The recently concluded Test Match, at Pallekele, between Sri Lanka and England was witness to a new high for spinners. 

In the Test match between Sri Lanka and England, a total of 38 wickets were bagged by spinners from both teams combined. Amongst seamers, only Suranga Lakmal secured a single wicket. None of the English seamers could bag one. The remaining one wicket was a runout by Ben Stokes, dismissing Dimuth Karunaratne. 

There have been some other instances where spinners bagged almost all wickets in a Test match. Three of the top four of such incidents have happened in India. And of course, all of the top four in Asia. In all these cases, the hosts ended up on the losing side. 


Four times when spin took 35 wickets or more in a single Test match


38 wickets by spinners Sri Lanka v England at Pallekele, 2018/19

The Sri Lankan pitches are long known as the Spinners’ Paradise. Sri Lanka had just bid farewell to their frontline spinner Rangana Herath in the first Test match, at Galle. England dropped one of their frontline seamers Stuart Broad to accommodate Jack Leach in the eleven-man side. Turns out, it was the best decision that England made now that they have already won the three-match Test series 2-0. Man of the Match and skipper Joe Root made a cameo with the ball and bagged a wicket in the 2nd innings of the match.


37 wickets  India v New Zealand at Nagpur, 1969/70

Till date, out of the 34 matches played by New Zealand in India, they’ve emerged victorious only twice. This match was one of those rare couples of occasions. The match had witnessed 37 wickets bagged by spinners. New Zealand had won their first ever Test match in India by 167 runs. 


35 wickets  India v Australia at Kolkata, 1956/57

India first toured Australia in 1947-48 but it was not until 1956 that Australia first visited India. Australia had emerged victorious quite unexpectedly by a margin of 2-0 at the end of the series. The third Test match, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, was witness to spin taking away 35 wickets out of 40. Australia had won that match by 94 runs.


35 wickets  India v Pakistan at Bengaluru, 1986/87

The fifth Test match between India and Pakistan that had started on March 13, 1987, was witness to another incident wherein spinners had bagged 35 wickets out of a total of 40. The Indian and Pakistani sides were led by Kapil Dev and Imran Khan respectively. Even though Pakistan had won the match by 16 runs, Sunil Gavaskar was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 21 and 96.



Match Players Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM SR 5WI 10WM Start Date
SL vs ENG  9 1760 1031 38 6/115 8/153 46.3 2 0 14-Nov-18
India vs New Zealand 11 1910 677 37 Jun-74 9/100 51.6 2 0 3-Oct-69
India vs Australia 11 1533 552 35 Jul-49 11/105 43.8 3 2  2-Nov-56
India vs Pakistan 10 1530 527 35 27-Jul 10/126 43.7 3 1 13-Mar-87


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