Whenever the topic of the highest team scores in Test cricket comes up, the Indian fans flinch as the painful memories from yesteryears resurface. For no other team knows more about being at the receiving end of Marathon Maulings in the longest format of the game than India. India have scored 700+ runs in an innings four times but they have also conceded it thrice. Here we take a look at the top seven highest team totals in the history of Test cricket.
7. India 759/7d vs England (2016)
The 2016-17 England tour of India saw some huge totals from both sides throughout the four-match series. In the fourth match of the series, England posted 477 in the first innings on the back of Moeen Ali’s 146 and fifties from Joe Root, Liam Dawson and Adil Rashid.
In response, India hammered 759/7 in their first innings. The match is more known for Karun Nair, who became only the second Indian player to register a triple hundred in Test cricket. Nair scored an unbeaten 303 while KL Rahul missed out on a much deserving double century by one run.
India won the match comfortably by an innings and 75 runs as Ravindra Jadeja ran through the English batting line-up with a 7-for in the third innings.
6. Sri Lanka 760/7d vs India (2009)
The no. 6 on this list is Sri Lanka’s mega innings at Ahmedabad during the 2009 series. This bilateral series also saw massive scores by both the teams, with India piling on 642 and 726/9 in the second and third Test.
In the Ahmedabad Test, Sri Lanka batted for over 200 overs and declared at 760/7 in the second innings of the match, with three centurions in the side. Mahela Jayawardene scored a magnificent 275 while Tillakaratne Dilshan and Prasanna Jayawardene added 112 and 154, respectively. The Test match ended up in a draw as India scored 426 and 412/4 in first and third innings.
5. Pakistan 765/6d vs Sri Lanka (2009)
Pakistan take up the fifth spot on this list, having scored 765/6 at Karachi in the 2009 home series against Sri Lanka. On a flat Karachi deck, both the teams put on massive scores in their first innings. This was a direct clash between Mahela Jayawardene and Younis Khan, two giants from the 2000s who were known for big innings.
Sri Lanka batted first and posted 644/7 on the back of double centuries from Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera. In response, Pakistan piled on 765/6 after batting 248.5 overs. Younis Khan was the top run-scorer with an exceptional 313 while Kamran Akmal blasted 158 down the order at a very good rate. The Test resulted in a draw as you can expect.
4. West Indies 790/3d vs Pakistan (1958)
The fourth entry on the Marathon Maulings list is West Indies, who scored 790/3 against Pakistan at Kingston, Jamaica during the 1958 series. The star of this match was one of the greatest players of all time, Gary Sobers, who was only into his fourth year in international cricket at that time.
Batting first Pakistan could only manage 328 runs in the first innings. In response, opening batter Conrad Hunte scored 260 while Sobers hammered a magnificent 365. The duo put on a mammoth partnership of 446 runs for the second wicket. Sobers remained unbeaten as the West Indies declared the innings on 790/3. The hosts won the Test by an innings and 174 runs after they bowled out the visitors on 288 in the third innings.
3. England 849 vs West Indies (1930)
The third highest total in the history of Test cricket goes to England, having racked up 849 at Kingston, Jamaica on their tour of the West Indies way back in 1930. With the four-match series leveled at 1-1, England needed a strong first innings score in the fourth Test and they did just that.
The opening batter Andy Sandham compiled 325 runs while Les Ames scored 149. The other four batters from this English top six contributed with fifties. They batted 258 overs and went on to register the then highest total in a Test innings. This match was during the timeless Tests era but it resulted in a draw after eighth and ninth days were washed off. George Headly played one of the best match-saving innings of all time, scoring 223 in the fourth innings.
2. England 903/7d vs Australia (1938)
The second entry on this list of gigantic team totals also goes to England, who had grinded the Australian team for nearly three days at Kennington Oval back in 1938. This was a battle between Wally Hammond’s England and Don Bradman’s Australia. England, who were often at the receiving end of the Bradman bashings, had their moment to turn the tables in the fifth Test. England were trailing the five-match series by 0-1 and needed to win the match.
Len Hutton, amongst the greatest players in the game, was the star for England. Hutton went on to compile 364 runs in the innings and created a new record for the then longest individual innings and the highest individual score. Maurice Leyland scored 187 while Joe Hardstaff added 169 as England went on to post a humongous total of 903/7. The story about this match goes like Hammond only declared early because Bradman was ruled out of the match after suffering an injury while fielding. England went on to win the Test by an innings and 579 runs as their bowlers dismantled the Bradman-less Aussies for 201 and 123.
1. Sri Lanka 952/6d vs India (1997)
The Indian cricket fans in the 90s had to endure some of the most painful moments in the sport and this one was right up there. The numero uno spot in the list of the highest team totals in Test history goes to Sri Lanka’s name, who kept India in the Colombo heat for over three days in 1997.
It was the first Test of the two-match series and the Indian side, led by Sachin Tendulkar, started well by posting 537/8d in the first innings. Navjyot Singh Sidhu, Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin scored individual centuries. In response, Sanath Jayasuriya – the man who has tormented India on many occasions, stood tall again in his astonishing innings of 340. Roshan Mahanama scored a double century while Aravinda de Silva scored 126. Captain Arjun Ranatunga and Mahela Jayawardene also scored fifties as they went on to bat for 271 overs. As you can guess, the match resulted in a draw but if there was a visual representation of mental disintegration, this was it.