What is the highest number of no-balls ever bowled in a Test match?

Ravichandran Ashwin

India bowled a staggering 25 no-balls against England in the first Test in Chennai. However, this number is not even close to the highest number of no-balls delivered in a Test match.

Believe it or not, the record for most no-balls in the longest format is a whopping 103. This was achieved in a 1977 Test between West Indies and Pakistan in Bridgetown, Barbados. The two teams together conceded 173 extra runs in 395.2 overs.

West Indies were a part of the top five games of this list which goes as – 103, 90, 81,79 and 78 no-balls. More interestingly, Bridgetown hosted four out of these five encounters.

West Indies also made the top-two in the repertoire of most no-balls bowled in an innings. However, the culprits in these games were Australia and England, who each bowled 40 no-balls in 1986 and 1989 respectively.

The most no-balls in a Test match involving India is 65, which came in 2004 against Australia in Sydney. Indian bowlers have delivered a maximum of 34 false balls in a single dig that came against the West Indies in Delhi in 1979.

In the ongoing Test match, India have bowled the most no-balls in the last 10 years. Even Ravichandran Ashwin, who held the feat of going through the most number of Tests without overstepping (75), bowled a no-ball on Monday.

There are three possible reasons behind this precipitous surge in no-balls. For one, the scope of errors from on-field umpires has decreased as the third umpire now checks every ball for overstepping.

Secondly, players like Ishant Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem, who have overstepped the most in Chennai, haven’t had much practice of late. A third school of thought says the Indians have been careless about the issue in the nets.

Whatever may be the reason, the massive number of no-balls haven’t hurt the hosts yet but could do so in the future. Until then, Netizens weren’t happy with the dismal show by the Indians and the following are the best of the reactions on Twitter.

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