Think of Test cricket and the first thing that pops to mind is the tranquillity the format brings along with it. The introduction of T20 cricket might have changed the approach of modern-day cricketers, yet the fact remains that not everyone can cope with the mentality that the longest format requires.
Test cricket may very well be tedious at times, but it still demands composure from everyone associated in the game. Thanks to the concept of a draw, slow but steady innings from a single batsman can take his team out of disquiet.
That said, we give you five slowest centuries in Test cricket - in terms of minutes played. Unsurprisingly, all five Test matches ended in a draw.
Sanjay Manjrekar - 500 minutes vs Zimbabwe, 1992
It was during the Indian cricket team’s only Test against Zimbabwe in October 1992 that Sanjay Manjrekar scored the fifth slowest Test century. It’s also the slowest Test century by an Indian player.
Zimbabwe had scored a whopping 456 in the first innings, and India needed a quality start to churn out anything positive from the game. Contrary to what was expected, the top-order collapsed, and by the time they had 219 runs on board, India had lost seven wickets. The only positive at the time was a certain Sanjay Manjrekar, who took 500 minutes to score his ton while facing 397 balls. India were eventually bowled out on Day 5, and now that there wasn't much time left, Zimbabwe decided to bat through the rest of the day to play out a draw.
Jeff Crowe - 516 minutes vs Sri Lanka, 1987
Jeff Crowe captained New Zealand's Test team on six different occasions. The first one came against Sri Lanka in 1987 when he scored the fourth slowest century in Test cricket. It was also, incidentally, his third and last century in Test match cricket.
Played in Colombo, the home side put on 397/9d, riding on the back of Brendon Kuruppu's double hundred. In response, the Kiwis lost their opening order quite early, finding themselves in a state of despair at 99/4.
This is when Jeff Crowe decided to step up and play out one of his finest innings. Taking out his time to settle, the Kiwi captain completed his ton in 516 minutes and remained unbeaten at 120 off 398 deliveries. He was duly supported by Sir Richard Hadlee, who scored 151 not out, as the game was drawn.
Asanka Gurusinha - 535 minutes vs Zimbabwe, 1994
Sri Lanka toured Zimbabwe in October 1994 for a full-fledged Test and ODI series, and it was during the first Test that Asanka Gurusinha scored the third slowest hundred in Test.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Sri Lanka lost Roshan Mahanama early but Zimbabwe were duly unaware of what was to follow. Asanka Gurusinha combined with Sanjeeva Ranatunga to stitch a 217 run partnership, with both the Sri Lankan batsmen getting a ton. Gurusinha, in particular, took a whopping 535 minutes to reach the landmark before eventually ending his innings at 128 off 461 deliveries.
Zimbabwe's innings was stretched until the last day, and after putting 319/8 on board, the match was drawn
Jackie McGlew - 545 minutes vs Australia, 1958
Australia toured South Africa in January 1958, and during the third Test of the tour, Jackie McGlew gave the visitors a run for their money.
Australia decided to bat and put a below-par total of 163 onboard, with only captain Ian Craig scoring a half-century. Opener Jackie McGlew saw his team tottering at 28/2 in response but then joined hands with John Waite to stitch a 231-run stand, with the former scoring a century in 545 minutes.
South Africa, however, failed to capitalise on the stand as their middle-order collapsed, falling from 259/2 to 384 all out. The collapse was triggered after the dismissal of Jackie McGlew, who got out for 105, after 575 minutes. With Australia managing 292/7 on the final day, the match was drawn.
Mudassar Nazar - 557 minutes vs England, 1977
During the first Test of England's tour of Pakistan in December 1977, Pakistan opener Mudassar Nazar scored 114 off 449 deliveries; an innings which lasted a whopping 591 minutes. He took nearly 10 hours in what is the slowest 100 in Test.
Pakistan had elected to bat first and despite losing two early wickets, they managed to put 407/9d on board. Mudassar Nazar, who combined with Haroon Rasheed to steady Pakistan's ship, took 557 minutes to complete his century, which, till date, remains the slowest Test ton of all time.
Mudassar Nazar’s ton is also the slowest century in Test in terms of balls faced, taking 419 deliveries to reach the landmark.
England, in response, crawled their way to 288 at a run rate of just 1.58 per over. Geoffery Boycott took nearly six hours for his 63, with the English batsman setting the tone of the innings. The match was eventually drawn after Pakistan's second innings score of 106/3.
As of now, these are the only Test centuries that have taken 500 minutes or more to complete.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ICC