Slow and steady wins the race. This is true for Test cricket where teams play with a different strategy as compared to the limited-overs format.

Batters usually take longer to settle down, read the conditions and nature of the pitch before accelerating the innings to keep the scoreboard ticking.

However, on some occasions, teams batting on Day 1 of a Test match have taken an attacking approach right from the word go and have posted massive totals on the first day itself.

The England cricket team holds the record for the highest Day 1 score in Test cricket.

Here are some of the biggest totals on Day 1.

Highest Day 1 score in Test cricket

Team Score Opponent Date Venue
England 506/4 Pakistan December 1, 2022 Rawalpindi
Australia 494/6 South africa December 9, 1910 Sydney
Australia 482/5 South Africa November 22, 2012 Adelaide
Australia 475/2 England August 18, 1934 The Oval
England 471/8 India August 15, 1936 The Oval
Australia 458/3 England July 11, 1930 Leeds
New Zealand 452/9d Zimbabwe August 7, 2005 Harare
Australia 450/10 South Africa November 12, 1921 Johannesburg
Sri Lanka 449/7 Bangladesh September 20, 2005 Colombo (PPS)
Australia 448/10 South Africa May 27, 1912 Manchester

England: 506/4 vs Pakistan | 2022

England broke Australia’s record for the highest score on Day 1 in Test cricket, when they hammered 506 runs on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan on December 1, 2022.

England, in the past few years, have been known for their Bazball approach in the longest format of the game and this was just another classic exhibition of the same.

The Ben Stokes-led England won the toss and elected to bat first. 

A quarter of players, namely Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook got their respective centuries on the same day, each striking at 100+ (barring Duckett, whose strike rate was close to 100) to make the Pakistani bowlers toil the entire day, getting 506/4.

Australia: 494/6 vs South Africa | 1910

The Australia cricket team held the record for the highest Day 1 score in Test cricket for 112 years before England bettered it in December 2022.

In the first Test of the South Africa tour of Australia 1910, the hosts posted 494/6 at the end of Day 1.

Top order batter Warren Bardsley and skipper Clem Hill registered individual tons to help the Aussies dominate on the opening day.

Thereafter, the South African batters succumbed under pressure as Australia recorded a huge victory by an innings and 114 runs.

Australia: 482/5 vs South africa | 2012

Australia features again on the list of highest Day 1 score in Test cricket and this time too, South Africa were at the receiving end.

The second Test of the South Africa tour of Australia 2012 saw veterans David Warner and Mike Hussey smash tons as the Kangaroos finished Day 1 on 482/5.

The high-scoring match saw a total of 1,453 runs and 36 wickets over the five days, only for the contest to end in an enthralling draw.

Australia: 475/2 vs England | 1934

During Australia’s tour of England in 1934, the Aussies closed Day 1 of the fifth Test with 475/2 on the board as opener Bill Ponsford unbeaten on 205. 

Their final first innings score read 701/10. The Englishmen never recovered from their poor bowling show and faced a massive 562-run defeat. 

England: 471/8 vs India | 1936

England recorded one of their highest Day 1 scores in Test cricket in 1936, when they hosted India for a three-match Test series.

In the final match, the hosts’ middle-order batsman Wally Hammond, who also features among cricketers with most double centuries in Tests, smashed yet another 200-plus score to leave the tourists reeling on Day 1, with the scorecard reading 471/8

The match resulted in England’s favour as they emerged victorious by nine wickets.

India's highest Day 1 score in Test cricket

Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team's highest score on Day 1 of a Test match is 417/2 against Sri Lanka in 2009. In the match at Kanpur, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag scored 167 and 131, respectively, in a dominant batting effort.

India ended with a score of 642. S Sreesanth's fiery spells set up a victory by an innings and 144 runs.


Photo credit: Alamy