HomeAnalysisHere are the Best Test innings of the Decade...

Here are the Best Test innings of the Decade – 2010 to 2019

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The last decade was an eventful one for Test Cricket, a format still regarded by the purists as the litmus test to measure a cricketer’s character and strength of mind.
A streak of 10 back-to-back years of 5-day Cricket produced several exhilarating, thrilling, and often historic moments for world cricket.
The likes of India produced two showmen with the bat as the likes of Rohit, now a Test-regular and Kohli have gone on to forge strong, stellar careers as Smith and Warner’s return has bolstered the contest among the best willow wielders even in the most grueling template of Cricket.
While on the one hand, Ireland played its maiden Test, among the finest moments of the last decade, teams like Afghanistan made their long-form debut, playing India, in India.
Teams like New Zealand and West Indies continued to produce and develop fine and where one can see, long –term Test match prospects, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have fought inner demons to sustain themselves in the most grilling form of Cricket.
Yet, no substantial team score can ever reach a peak in the absence of a strong individual effort- isn’t it? So which were the best test innings of the decade?

1. Faf arrives in Test cricket with heroic ton vs Aussies, November 2012

best Test innings of the decade
Long before Faf du Plessis went on to stroke his way to 387 World Cup runs in the 2019 edition of Cricket’s premier event, way before he compiled a hefty 185, the second-highest individual ODI score, he was once a young Test debutant, one who burst on the scene battling through an Australian pace attack comprising Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, and the GOAT Nathan Lyon.
The occasion was the 2nd Test, at the Adelaide Oval, in November of 2012. However, despite the Proteas requiring 410 on the surface that assisted batsmen, it wasn’t going to be any easy as they slipped from 2-36 to 4-45, ultimately being 5-134.
The triptych of Lyon, Hilfenhaus, and Siddle hovering around an embattled Protea side akin to vultures narrowing down on prey, one man stood up and held the team aloft on his muscular shoulders.
Faf first held onto an end giving company to AB and later controlled the storm with the great Kallis alongside. Supported by the Protea tail that saw Steyn, Kleinveldt, and Morkel batting for 74 crucial minutes, Faf weathered the improbable, as he bailed out the South Africans with a definitive, debut Test hundred, a fantastically collected 110 off 376 deliveries.
While we’ve grown accustomed to du Plessis’ muscular demolition of bowlers, particularly in the limited-overs format, it was his ability to focus during crucial hours and the quality of seeming indomitable during duress- exemplified by his stay at the crease for 376 balls, i.e., 466 minutes- that earned the stylish South African praise from globe-trotting headlines.

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2. Pujara’s long, obdurate vigil against Australia, Ranchi, 2017

best Test innings of the decade
Pujara’s cautious technique and workhorse approach serve a fitting throwback to the days of the ‘Wall’ Dravid. He echoes the sentiment of guarding the wicket and batting session after session with purity and a sense of uncomplicatedness.
And ever since the great Rahul Dravid hung his boots, Cheteshwar Pujara’s presence at the famous no.3 slot has uplifted the morale of the team and given Test match fans something to look forward to.
His patience at the middle and the ability to accumulate runs often in difficult situations make him second to none in terms of reliability, such a keen factor in a Test specialist.
And he proved just that when he registered the longest stay by an Indian batsman in the middle during his marathon knock of 202 that came of 525 deliveries.
That Pujara, in the process of scoring a memorable double ton, batted around 11 hours made him the batsman to have played the most number of deliveries in a single Test inning, ever. In so doing, he broke the record of someone he’s admired greatly; Rahul Dravid, who while facing 495 balls, previously held the record of facing most deliveries ever by a batsman in Test cricket.

3. Shai Hope’s Headingley blast against England, Leeds, 2017

best Test innings of the decade
How glad, must it be asked, should the West Indies be feeling that they have found a batsman as reliable and classy as Shai Hope?
Someone who loves to bat for long hours and puts a high price on his wicket, long before Hope notched up over 1300 ODI runs in 2019, he proved his class in cricket’s longest and most obdurate format well over two years back in time.
On his maiden tour to England, an overseas assignment that tasked him against the trio of Anderson, Broad, and Stokes, the technically sound right-hander perhaps produced an inning of a lifetime and one that made its way to history books by becoming the West Indian to strike back-to-back hundreds at the Headingley, at Leeds.
A 147 off 253 balls and a 118 off 211 balls, Hope, in the process of guiding West Indies to an exhilarating victory, broke a 127-year record by becoming the only batsman to strike consecutive hundreds at Leeds whilst batting on for a vigorous, massive, and you lose the adjectives- 664 minutes in all.
Yet, despite showing grace and exuding class in his young career, Hope, who’s struck handsomely and consistently in ODIs hasn’t really capitalized in the Test arena, an area he’ll be keen to work out in 2020.

