5 Batsmen to score fastest double century in Test cricket

Test cricket is all about patience, batting out time and pushing the bowlers into submission. While the cricketing world has seen many such batters, who didn’t care about strike rate and batted all day long potentially scoring nothing, there were few others, who resorted to the attacking approach of batting and scored runs at a ridiculous pace. Be it the short and wide deliveries outside off-stump or the good ones, everything disappeared alike and even the best in the business had to bear the brunt of it. With everything going in the way of the batting team, opposition captains had no option but to use all the available bowling resources and hope for the batsman to make a mistake. That obviously didn’t happen and the batters in turn wrote some unique records against their name while smashing these knocks. We will be talking about one such record in the present article. In the below piece, we look at 5 batsmen, who scored the fastest double century in Test cricket:

1. Nathan Astle – 153 balls

A quality top-order batsman for New Zealand, Astle hammered this knock against England during the 1st Test at Christchurch in 2002. Put into bat first, England scored 228 in the first innings on the back of a superb 106(244) by Hussain while Drum picked up 3-36 for the Kiwis.

In reply, the hosts were bowled out for a paltry score of 147 and allowed England to take a hefty first-innings lead. The confidence thus gained assisted England in putting up 468-6 in the second innings, owing to a double century by Thorpe and 137(163) by Flintoff.

Set a target of 550 to win the first encounter, Kiwis put up a fight in the able presence of Astle, who stroked 222(168) to help his side reach 451 in the second innings. The home team, unfortunately, lost the contest by 98 runs but not before Astle chronicled a whirlwind double century off just 153 balls, becoming the fastest to achieve the landmark.

2. Ben Stokes – 163 balls

The current no.1 all-rounder across all three formats, Stokes scored this innings against South Africa during the 2nd Test at Cape Town in 2016. Batting first, England posted a mammoth total of 629-6 in the first innings, owing to knocks of 258(198) by Stokes and 150(191) by Bairstow. The former also became the second-fastest to reach the landmark, scoring a double century off just 163 balls.

South Africa, in reply, scored 627-7 in their first innings on the back of innings of 201(477) by Amla and 102(148) by Bavuma, nullifying the huge score posted by England. The visitors then managed 159-6 in the second innings as the game ended in a draw and is still fondly remembered for the batting masterclass displayed by two powerhouses of world cricket.

3. Virender Sehwag – 168 balls

One of the most destructive batsman to have played the game, Sehwag powered the knock against Sri Lanka during the 3rd Test at Mumbai in 2009. Sri Lanka while batting first, posted 393 in the first innings, courtesy knocks of 109(160) by Dilshan and 99(131) by Mathews. Harbhajan was the pick of the bowler for India with a spell of 4-112.

India, in return, posted a gargantuan total of 726-9 in the first innings on the back of the fabulous display of batting by Sehwag, who scored 293(254) and Dhoni, who smashed exactly 100(154). The former thus became the third fastest to score a double century, achieving it in 168 deliveries.

Having taken a hefty first-innings lead, India dismissed Sri Lanka for 309 in the second innings and won the contest by an innings and 24 runs. Sangakkara was the top-scorer for the Lankans with 137(261) while Zaheer wreaked havoc in the visitors’ camp, picking up 5-72.

4. Virender Sehwag – 182 balls

The daredevil Indian opener yet again makes this list for an innings smashed against Pakistan during the 1st Test at Lahore in 2006. The hosts, who batted first, posted a massive total of 679-7 in the first innings on the back of knocks of 199(336) by Younis and 173(199) by Yousuf.

India, in reply, scored 410-1 in their first innings, owing to great innings of 254(247) by Sehwag and 128(233) by Dravid. The game resulted in a draw with both teams batting only during the first innings and the contest is etched in the minds of cricket lovers for the scintillating double-century hammered by Sehwag, becoming the fourth-fastest to reach the milestone in only 182 balls.

5. Brendon McCullum – 186 balls

The former captain of the New Zealand team, McCullum plundered the knock against Pakistan during the 2nd Test at Sharjah in 2014. Having won the toss, Pakistan batted first and managed 351 in the first innings, owing to innings of 197(316) by Hafeez while Craig was the pick of the bowler for Kiwis with a spell of 7-94.

New Zealand, in response, posted an enormous total of 690 in their first innings, courtesy brilliant knocks of 202(188) by McCullum and 192(244) by Williamson. The former in the process, became the fifth-fastest to reach the landmark, having scored it in 186 balls.

Given the humongous lead, the pressure was now on Pakistan to surmount it and post a suitable target for New Zealand to chase. However, the former side was unable to live up to their expectations, getting bundled out for 259 and handing the Kiwis a victory by an innings and 80 runs. Shafiq ended as the top-scorer for Pakistan with 137(148) while Boult snapped up 4-38 to ensure a New Zealand win.

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