Highest Run Chase in Test at Oval Stadium

The Oval in London has been a historic cricket venue since it first hosted a test match way back in 1880. Over the years, its batting-friendly nature has seen some epic successful run chases unfurl at this hallowed cricket ground.

In this article, we revisit some of the highest fourth innings run chases in test matches staged at The Oval over the decades. Get ready to relive the exploits of batting heroes who made the impossible possible at one of cricket’s most iconic venues.

1. Highest Run Chase at Oval in Test 2003 Between West Indies And Australia

No test run chase comes close to the miracle 418/7 by West Indies versus Australia at The Oval in 2003. This remains the highest successful fourth innings chase ever in test cricket history.

Chasing a target of just 311 set by Australia, Windies slumped to 105/5 before Brian Lara smashed a sublime unbeaten 153. Ridley Jacobs also provided great support with 107 as West Indies scripted an improbable comeback victory.

To chase down over 400 against McGrath, Gillespie and company in their own backyard exemplified the dominance of that West Indies side. Lara produced one of the greatest test innings played under pressure.

ALso Check: Highest Successful Run Chase in Test Cricket at Edgbaston

2. England 332/7 vs Australia in 1948

The second highest successful run chase at The Oval occurred during the 1948 Ashes when Don Bradman’s invincible Australians were upstaged by England.

Chasing a tricky target of 332 runs, England were struggling at 107/4 when Compton (66) and Edrich (55) steadied things. But it was Sir Donald Bradman’s own unbeaten 173 that incredibly took the hosts over the line to a stunning victory.

Scoring 330+ runs in a single day against Lindwall, Miller and others highlighted Bradman’s peerless batsmanship. This became part of Ashes folklore.

3. South Africa 438/9 vs Australia in 2002

Another monumental Oval run chase came in 2002 when South Africa incredibly chased down 455 to defeat Australia. In response to Australia’s first innings 453 built around Hayden’s 183, South Africa found themselves in early trouble at 68/4.

But Herschelle Gibbs smashed a counterattacking double century while Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher contributed valuable half centuries as the Proteas got to the massive target with 1 wicket remaining.

To even contemplate chasing 450+ against the likes of McGrath and Warne needed immense self-belief which South Africa showed.

4. England 332/4 vs Australia in 1930

The 1930 Ashes saw the original ‘Fast Bodyline’ bowling attack unleashed by England contain a powerhouse Australian batting unit boasting of Bradman, Woodfull and Ponsford.

However, during the Oval test, Bradman mastered the short-pitched bowling to score 232 as Australia posted 695 batting first. England responded with 405 to avoid follow-on before Australia declared again at 375/7 setting England a tough 332 to win.

But opener Jack Hobbs scored a masterly 142 while Maurice Leyland smashed 129 as England triumphed by 6 wickets. Chasing over 300 in two sessions against Larwood and Tate was an immense achievement.

5. England 294/4 vs South Africa at Oval in 1951

The 1951 test match between England and South Africa at The Oval is best remembered for one of the greatest test innings ever played – Len Hutton’s unbeaten 364 to setup a mammoth English total of 683.

In response, South Africa scored just 253 before following on. Batting again, the Proteas set England a target of 295 through splendid centuries from Jackie McGlew and Roy McLean. However, Reg Simpson’s solid 79 not out steered England home comfortably despite losing some quick wickets.

So whether 300 above or below, England had the firepower to be able to chase down totals successfully at The Oval over the decades.

Great Rear Guard Batting Efforts

Along with successful chases, The Oval has also witnessed some monumental rear guard efforts by batsmen to earn draws:

  • Gary Kirsten batted nearly 8 hours to score an unbeaten 185 saving the game for South Africa versus England in 1999.
  • Rahul Dravid faced over 500 balls for his epic 217 and batting 14 hours to help India draw against England in 2011.
  • Alastair Cook batted throughout two full days remaining unbeaten on 263 against Pakistan in 2015 as England clung on for a draw.

So The Oval has repeatedly tested the concentration and survival skills of many all-time batting greats over the years when playing fourth innings run saving marathons.