4. Brendon McCullum’s tour-de-force effort vs India, Wellington, Feb. 2014

best Test innings of the decade
New Zealand Cricket isn’t particularly known for its swashbuckling batsmen. Nor is it known for its batsmen’s fieriness. But exceptions always thrive and make their cricket worth everyone’s while.
Who better to exemplify this than the former captain and arguably, the most audacious stroke maker from the Kiwi-land: Brendon McCullum.
In taking an Indian attack powered by the likes of Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, and Mohammad Shami appear wearier akin to tired windmills that can no longer move an inch of their blades, McCullum produced his first, and in effect, New Zealand Cricket’s first and thus far, only triple ton in Test match history.
In the process of breaking the great Martin Crowe’s highest Test score, McCullum produced a dynamite knock of 302 that included 32 boundaries and 4 sixes, thus plundering over half of his knock through hits to the fence. That he batted for 775 minutes, facing 559 deliveries served an urgent reminder to Baz’ critics who often touted his flamboyance on the crease as being the thaw in the path that prevented him from scoring innings of great substance and magnitude.
McCullum’s 302, despite starring in a draw is one of the best Test innings of the decade.

5. David Warner’s incredible Test triple, November 2019

best Test innings of the decade
A test ton is always special. A double is always promising but a triple is simply incredible. But that it comes in a belligerent fashion makes it all the much exciting and enthralling.
David Warner’s Test triple was incredible not only for the reason that he struck a feisty Test ton at the back of a horrible Ashes failure of 2019 but also for the reason that his effort expanded the column of Australians who’ve struck a Test triple, some of which include- Sir Don, Matt Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mark Taylor.
Warner’s 335 was a powerful rebuttal of his critics who perhaps were a bit too forthcoming in suppressing his international return a failure at the back of a disappointing Ashes.
Fluent and fiery, Warner stroked what became the fourth-fastest Test triple ever registered in the history of cricket and in the process of plundering Abbas, Afridi, Yasir Shah, notched one of the top Test innings of the decade, raising his triple off just 389 balls.

6. Kusal Perera’s thrilling hundred against the Proteas, February 2019

best Test innings of the decade
When you glaze past the firmament of Sri Lankan cricket, then you offer more than just a fleeting glance at the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, and Arvinda de Silva, batsmen who conjured scores of runs everywhere.
But perhaps none did in a more thrilling fashion than left-hander Kusal Perera who notched up what both fans and observers reckon was perhaps the greatest Test innings ever by a Sri Lankan.
Perera fired an unbeaten 153, against South Africa, in South Africa, taking his team home in the unlikeliest of circumstances on a Durban pitch that was anything but a batting paradise. In recording a hair-raising, record-shattering 1-wicket victory, against the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, and Keshav Maharaj, who took 7 wickets among them, Perera’s effort moved fans to a state of tears while it drew awe even from Faf’s camp.
While 1 wicket wins are about as rare as they are thrilling, the fact that a batsman carries his bat through scoring exactly 50 percent of the side’s score makes the effort every bit daring as its remarkable.
Perera’s 153, one of the best Test innings of the decade emerged as an unmoved monument amid chaos and unexpectedness as Sri Lanka, chasing 304 plunged from being 1 for 9, 2 for 51, then 3 for 53 being finally 90 down for 5 before further misery caused them to slip to 8 down for 153 requiring another 150 to draw and 151 to win.
This is precisely when the Perera magic prevailed over the South Africans, causing shock and awe in equal measure.

7. Karun Nair’s historic Test triple, vs England, Chennai, December 2016

best Test innings of the decade
It’s a bit of a shame that one hardly sees someone so promising as Karun Nair today. This is despite Nair, who’s played no more than 6 Tests and is just 28, scored a Test triple- not an everyday occurrence- in just the 3rd Test of his career.
Back in December of 2016, a less-known Karun Nair captured the imagination of cricket lovers by stroking his way to an incredible 303, a knock that catapulted India to a mammoth team total of 759 for 7, the highest-by the Indian side in the longest format.
But Nair’s moment of glory didn’t come before enduring early struggles and overcoming vulnerabilities against Broad and Stokes, who tested his technique to the hilt, the youngster emerging unscathed in the end.
Power cover drives, glowing pull strokes, and runs everywhere from square of the wicket to the mid-wicket region featured in the path to the third hundred. But Nair’s incredible effort was also emblematic of several firsts’ the batsman becoming the only one, thus far, to convert his maiden Test hundred into a Triple, whilst also becoming the only other Indian post-Sehwag to register a Triple hundred in the format.
One of the best Test innings of the decade resulted in an innings victory for India.

8. Darren Bravo’s lone heroics, vs Pakistan, October 2016

best Test innings of the decade
It didn’t take long for the West Indies to produce another talent who at one point in his career, seemed destined to at least near Lara’s peaks, if not better the trailblazing Trinidadian.
In Darren Bravo- 3500 plus Test runs, 8 hundred, 17 fifties- it seemed the baton for batting excellence in Tests had passed from Lara to someone who seemed a genuine successor.
And Bravo, who’s also plundered a Test double, in New Zealand served a fitting reminder of why he was so highly rated as he all but took his team home against an attacking Pakistani bowling coup in the UAE, in 2016, tackling Wahab, Amir, Yasir Shah, and company.
Producing an inning of very high substance, laced with elegant drives and the classiest of pulls, Bravo, who conjured 116 thrived under pressure, took the West Indians within the closest possible range of a daunting 345, during his 249 ball and 406-minute long vigil.
In doing so, the stylish left-hander, who currently finds himself with some work to do to return to familiar fluent scoring ways in Tests, became the first batsman to score a hundred in the fourth innings of a day-nighter and also became the first left-hander to do so.
Also, Bravo’s valiant albeit heroic century turned out to be the first-ever in a Pink-Ball Test, a knock which considering the pressure it withstood is among the best Test innings of the decade.

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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