Hardik Pandya created history by taking 26 runs off Sri Lankan spinner Malinda Pushpakumara’s over during day two of the final Test between the hosts and India at Pallekele.
Pandya’s sublime hitting against the spinner on his way to his maiden first-class hundred was the highest amount of runs scored by an Indian in a single over of Test cricket.
Among all the Test playing nations, the all-rounder’s 26 runs have been bettered only twice in history and we take a look at the five of the most expensive overs in the history of the five-day format.
Brian Lara against Robin Peterson – 28 runs
Johannesburg, December 2003
The legendary Brian Lara features on the top of this list with his 28 runs taken off South African left-arm spinner Robin Peterson.
After the Proteas scored a daunting 561 runs in the first innings, the Caribbean side were in trouble needing 29 runs to avoid the follow on with tail-ender Mervyn Dillon giving Lara company at the crease.
The classical left-hander dispatched the first ball for a boundary while the following two were deposited over the stands for the maximum. The final three deliveries were sent to the boundary again with the Proteas selecting to keep the field up for Lara.
Lara and West Indies managed to avoid the follow on courtesy those 28 runs and a world record was set for the maximum runs in an over of Test cricket.
George Bailey against James Anderson – 28 runs
Perth, December 2013
George Bailey equalled Lara’s world record a decade later in the third Test between Australia and England in the Ashes series down under.
The right-handed batsman, playing in only his third Test, took apart England’s premier pacer James Anderson to plunder 28 runs off his over in the second innings.
The first delivery was flicked over the slips for a boundary while the following one was sent straight over the bowler’s head for a straight six. Bailey took a couple of runs in the third delivery and sent the fourth delivery for another boundary.
He saved the best for the penultimate and ultimate deliveries of Anderson’s over, sending them over long-on for two towering sixes to tie Lara’s assault on Peterson.
Shahid Afridi against Harbhajan Singh – 27 runs
Lahore, January 2006
Harbhajan Singh will not have fond memories of India’s tour to Pakistan in 2006. The hosts were motoring along 564 for the loss of four wickets with Afridi well-set at a run-a-ball 60.
It is reported that Afridi told the non-striker Kamran Akmal that he would attempt six sixes in Harbhajan’s next over to which his partner retorted with a simple ‘good luck’.
He was well on-course to fulfill his own prophecy when he sent the first four deliveries for mighty sixes.
The Indian off-spinner managed to salvage some pride by allowing Afridi only three of the last two deliveries to leave the maverick batsman nine runs short of his target.
Never the less, the 27 runs in the over are enough to put Afridi at the third spot in the list.
Craig MacMillan against Younis Khan – 26 runs
Hamilton, March 2001
New Zealand’s Craig MacMillan set a then world record by scoring 26 runs in a Younis Khan over during Pakistan’s tour to the nation during 2001.
In the third Test, the Kiwis were in the mood for some quick runs in their first innings as they looked to declare. Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq threw the ball to part-time leg-spinner Khan to stem the flow of runs.
MacMillan though has other ideas as he carted the part-timer for five boundaries and a massive six to set a new record of 26 runs in an over.
He in fact sent the next delivery he faced from Saqlain Mushtaq for a six too before being dismissed two overs later.
Brian Lara against Danish Kaneria – 26 runs
Multan, November 2006
Three years after setting the world record at Johannesburg, Lara was at it again during his side’s tour of Pakistan in 2006.
The left-handed genius scored a fine double-ton to help the West Indies post a huge 591 runs in their first innings but not before dismantling leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Lara hit three massive sixes and two boundaries in a Kaneria over to take 26 runs in the over.
In total, Lara hit 69 off the 29 deliveries he faced from the leg spinner but it was Kaneria who had the last laugh after dismissing the left-hander for a fine 216.
Honourable mentions to New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Australia’s Mitchell Johnson who have both scored 26 runs off an over in Test cricket too.