Spin Friendly Wicket

A unique aspect of The Oval is that the pitch often assists spinners, especially in the latter stages of a test match. This has contributed to many intriguing fourth innings run chases and stalling of batting:

  • Jim Laker’s historic 19-wicket haul to bowl England to victory versus Australia in 1956 remains unmatched.
  • Derek Underwood (8 wickets) and Lance Gibbs (5 wickets) bowled England and West Indies to a draw in 1966.
  • In 1999, South African spinner Pat Symcox took 4-wicket hauls in both innings to foil England’s victory push.

So finger spinners have enjoyed bowling at The Oval, making it challenging for teams to force results and adding intrigue to fourth innings run chases.

Famous Ashes Matches

The Oval holds almost mythical status as being the venue for iconic Ashes moments over the years:

  • Sir Donald Bradman’s farewell test innings of 274 runs in 1948 that exemplified his batting genius one final time.
  • England’s Mike Smith, Denis Compton and Len Hutton all scoring big tons in the 1953 Ashes test to secure the urn.
  • Legendary all-rounder Ian Botham taking a 13 wicket match haul to single-handedly win the Ashes for England in 1981.
  • Steve Waugh’s famous line ‘You just dropped the Ashes’ to Herschelle Gibbs in 1999 encapsulating Australian grit.
  • Alastair Cook’s stellar 190 to help England ultimately regain the Ashes from Australia in 2015.

So the very essence of the storied England-Australia cricket rivalry has been aptly captured in numerous classic Ashes encounters staged at The Oval over the decades.

Batting Records

The Oval has been a happy hunting ground for legendary batters over the years as the wickets are more batsman-friendly. Some batting records scripted here:

  • Sir Len Hutton’s herculean innings of 364 versus Australia in 1938 remains the highest individual test score at The Oval.
  • Sir Alastair Cook hit 243 versus West Indies in 2012 which is the highest score by an England batsman at The Oval.
  • Clive Lloyd smacked 242 against England in 1973 that stands as the highest individual score by an overseas player at The Oval.
  • Kumar Sangakkara has scored 5 centuries at The Oval, more than any other batsman.

So The Oval has witnessed some truly mammoth innings from batting giants spanning across eras and generations. A statistician’s delight!

Highest Team Totals

The Oval has seen its fair share of gargantuan team totals over the years as batsmen have made merry:

  • England posted a mammoth 903/7 versus Australia during their 1938 Ashes domination.
  • Australia scored 675 in the 1930 Ashes test here with Don Bradman slamming 232 surrounded by other batting heroes.
  • England themselves racked up 589/3 versus India in 1990 powered by Gooch’s monumental 333.
  • South Africa blasted a massive 682/6 versus England in 2003 built around Gibbs’ double ton.

So be it fast bowling or spin, Oval has regularly witnessed some epic batting performances enabling teams to amass huge totals over its 140 years of hosting test cricket.


The Oval has built its reputation as a hunting ground for batsmen with its true bounce and high-scoring nature. So it has logically witnessed some of test cricket’s most spectacular successful fourth innings run chases over the decades.

Brian Lara and Don Bradman orchestrating mammoth chases over 300 runs highlight why they were batting maestros. We also saw rear guard epics from the likes of Dravid. It has also been a supreme venue for Ashes drama.

So any test staged at The Oval promises entertainment and excitement due its rich cricketing history. The highest fourth innings totals chased here exemplify why Oval remains a batsman’s paradise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has scored the most test runs at The Oval?

Sir Alastair Cook has scored the most runs (1,659) by any player at The Oval across all test matches.

Which player has hit the most test centuries at The Oval?

Kumar Sangakkara tops the list with 5 test centuries at The Oval – the most by any batsman.

What is the average 4th innings score chased successfully at The Oval?

The average 4th innings score successfully chased at The Oval in Test matches is 275 runs.

Who hit the fastest test century ever at The Oval?

Sir Vivian Richards holds the record for the fastest ever test hundred at The Oval, scored off just 56 deliveries in 1986.

Which player has the best bowling figures at The Oval?

Jim Laker’s 19 wickets for 90 runs in 1956 remain the best ever bowling analysis recorded at The Oval cricket ground in Test matches.

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