Chennai | 19th December 2016
Ever since England opener Andy Sandham stroked his way to 325 (640 balls, 28 fours) against the West Indies in the 4th Test of 1930 at Sabina Park, it has been a dream for batsman to crown their career by achieving a triple century in test cricket. It took 53 long years since the birth of test cricket for Sandham to break the 300 run mark for the first time as he helped England make 849 runs in a match that was ultimately drawn.
In the following decade leading to the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the flood gates were opened as the triple ton mark was reached four more times by several greats of the game.
Sir Don Bradman reached this feat twice. He scored 309 in a day (see photo) during his epic 334 in 1930 in the Ashes series against England. Bradman then scored 304 in 1934 in the Ashes battle with England.
Wally Hammond took over Bradman's record when he scored 336 out of England’s 548-7 declared as they had the upper hand in a draw with New Zealand at Eden Park in 1933.
This golden period of triple centuries was brought to a conclusion with a monumental knock by 22-year old Len Hutton against Australia in 1938 at the Oval. His 364 took a massive 847 balls and contained 35 fours.
England went onto win by an innings and 579 runs after they eventually declared at 903-7, a record that stood until 1997 when Sri Lanka bettered it with a massive 952-6. During this record breaking total against India, Sanath Jayasuriya became the first ever Sri Lankan to make a triple century with 340 which contained 36 fours and two sixers.
Hutton’s record stood for twenty years until Sir Gary Sobers made 365 not out as the West Indies made 790-3 to win by an innings against Pakistan in 1958 at Sabina Park. 36 years later, Sobers was at the ground when Brian Lara moved past his record when he smashed 375 not out against England in the 5th Test at Antigua in 1994.
Australian opener Matt Hayden took the record off Lara when he compiled 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003 at Perth as the visitors were crushed by an innings and 175 runs.
Just 6 months later, Brian Lara regained the record when he became the first ever batsman to cross the quadruple century mark with his epic 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.
Since this high watermark of scoring, there has been a spate of triple tons but none have gone past Lara’s record. The closest attempt was when Mahela Jayawardena made 374 against South Africa before he was bowled by Andrew Nel during the 1st Test at the SSC in Colombo in 2006.
Indian opener Virendra Sehwag made 309 against Pakistan in 2004 and 319 against South Africa in 2008 to join Bradman and Lara as the only batsmen to score more than one triple ton. Sehwag’s knock against South Africa is also the fastest recorded triple ton when he achieved this feat in 278 balls.
West Indian opener Chris Gayle scored 317 against South Africa in 2005 at Antigua. The next batsman to score a test triple ton was Pakistani captain Younis Khan when he complied 313 against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium in 2009.
Michael Clarke scored an unbeaten 329 to wipe out India by an innings in the 2nd Test at the SCG in Jan 2012.
A maiden triple ton was scored by Hashim Amla in the first test against England at the Oval. Amla's 311 not out made him the first ever South African to score a triple ton.
The next triple century was posted by Kumar Sangakkara against minnows, Bangladesh in Feb 2014. This made him the 3rd triple centurion from Sri Lanka, joining Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardena.
Brendon McCullum batted 13 hours to save New Zealand against India in the 2nd Test in Wellington (Feb 2014) - during this innings, he also became the first ever Kiwi to score a triple ton. McCullum's 302 surpassed Martin Crowe's 299 - compiled at the same ground in 1991.
Pakistani opener Azhar Ali struck 302 not out in the first Test against the West Indies in Oct 2016. Azhar became the fourth Pakistani to gain this honour after Hanif Mohammad, Inzaman Ul Haq and Younis Khan.
In Dec 2016, Karun Nair became the second Indian batsman to score a test triple hundred (303 not out) as India scored a massive 759 for seven against England at Chennai in the 5th Test. It was Nair's maiden test ton.
Amongst the many greats of the game that did not record a triple are:
Suprisingly, 4 of the top 5 run scorers in Test cricket never made a triple century. Only Brian Lara from this Top 5 run scorers list made a triple century.
The full list of players who have scored triple tons in test cricket is shown below in order of their score.
Source: CricketCrowd Staff Reporter
Brian Lara breaking the world record for the second time. This time he broke Matthew Hayden's 380 and went on to score 400 against England.
He became the first ever person to register a quadruple hundred in tests. Ridley Jacobs was not out on 107 at the time.
4th Test 10 April 2004
Sobers 365 not out took the record for the highest ever test score from Hutton 364.
In sequence it was then broken by Lara 375 not out then Hayden 380 and finally it was regained by Lara 400 not out.
Don Bradman scored four hundreds including the then highest score in test cricket of 334 during the 3rd Test at Leeds.
The series was all squared at 1-1 when the teams assembled at the Oval for the 5th Test. Australia secured the Ashes with a innings and 39 run win.
Newcomer Karun Nair scored an epic 303 not out, his maiden century, as India posted a massive 759 for seven.
Nair and Ravindra Jadeja (51) combined for a whirlwind seventh wicket partnership that crossed the 100 run mark in under 15 overs before skipper Virat Kohli declared on 759-7.
Skipper Alastair Cook was unbeaten on three with Keaton Jennings on nine, having safely dealt with 5 overs before stumps. England 477 and 12 for 0 trail India 759 for 7 dec (Nair 303*, Rahul 199) by 270 runs.
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