Charith Asalanka's all-round performance of 114 as well as 4 for 34 during the second innings' of the match was pivotal in helping Galle Cricket Club pull off an unlikely win. Photo Courtesy: batsman.com
Charith Asalanka’s all-round performance of 114 as well as 4 for 34 during the second innings’ of the match was pivotal in helping Galle Cricket Club pull off an unlikely win. Photo Courtesy: batsman.com

After being all out for 31 in the first innings, Galle Cricket Club won the match by runs against Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club. Bharath Seervi lists the lowest first innings totals that resulted in the victory for teams.

On the first day of the Relegation Play-off match of Premier Championship 2014-15 in Sri Lanka, the Galle Cricket Club was dismissed in the 16th over to produce the joint lowest total in the history of First-Class cricket in Sri Lanka. Galle Cricket Club were bundled for 31 runs with no batsman reaching double figures.

After getting bowled out for 31, what is the probability of the team going on to win the match? The probability seems to be almost zero. It is actually zero in the last 90 years of First-Class cricket history.

But Galle Cricket Club conjured a victory from nowhere by dismissing Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club for 107, leaving them short by four runs. After Galle Cricket Club was out for 31 in their first innings, Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club scored 215 — a lead of 184 runs. Galle Cricket Club scored 295 in their second innings and set a target of 112 runs. The match completed on the third and the final day.

Galle Cricket Club’s 31 is jointly the fourth-lowest first innings total to win a First-Class match and the lowest in First-Class matches outside England.

Lowest first innings total to win a First-Class match

Total Team Against Match inn Venue Season Win margin
15 Hampshire Warwickshire 2 Edgbaston 1922 155 runs
22 Gloucestershire Somerset 2 Fry’s Ground, Bristol 1920 4 wickets
27 England Sussex 1 Royal New Ground, Brighton 1827 24 runs
31 Surrey England 2 Lord’s Old Ground 1800 3 wickets
31 Middlesex Marylebone Cricket Club 2 Lord’s 1826 1 wicket
31 Kent Sussex 1 The Vine, Sevenoaks 1828 33 runs
31 Gentlemen Players 1 Lord’s 1848 27 runs
31 Marylebone Cricket Club Yorkshire 2 North Marine Road, Scarborough 1877 7 wickets
31 Gloucestershire Middlesex 1 Greenbank, Bristol 1924 61 runs
31 Galle Cricket Club Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club 1 Army Ground, Panagoda 2014-15 4 runs

Out of the ten instances listed above, six are from the 19th century. Galle Cricket Club’s 31 is the lowest since Hampshire’s 15 in 1922.

The lowest first innings total to win a match before Galle Cricket Club’s 31 since World War II was 44 for Derbyshire against Gloucestershire in 2010.

Let’s have the similar list for Test matches.

Lowest first innings totals to win a Test match (Totals less than 100)

Total Team Against Match inns Venue Season Win margin
45 England Australia 1 Association Ground, Sydney 1886-87 13 runs
63 Australia England 1 The Oval 1882 7 runs
75 England Australia 1 Melbourne Cricket Ground 1894-95 94 runs
75 Australia South Africa 2 Kingsmead 1949-50 5 wickets
76 England South Africa 1 Headingley 1907 53 runs
91 South Africa England 2 Old Wanderers 1905-06 1 wicket
92 England South Africa 1 Newlands 1898-99 210 runs
94 New Zealand India 2 Seddon Park, Hamilton 2002-03 4 wickets
96 South Africa Australia 2 Newlands 2011-12 8 wickets
99 Pakistan England 1 Dubai Sports City Stadium 2011-12 71 runs

The lowest total on a winnings cause since World War II was 75 by Australia against South Africa in 1949-50. There have been three instances of a sub-100 winnings total in this century.

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)