2019 was not only the year of the ICC Cricket World Cup but also one that saw the inaugural ICC World Test Cricket Championship taking place. It was a year which gave the cricket-hungry fans some of the closest Test series played out in years. The bowlers, as usual, were at the top of their game throughout the year unleashing their prowess on the pitch, but that didn’t stop some of the best batsmen in the world to score ‘daddy hundreds’, as they are called in the cricketing language.
Here, we take a look at the best test innings played in 2019, not only in terms of runs scored but also in terms of the influence they had on proceedings.
- DAVID WARNER’S 335* vs Pakistan (Adelaide)
David Warner had a wretched return to Test Cricket after serving his suspension for the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town. He just managed 93 runs in 10 innings in the Ashes, which is the lowest run tally by any batsman who has played all the matches in an Ashes series. Stuart Broad had the wood over him throughout the tour and it seemed like Warner was a sitting duck for the Englishman.
After this miserable tour, capitalising on a home series against Pakistan was of vital importance for the southpaw. He started the tour at Brisbane with a 154 and then soon followed it up with a monumental 335* in the second Test at the Adelaide Oval. It needs to be noted that it was done against a potent Pakistani pace attack. Warner showed with this innings how champions rise from adversity. Post that, he is back to his best, keeping behind the demons of the Ashes tour and we can’t wait to see him in action when cricket resumes.
- JASON HOLDER’S 202 vs England, Bridgetown
Jason Holder with his performances in the past year has shown the world that he should be considered as a proper all-rounder and a feared one at that. In the first Test against England in the Caribbean, Jason again showed the world his prowess with the bat. With his team in a spot of bother at 61/5, Holder walked in to bat with wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich on the other end. These two strung together a memorable partnership of 295 runs for the seventh wicket.
After weathering the early storm, the carnage began. Holder took a particular liking to Adil Rashid and brought his ton with a six over the leg-spinner’s head. He didn’t stop at that either, as he went on to hit another ton and completed his maiden double century in Test cricket. This brilliant innings included 23 fours and eight sixes and was enough to win the game for his team.
- STEVE SMITH’S 144 vs England, Birmingham
It was a dream Ashes summer for Steve Smith. He was making a return to Test cricket after a year’s hiatus and it all started right in the first innings of the series. With the ball moving around quite a bit, the Australian’s were struggling at 17/2 when Smith walked in to bat with boos ringing all around Edgbaston. Soon the away team were reeling at 35/3 and then 105/5. It needed something special from the comeback man and this marked the beginning of the golden summer for the New South Wales lad.
With wickets continuously falling at the other end, Steve kept on chipping away with runs. It almost seemed like Smith was batting on a different track compared to everyone else. He played shots all around the park and English bowlers had no answers against his unconventional technique. He soon raced to his 24th Test century and this was a special one given the circumstances and the scrutiny around him.
- BEN STOKES 135* vs Australia, Headingley
After helping his country win its maiden 50-over Cricket World Cup, Ben Stokes followed that up with probably one of the best innings ever played by an English cricketer. Stokes replicated what Sir Ian Botham did in 1981 on the same ground. It was one of the biggest heists of the year and the Australians still don’t have any answers as to how they lost that match.
England came into this match after getting outplayed at Edgbaston. They desperately wanted to win this one to keep the Ashes series alive. But all their hopes of winning were more or less shattered when they were bundled out for a mere 67 in the first innings. Chasing the game, England needed an improbable total of 359 to go level in the series.
The match seemed done and dusted when the ninth wicket fell at 286. Jack Leach, the number 11, joined Stokes in the centre and the rest is history. With immaculate six-hitting and the ability to take a single when required helped England get close to the total. Stokes was helped on the way by a poor DRS choice by Tim Paine and a missed attempt to get him run-out by Nathan Lyon. In the penultimate over, Stokes was out LBW but the umpire’s finger didn’t go up and the Australians were without their review. Nevertheless, the 76-run stand with Leach was enough to keep the Ashes alive and Ben’s iconic celebration at the end will be etched forever in every cricket lover’s memory.
- KUSAL PERERA 153*vs South Africa, Durban
Kusal Perera, who is often compared to the legendary Sanath Jayasuriya due to his playing style, has often crumbled under pressure and has fallen short of the expectations set from him. But his once in a lifetime knock of 153* single-handedly helped Sri Lanka win their first series on South African soil, as he went on to become the first Asian team to achieve that feat.
Sri Lanka were chasing 304 against South Africa in their backyard which seemed like a daunting task from the offset. The South African bowling attack consisted of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj. It seemed like the chase was not going anywhere as Sri Lanka were struggling at 110/5 at one stage but one man kept batting on. Kusal soon reached just his second Test century and still, the job wasn’t done. His team needed him to play out of his skin to get anywhere close to a win. They needed 78 runs when Vishwa Fernando, the number 11 batsman, joined him.
Perera shielded the tailender beautifully and played some audacious shots which left everyone stunned. The pair batted for more than 15 overs and achieved the unimaginable. They pulled off one of the most incredible Test wins ever while Kusal played one of the greatest innings by an overseas batsman.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES