Charting the History of the Highest Individual Test Innings Score Ever

Alex Telfer@@troyspeerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2014

Charting the History of the Highest Individual Test Innings Score Ever

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    Tom Shaw/Getty Images

    One of the most iconic images for a youngster dreaming of cricketing superstardom is the classic post-play photograph of the heroic batsman standing in front of the scoreboard with a huge amount of runs beside their name.

    The players on this list certainly had the opportunity to do that, having one-by-one each broken the record for the highest individual Test score.

    Perhaps surprisingly, over the entire 140 years of Test cricket, the torch has been handed over just 10 times.

    Let's take a closer look at each of the 10 players who have had the honour of being the proud owner of the highest individual score in Test cricket.

1. Charles Bannerman

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    Score: 165 not out

    When: March 1877

    Where: Melbourne, Australia

    Back in the 19th century, when Australia hosted England for the inaugural Test match, one player was going to emerge from the game with the honour of owning the highest individual score record. And like the Ashes just gone, it was an Australian who came out on top.

    Charles Bannerman, who also scored the first ever Test run, retired hurt on 165. This was a remarkable score considering the next highest in the entire match was 63, as the Aussies won by 45 runs.

    The opener, who was born in England, only scored 74 more runs in the remainder of his international career.

    Fact: Bannerman's huge score constituted 67.3 per cent of his side's total, which incredibly remains a record today, over 2,000+ Tests later.

2. Billy Murdoch

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    Score: 211 not out

    When: August 1884

    Where: Kennington Oval, London

    Charles Bannerman's record lasted for seven years during which time 15 Tests were contested until Billy Murdoch scored a double century for Australia on their tour of England.

    The Aussie skipper's knock, which came off 525 balls and contained 24 boundaries, proved to be in vain as England held on for a draw in this three-day fixture.

    Murdoch would only score one more international century in his career that lasted for 19 matches.

    Fact: Murdoch was one of just five players who have represented both England and Australia in Test cricket.


3. Tip Foster

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    Score: 287

    When: December 1903

    Where: SCG, Sydney, Australia

    The superbly named Reginald Erskine "Tip" Foster was obviously at home at Test level as he scored 287 in his first innings to shatter the existing record for an individual score and help England to a five-wicket win.

    The knock, which remains the highest total by a debutant, absorbed 419 balls and contained 37 boundaries.

    One of seven brothers, Foster passed away at the young age of 36 due to diabetes.

    Fact: Foster is the only man to have captained England at cricket and football, where he won seven international caps to go alongside his eight international cricket appearances.


4. Andy Sandham

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    Sabina Park no doubt looked a little different in 1930
    Sabina Park no doubt looked a little different in 1930Andres Leighton/Associated Press

    Score: 325

    When: April 1930

    Where: Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica

    The first Test match triple century was registered by England's Andy Sandham on a tour of the West Indies in 1930 and constituted the bulk of a team score of 836.

    Despite earning a first innings lead of over 500, the visitors decided to bat again, which enabled the 39-year-old to chalk up another half century for good measure.

    The match turned out to be Sandham's final Test, who went on to coach Surrey and also act as their scorer in his later years.

    Fact: The match when Sandham scored his triple ton was supposed to be a timeless Test; however, a draw was called when England had to catch their ferry home.

5. Don Bradman

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    Score: 334

    When: July 1930

    Where: Headingley, Leeds, UK

    Perhaps the first familiar name on the list, Sir Don Bradman took the record as part of a record-breaking Ashes series where he scored more than 900 runs.

    The Don, who struck 29 international centuries and famously finished on a career Test average of 99.94, made the score off just 448 balls which included 46 boundaries.

    Being a four-day fixture, despite conceding a first innings deficit of 175 runs, England managed to hold on and draw the match.

    Fact: Bradman once scored 100 runs off three eight-ball overs.

