Nothing can match the drama, thrill, and excitement a Test match brings to the table. After all, it is the ultimate and purest format of the gentleman’s game.

Over the years, the game has seen teams put in everything to churn out some of the finest comebacks. And that’s the beauty of Test cricket, as it gives teams one more chance to turn the tables on the opponent.

Some of those comebacks stand out prominently, as the teams had their backs against the walls. These teams fought back not just against the opponent but also against the odds.

In this article, we’ll list the teams that won Test matches after following on. (If you don’t know what follow on means, then read our guide on the same here.)

Australia vs England, 1894 | Winner: England

The first of the lot involved arch-rivals Australia and England, playing the first match of the 1894-95 Ashes Series. Cricket’s oldest rivalry has always come up with the fiercest battles, and this match certainly goes down as one of the best.

After winning the toss, Australia opted to bat first on a wonderful pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The hosts faced a shaky start, losing 3 wickets on 21 runs. However, George Giffen (161) and Syd Gregory (201) pulled Australia out of the precarious situation, posting 586 runs on the board.

In response, England kept losing wickets at regular intervals, meaning they could muster only 325 runs. With a deficit of 261 runs, the Aussies enforced the follow-on on the touring English side.

Coming to bat again, Albert Ward’s 117 runs, along with some crucial contributions from middle and lower-order batters, helped England score 437 runs. The visitors set a target of 177 runs for Australia.

During the chase, Australia were in a good position on 113 for 2 at the end of the fifth day. But the sixth day witnessed a tremendous bowling effort from England, led by Bobby Peel (6/67).

The England bowlers took the next 8 wickets for 53 runs, scripting a major turnaround in the match. England won the match by a mere 10 runs, becoming the first team to win after following on in Tests.

England vs Australia, 1981 | Winner: England

The second instance happened after a gap of almost 87 years. This 1981 Headingley thriller again featured England and Australia, with the former yet again beating the odds.

Australia elected to bat first, opener John Dyson (102), captain Kim Hughes (89), and Graham Yallop (58) led their charge against England. The Aussies declared their first innings on 401/9.

In reply, England’s batters couldn’t stand in front of the Australian bowling attack. The hosts were wrapped up for 174 runs, with Ian Botham’s 50 being the highest score.

Australia had a healthy lead of 227 runs and asked England to follow on. Batting in the second innings, England had a tumultuous start and were reeling at 135 for 7.

However, Botham again stepped up, forging a much-needed partnership of 117 runs for the 8th wicket with Graham Dilley. Eventually, England were bowled out for 356 runs, with Ian Botham remaining not out on 149 runs.

With a target of 130 runs in sight, the visitors tumbled on 111 runs, thanks to Bob Willis’ 8 wickets for 43 runs. England registered a victory by 18 runs, making it only the second time that a team won a Test match after a follow-on.

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India vs Australia, 2001 | Winner: India

Australia is the only team to lose 3 Test matches after enforcing the follow-on on the opposition. After 2 close matches against England, a dominant Australia with a 16-match winning streak faced India at the Eden Gardens.

Australia had won the first match of the 3-match Test series, and riding on that confidence boost, the visitors elected to bat first. The Australian openers, Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater, provided a solid start, scoring 103 runs for the first wicket.

Then Hayden partnered with Justin Langer for 90 runs. But once both returned to the pavilion, Australia lost wickets at regular intervals. Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick left them at 269 for 8. However, captain Steve Waugh (110) took the mantle in his hand and pushed his team’s total to 445 runs.

It was India’s time to respond, but barring 5 batters, no one crossed the double-digit mark. India were bundled out for 171 runs and trailed by 274 runs.

After being asked to follow on, India were in a tough spot at 232 for 4. However, the pair of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched an all-important partnership of 376 runs for the fifth wicket.

This mammoth partnership changed the momentum of the match, helping India declare on 657/7 and setting a target of 384 runs. The match was on its last day, with Australia having 75 overs to either win or draw it.

At the stroke of tea, Australia were on 161 for 3, with a draw being the most likely outcome of the match. But Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar had some other plans.

Both shared 7 wickets between them in the last session, rattling Australia on 212 runs to win the match by 171 runs — the exact total of their first innings!

New Zealand vs England, 2023 | Winner: New Zealand

The 2023 Wellington Test between New Zealand and England is hands down one of the greatest Test matches ever played. The hosts, New Zealand, were one down going into the second and last match of the series.

New Zealand won the toss and decided to bowl first. The Kiwis started well, dismissing England’s 3 wickets for 21 runs.

But then came Joe Root (153) and Harry Brook (186), who took the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the ground. Their fearless batting approach guided England to 435/8d.

In response, New Zealand mustered 209 runs, with a few fighting knocks from captain Tim Southee, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, and Tim Blundell. With a deficit of 226 runs, the visitors decided to impose a follow on.

New Zealand came to bat again, but this time they made a strong comeback. Riding on the back of a gutsy 132 from Kane Williamson and crucial contributions from other top-order batters, the Blackcaps scored 483 runs.

With a target of 258 runs in sight, England lost wickets at regular intervals until Root and Ben Stokes partnered for 121 runs. It looked like England would seal the deal, but the New Zealand bowlers retorted by removing both set batters in quick succession.

The match went down the wire, with New Zealand needing 1 wicket and England needing 2 runs to win the match. James Anderson nicked Neil Wagner’s delivery into the wicketkeeper’s hand, and New Zealand plucked a miraculous 1-run win.

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