Test cricket is synonymous with playing calm strokes instead of the blistering pace of the limited-over formats. While we have seen many an innings from the likes of VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, and Matthew Hayden, all of whom were known for their strong performances in Test cricket, there were some batsmen who took advantage of favourable pitch conditions or subpar bowling and managed to hit quickfire runs to help their team across the line.
On that note, we take a look at five players who have written their names in the annals of history books by quickfire centuries in Test cricket:
Jack Gregory vs South Africa – 67 balls (November 1921)
While touring South Africa in 1921, Jack Gregory had established himself as a legendary icon. In the first Test, he became one of two players to pick up a half-century, a five-wicket haul and five catches in a game. He backed that up with a century in the second Test, a record which took more than six decades to break, when Viv Richards did it in 1986, but more on that later below.
Gregory’s knock included 19 fours and two sixes, eventually losing his wicket for 119. Moreover, he achieved this feat in 70 minutes, a record which is yet to be broken in Test cricket.
Adam Gilchrist vs England – 57 balls (December 2006)
The Aussies have a knack for etching their names in record books and Adam Gilchrist is no different. Former skipper and World Cup winner with the team from Down Under, Gilchrist has many an innings to boast his prowess, including the fourth fastest Test century against England at home.
Achieving the feat in 57 balls, Gilchrist went on to score an unbeaten 102 at a strike-rate of 172.88. Ironically, he lost his wicket for a duck in the first innings of the game.
Viv Richards vs England – 56 balls (April 1986)
When former West Indies stalwart Viv Richards hit a 56-ball century against England, he broke the aforementioned record of Jack Gregory that stood since 1921. Having already sealed the series with four wins, the Windies went full throttle against the English in the fifth Test as well.
Richards’ knock came in the second innings, with the Windies legend hitting 110 off 58 balls at a strike-rate of 189.65 before declaring the innings. At the peak of their abilities, West Indies went on to beat England by 240 runs and complete a 5-0 whitewash.
Misbah-ul-Haq vs Australia – 56 balls (October 2014)
The former Pakistan skipper is known for his slow innings and had a penchant for rescuing his side from imminent loss on many occasions. When Australia toured Pakistan in the latter’s adopted home in UAE, the Aussies were in for a surprise after losing the first Test. Misbah had hit a century in the first innings and backed up his performance with another century off 56 balls, which set up a massive total of 603 for Australia to chase down.
In response, the Aussies only managed 246 and lost the match by 356 runs.
Brendon McCullum vs Australia – 54 balls (February 2016)
Brendon McCullum is synonymous with powerful knocks all through his illustrious career, and his last-ever Test match was no different. McCullum helped his side from 32/2 to a staggering 370 courtesy of a blistering 145 runs off 79 balls at a strike-rate of 183.54, with his century coming in just 56 balls.
His century currently stands as the fastest ever in term of balls as well as the fifth-fastest in term of minutes (78 minutes). Although Australia managed to snatch the victory with a strong comeback, McCullum had already written his name in record books.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Greg Wood