1939 A timeless Test that lasted 12 days
The longest recorded game of cricket was the Test match between England and South Africa held at Durban. It holds the Guinness world record for the same. It was the last ‘timeless Test’ — meaning there was no limitation on time, and the match was played until there was a result — and abandoned after nine days of play.
The reason for stopping the game? The ship that was supposed to take the English team home was due to leave from South Africa.
The match was played over 12 days, from March 3-14, which included two rest days (March 5 and 12), and play on one day (March 11) was abandoned due to rain. The match saw 43 hours and 16 minutes of play, with 1,981 runs being scored and 5,447 deliveries bowled.
South Africa won the toss and decided to bat. The home side scored 530 runs in the first innings, with Pieter van der Bijl (125) and Dudley Nourse (103) the top scorers. England’s Reg Perks picked up five wickets.
#OnThisDay in 1939, the longest Test of all commenced. The famous ‘timeless Test’ between South Africa and England, lasted eleven days, before the visitors had to return to Cape Town in order to sail home! pic.twitter.com/DLHFaIsDp3
— ICC (@ICC) March 3, 2018
It took a first-innings lead of 214 runs after England was bowled out 316. Les Ames (84) was the top scorer while leg-spinner Eric Dalton registered bowling figures of 4 for 59. The Proteas notched up 481 runs in the second innings, with skipper Alan Melville (103) scoring a century. Fast bowler Ken Farnes was England’s best bowler, taking 4 for 74.
Set a target of 696, England batted for six days — including two days which didn’t see any action.
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On March 14, with the visitor on 654 for 5 — just 42 runs shy of its target, rain interrupted the play after tea, after which the teams agreed to end the game in a draw. Bill Edrich scored a double century while Paul Gibb and Wally Hammond scored centuries.
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