From Jason Holder's double ton to Kusal Perera's stunner - Top 10 Test knocks of 2019

Adithya Sundar 00:31 30/12/2019
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One of the all-time best Test innings from Kusal Mendis.

The final Test matches of the year came to an end on Sunday. Host nations Australia and South Africa earned deserved wins over New Zealand and England, respectively in under five days.

Here, we take a look at some of the best batting efforts in the longer format this year.

10. Abid Ali – 174 vs Sri Lanka

By scoring centuries in his maiden ODI and Test appearances, he certainly bags the award for the debutant of the year.

However, it is his timely ton at Karachi that makes the cut for our top ten.

Sri Lanka were all over Pakistan towards the end of the Day Two, having taken a first innings lead of 80.

However, the top-order of Pakistan, led by the opener delivered in the second innings to complete the turnaround. He was involved in a record 278-run partnership with Shan Masood to take the game away from the Lankans. He was unlucky to miss out on a double ton but his chance-less knock of 174 was a treat to watch.

9. Virat Kohli – 254* vs South Africa

The Indian captain’s stunning double ton at Pune set up a dominant win for his team against South Africa.

During the course of his marathon knock that lasted 336 deliveries, Kohli reached 7000 Test runs and became the first Indian to score seven double tons.

Kohli had no qualms in declaring when there was a 300 in the offing as the game ended in under four days. Perhaps next time he would look to surpass that landmark.

8. Marnus Labuschagne 185 vs Pakistan

At the Gabba, Marnus Labuschagne produced a masterclass against a rookie pace bowling attack and a struggling spinner.

He expertly milked the bowling, sharing 100-run partnerships with David Warner and Matthew Wade to bat the visitors out of the game.

When Pakistan found a way to keep Warner quiet by adopting Stuart Broad’s strategy of coming around the wicket during the third morning of the Test, runs continue to flow from the bat of Labuschagne.

He went on to notch a big century before playing a tired shot to hand a catch to gully. This was the knock with which he announced himself to the world and there was no turning back after that.

7. Yasir Shah 113 vs Australia

Babar Azam scored three centuries and a half-century in two months. But he loses his spot in the list due to the sheer tenacity displayed by Yasir Shah during his maiden century.

The leg-spinner whose highest score in Tests before making the trip to Australia was an unbeaten 38 against the West Indies, put his top-order to shame with an enterprising knock at Adelaide.

Walking in at 89 for six, Yasir Shah shocked the hosts with a spirited batting performance. He lasted 213 deliveries, struck 13 boundaries and notched a memorable ton in an otherwise forgettable summer for Azhar Ali’s team.

6. BJ Watling – 205 vs England

BJ Watling

Another against  all odds knock. BJ Watling, built in the mode of a wicket-keeper batsman from the 1990s, scored a double-century that demoralized England and condemned them to a loss by an innings.

His 473-ball effort was the second longest innings by a wicket-keeper and the first time a keeper-batsman had scored a double century against England.

The knock saw Watling extend his remarkable record of staying unbeaten in a Test to 976 minutes (16 hours, 16 minutes), after he previously batted 306 minutes and faced 226 balls during his unbeaten century against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

5. David Warner – 335 vs Pakistan

The southpaw was returning to Australia to play his first Test series at home in over a year and had to endure a poor Ashes series a month prior to the series against Pakistan.

He smashed 154 in the Brisbane Test but reserved the best for Adelaide, a ground where he had scored a T20I century a few weeks earlier.

It was a knock that underlined Warner’s maturity as a Test opener as he scored only 162 of his 335 runs through boundaries and tireless ran the rest between wickets.

The unbeaten knock in the day-night Test saw him surpass Don Bradman’s iconic score of 334 and bury Pakistan. However, he was helped by another overstepping teenager during the course of the knock.

4. Steve Smith 211 vs England

Steve Smith was England’s nemesis in the summer. They couldn’t stand the sight of him.

He scored three half-centuries, two tons and one double century in the five match series.

His match-winning double century at Manchester was nothing short of a spectacle. He made his way back into the team after suffering a concussion and made the hosts suffer with his unorthodox technique and audacious stroke play.

He overcame a short-ball burst, negative bowling from Jack Leach and the new ball threat of Stuart Broad to help Australia post 497 in the first innings and they went on to win the Test by 185 runs.

3.  Jason Holder 202* vs England

Another double ton against the generous English.

Jason Holder, the gentle giant who leads the team from the Caribbean played an inspired knock to set up a win in the opening Test of the series against England.

In the second innings of the Test, he went on the attack against the hapless England spinners, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

His 229-ball onslaught that included eight maximums saw the Windies set their highest ever fourth innings target of 628.

2. Ben Stokes – 135* vs Australia

Not even a month after his monumental effort in the World Cup final at Lord’s, Ben Stokes played a blinder in the second Test at Leeds to script an unbelievable victory for England.

Chasing 359 for victory, England had lost 9 wickets and were 73 runs away from victory. Ben Stokes was unbeaten on 61.

With Jack Leach for company, the southpaw went on a rampage and scored the next 74 runs off just 45 deliveries.

It was England’s highest-ever successful fourth-innings run chase and the game witnessed the second-highest tenth-wicket stand to win a Test , with Leach scoring a solitary run in their 74-run association.

Ben Stokes single-handedly dragged the hosts back into the series with that innings.

1.Kusal Perera – 153* vs South Africa

How do you better Ben Stokes?!!

By scoring more than half your team’s total in the fourth innings of an away Test at Durban against a bowling attack that included of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier whilst forging the highest ever tenth-wicket partnership.

That is what Kusal Perera achieved.

Perera added 194 runs for the last five wickets and 89 for the last two wickets and helped Sri Lanka achieve only their second win in South Africa.

It was one of the best Test innings ever, let alone 2019.

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