Among all the feats that one can achieve in Test cricket, reaching a triple century appears to be the most difficult one for it requires several hours of concentration, patience, and perseverance from the batsman. A rare moment of indiscretion is enough to bring curtains on what could have been the greatest knock ever played, earning the player plenty of admiration and accolades. While there are quite a few in the history of the sport to score a triple century, only a handful have chronicled it at a brisk pace. The cricketing fraternity still hasn’t recovered from the brutal onslaught inflicted on the opposition bowlers, trying to fathom the audacity with which it was struck. The knocks as expected made their way into record books of cricket and act as a source of inspiration for young cricketers in face of adversity. In the below piece, we look at 5 batsmen to score the fastest triple century in Test cricket:
1. Virender Sehwag – 278 balls
The Nawab of Najafgarh stroked this wonderful inning against South Africa during the 1st Test at Chennai in 2008. Batting first, South Africa posted a huge total of 540 in the first innings on the back of knocks of 159(262) by Amla and 94(156) by McKenzie. Harbhajan picked a fifer for the hosts, stopping the South African juggernaut.
In reply, India batted with freedom, hammering 627 in their first innings, owing to the blitzkrieg knock of 319(304) by Sehwag and 111(291) by Dravid. The former with this effort became the fastest to reach the landmark, mustering it in just 278 balls.
With a lead of just over 80, India couldn’t have afforded to take the visitors for granted. South Africa yet again displayed their batting prowess, scoring 331-5 in the second innings and ending the contest in a draw. Once again, McKenzie and Amla were among the runs, smashing 155(339) and 81(148) respectively to conjure a desired result for the tourists.
2. Matthew Hayden – 362 balls
The powerful Australian opener, Hayden achieved the landmark against Zimbabwe during the 1st Test at Perth in 2003. Put into bat first, Australia piled up a mountain of runs on the board, scoring 735-6 in the first innings on the back of a belligerent knock of 380(437) by Hayden and 113(94) by Gilchrist. The former in the process became the second fastest to score a triple century, going past the milestone in 362 balls.
Zimbabwe, unfortunately, had no answers to the phenomenal batting effort from the Australians, getting decimated for 239 in the first innings and 321 in the second innings, having enforced the follow-on. Both Lee and Bichel were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, who scalped 3-48 and 4-63 in the first and second innings respectively, helping Australia win the encounter by an innings and 175 runs.
3. Virender Sehwag – 364 balls
One of the fierce strikers of the cricket ball, Sehwag yet again features in the list for a knock plundered against arch-rivals Pakistan during the 1st Test at Multan in 2004. Having chosen to bat first, India posted a gargantuan total of 675-5 in the first innings, courtesy blistering knocks of 309(375) by Sehwag and 194(348) by Tendulkar. The former also became the third-fastest to complete the landmark, achieving it in only 364 balls.
Pakistan, in return, were dismissed for 407 in their first innings, who could reach there on the back of an innings of 91(151) by Hameed and 77(118) by Inzamam. Pathan snapped up 4-100 for the visitors. India rightly enforced the follow-on and yet again demolished the Pakistani line-up for 216, winning the Test by an innings and 52 runs. Kumble grabbed 6-72 for the Indians this time around, registering a memorable victory in the opposition backyard.
4. Karun Nair – 381 balls
A prolific Karnataka batsman, Nair timed this knock against England during the 5th Test at Chennai in 2016. England, who batted first, managed a commanding total of 477 in the first innings, reaching there on the back of knocks of 146(262) by Ali and 88(144) by Root. Jadeja snapped up 3-106 for the hosts to bring an end to the English batting masterclass.
In response, India showcased their prowess at home, garnering 759-7 in their first innings, owing to mind-boggling innings of 199(311) by Rahul and 303(381) by Nair. The latter in the process became the fourth-fastest and second Indian to score a triple century, smacking it in 381 balls.
Given the hefty lead and excessive assistance for the spinners, India bowled England out for 207 in the second innings, a courtesy wonderful exhibition of left-arm spin bowling by Jadeja, who picked up 7-48 and assisted India in winning the 5th and the final Test by an innings and 75 runs.
5. David Warner – 389 balls
The current mainstay for Australia at the top of the order across all three formats, Warner scored this knock against Pakistan during the 2nd Test at Adelaide in 2019. Choosing to bat first, Australia managed a massive total of 589-3 in the first innings, courtesy excellent knocks of 335(418) by Warner and 162(238) by Labuschagne. The former accomplished the triple century in 389 balls and became the fifth-fastest to do so in the history of the sport.
Pakistan, in reply, were skittled out for 302 in their first innings, bestowing Australia a mammoth lead. The hosts rightly enforced the follow-on and cleaned up the visitors for an even lower score in the second innings, 239 to be precise, and won the one-sided affair by an innings and 48 runs. Apart from Warner, the Aussie bowling duo of Starc and Lyon stole the limelight, picking up 6-66 and 5-69 in the first and second innings respectively to end the proceedings for Pakistan.