6. Wally Hammond

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    Score: 336 not out

    When: March/April 1933

    Where: Auckland, NZ

    The legendary Walter Hammond, who scored over 50,000 first-class runs, took the highest individual score record away from the Don with a brutal innings against New Zealand.

    With the triple hundred coming up in just 288 minutes, the knock contained 34 fours and 10 sixes, as Wally punished a weak Black Caps attack.

    Finishing his career with 22 centuries, Hammond is regarded as one of England's greatest ever batsmen.

    Fact: Hammond also scored 227 in the opening Test of the New Zealand tour which meant he finished with a series average of 563.

7. Len Hutton

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Score: 364

    When: August 1938

    Where: Kennington Oval, London, UK

    This must have been a good toss to win. After calling correctly, Walter Hammond decided to bat in this timeless Test. Three days later, England were still batting, having racked up the small matter of 903 runs.

    Chief to this was opener Len Hutton, who compiled a mammoth score to break his skipper's record. With Don Bradman absent hurt, the tired and fatigued Aussies were bowled out twice in less than 90 overs.

    The Yorkshireman is considered England's finest post-war batsman and scored over 40,000 career runs.

    Fact: Hutton faced 847 balls for his knock, the most deliveries a batsman has ever faced in a single innings.

8. Garry Sobers

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Score: 365 not out

    When: February 1958

    Where: Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica

    Hutton's grip on the record lasted for 19 years before the West Indian all-rounder Garry Sobers punished an injury ravaged Pakistan attack.

    Aged just 21, Sobers put on 446 for the second wicket with Conrad Hunte and flayed 38 boundaries to help set up an innings victory.

    The Barbadian is arguably the greatest all-rounder the game has ever seen, scoring over 8,000 Test runs and taking 235 wickets.

    Fact: During the West Indies innings, Pakistan opening bowler Fazal Mahmood grinded his way through an incredible 85.2 overs of fast medium pace, the fifth most deliveries ever bowled by an individual player.

9. Brian Lara

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    Score: 375

    When: April 1994

    Where: Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua

    Thirty-five years passed before the record was broken again, and it was another West Indies batsman who would be holding aloft his bat to the crowd.

    Brian Charles Lara, the fluid left-hander, flayed England's sorry attack to all parts of the ground to rack up 375 off 538 balls.

    In one of those matches that would have non-cricket fans scratching their heads, the Windies racked up 593 in two days before England matched the score in 206.1 attritional overs. The draw was agreed shortly after.

    Fact: A few weeks after breaking the Test record, Lara put Durham's attack to the sword to score 501 runs in the county championship and set the highest ever individual first-class score.

10. Matthew Hayden

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    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    Score: 380

    When: October 2003

    Where: WACA, Perth, Australia

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about Matthew Hayden's monster innings at Perth against Zimbabwe was his run rate.

    With 11 sixes and 38 fours, the powerful Queenslander smashed the Africans' weak bowling attack all over the park to score 380 off just 437 balls.

    As per a lot of these scores, they actually tend to make the match itself incredibly dull. Australia clocked up 735/6 declared and bowled Zimbabwe out twice to win by 175 runs.

    Fact: Hayden has published two best-selling cookbooks in Australia, compiled from recipes and tips he picked up on his cricketing travels.

11. Brian Lara

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    Tom Shaw/Getty Images

    Score: 400 not out

    When: April 2004

    Where: Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua

    Finally, 10 years after Brian Lara first spent a few days slapping England's unfortunate bowlers around the Antigua Recreation Ground, he decided to do it all again.

    This time as captain, the Trinidadian went 25 runs better and scored the first ever quadruple Test match century off only 582 balls, which included 43 fours and 4 sixes.

    The match itself ended in a draw, and Lara's epic score remains unbeaten almost a decade on.

    Fact: England's pace attack in the game comprised of 2005 Ashes heroes Flintoff, Harmison, Jones and Hoggard, who combined to bowl 119 overs for three wickets at a cost of 429 runs.