LAWRENCE BOOTH: The best five Test matches I've ever seen

Heroics from Ben Stokes at Headingley, Edgbaston 2005, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar’s famous rearguard action in Cardiff and now New Zealand’s dramatic win in Wellington… Sportsmail’s LAWRENCE BOOTH picks five of the best Test matches he’s ever seen

  • England succumbed to a dramatic one-run defeat to New Zealand on Tuesday 
  • Despite the loss, England played their part in one of the greatest Tests of all time
  • Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth picks out the five best Test matches he’s ever seen 

As Jimmy Anderson got the faintest of edges on a Neil Wagner short ball and Tom Blundell took the catch, England hearts broke as New Zealand claimed a one-run victory in one of the greatest Test matches of all-time.

A pulsating clash in Wellington saw the game ebb and flow either way across the five days, before the Kiwis became just the fourth team in history to win after being asked to follow on.

In light of the classic, Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth picks out the five best Test matches he has ever seen. 

1. Headingley 2019: England won by one wicket 

When last man Jack Leach walked out to join Ben Stokes on the fourth morning of the third Ashes Test, England still needed 73. 

They didn’t have a prayer – only for Stokes to start hitting some miraculous sixes. 

To the delight of a raucous Leeds crowd, he cracked Pat Cummins for the winning four, to finish unbeaten on 135. Leach made an equally crucial one not out.

England’s Ben Stokes-inspired victory against Australia in 2019 is the greatest Test I’ve seen

2. Edgbaston 2005: England won by two runs 

Until Headingley 2019 came along, this was the greatest of all Ashes finishes. Tail-end resistance from Australia left them needing just three more when Steve Harmison had Michael Kasprowicz caught down the leg side by Geraint Jones. 

Had DRS existed back then, Kasprowicz would have survived, but instead England rode the wave of a magical summer to win the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

The two-run victory over Australia in the 2005 Ashes at Edgbaston was another classic clash

3. Wellington 2023: New Zealand won by one run 

This was Test cricket’s 2,494th match – and only the fourth to be won by the team that followed on. 

There appeared to be only one winner when New Zealand slipped to 103 for seven in reply to England’s 435 for eight declared, but their gritty second-innings 483 left Stokes’s side needing 258. 

Thanks to Neil Wagner’s last-gasp dismissal of Jimmy Anderson, England fell agonisingly short.

New Zealand’s dramatic win at Wellington this week goes in at third on my list of all-time Tests

4. Cardiff 2009: drawn 

England entered the last day of the first Ashes Test staring defeat in the face: already two down, they were still 219 short of avoiding an innings defeat. 

But Paul Collingwood kept Australia at bay, before last pair Anderson and Monty Panesar – helped by some comical time-wasting – survived the final 69 balls to earn England a draw. They later reclaimed the urn with a 2-1 win.

Jimmy Anderson (left) and Monty Panesar (right) were the heroes for England when they survived 69 balls to earn England a draw in the first Test of the 2009 Ashes series in Cardiff

5. Trent Bridge 2013: England won by 14 runs 

Australia needed 311 to kickstart the 2013 Ashes with a victory, but looked down and out when the dismissal of Mitchell Starc left them 231 for nine. 

But wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and fast bowler James Pattinson chipped away at the total, and it needed a late intervention from Anderson, who had Haddin caught behind with the help of DRS to claim his 10th wicket of the match and give England a lead they never surrendered.

England’s 2013 Ashes win was helped by Anderson bowling them to victory at Trent Bridge

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