPL outfit Rajasthan Royals, with a brilliant home record on this ground until they were suspended from the T20 competition. With a capacity of over 23,000, the Sawai Mansingh Stadium was one of the venues in 1987 and the 1996 Cricket World Cups.
Sector 16 Stadium, Chandigarh (India vs Sri Lanka, 1990)
The Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh staged the one-off Test match between hosts India and Sri Lanka in 1990. India decided to bat first but failed to put up a big score, getting dismissed for 288 in which Ravi Shastri scored 88 runs. The Lankans had a nightmarish time in reply, getting dismissed for just 82 runs with only two batsmen entering into double figures.
Following on, Sri Lanka scored 198 runs in the second innings and lost the match by an innings and 8 runs. Venkatapathy Raju took 8 wickets in the match and was declared the “Man of the Match.” Apart from hosting the one-off Test match, the ground also witnessed 5 One-Day Internationals, most recently between India and Australia in 2007.
Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala (Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 1991)
This ground is probably the most unfortunate of all the locations which feature in this list: four and a half days of the match were lost due to persistent rain. The fixture between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Municipal Stadium lasted for only 36 overs, in which Pakistan scored 109 runs for the loss of two wickets after they were put into bat by the Lankans.
Also known as the Jinnah Stadium, this ground has staged quite a few One-Day Internationals including a World Cup match in 1987. The last International match played at this venue was back in 2000, when hosts Pakistan faced off with Sri Lanka for a 50-over tie.
Karachi Defence Stadium, Karachi (Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, 1993)
The National Stadium has been the automatic choice as a Test venue in Karachi, but a single Test match was held at the Karachi Defence Stadium back in 1993 when Zimbabwe visited. The first of the three-Test series, the hosts displayed a clinical performance to inflict a 131-run defeat on the Zimbabweans.
Waqar Younis’ performance was the highlight: the speedster took 13 wickets in the match and was named the “Man of the Match.” Also known as the Southend Club Stadium, it hosted matches featuring the Defence Housing Authority team.
K.D Singh “Babu” Stadium, Lucknow (India vs Sri Lanka, 1994)
One of the more recent grounds in the list, the K.D. Singh “Babu” Stadium, also known as the Central Sports Stadium, has one Test and one ODI to its credit. Reportedly a ground which can hold 25,000 people when full, it played host to the first Test between India and Sri Lanka in 1994. In a match completely dominated by the Indians, some brilliant individual performances enhanced the victory even more.
India scored 511 runs in the first innings which included twin centuries from Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar. The touring Sri Lankan team was dismissed for 218 in the first innings and 174 in the second, losing the match by an innings and 119 runs. Anil Kumble took 11 wickets and was awarded the “Man of the Match.”
Buffalo Park, East London (South Africa vs Bangladesh, 2002)
Buffalo Park in East London (the coastal city in South Africa) witnessed some International cricket in 2002, when Bangladesh, recently initiated into Test cricket, visited the rainbow nation for a rather forgettable African safari. After getting thrashed in the ODIs, South Africa added salt to their wounds by defeating Bangladesh in just 4 days. Visiting skipper Khaled Mashud decided to bowl first after winning the toss only to see the Proteas score a mammoth 529 in the first innings, driven by Greame Smith’s double century. South Africa won the match by an innings and 107 runs.
The 15,000-seater Buffalo Park also hosted three ODIs during the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. The last match played at this venue was in 2015 when the West Indies toured South Africa. The hosts won the ODI by 9 wickets.
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