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Highest Test scores by a visiting batsman in each country

Yedu Krishnan
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
12.10K   //    Timeless

Most cricket experts would agree that batsmen always love to bat at home. There is something about batting on your own backyard with the home supporters cheering you and the feel of the ball coming on to the bat on familiar surfaces that batsmen always yarn to feel.Despite them enjoying the challenge of playing away, nothing really compares to playing at home. Several batsmen over decades have made their home a fortress, and have played many defining innings. The fact that players have a big psychological boost while playing at home is what makes the home advantage that much more special.But not all players prefer home to away. The best of them enjoy playing anywhere around the world. It is a mark of a good player that he maintains an exemplary record anywhere he plays, and is not just partial to familiar conditions.Players like Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar come to mind. But they are but examples in a long line of cricketers who have shown their worth in Tests away from home as well.Let’s take a look at the highest individual scores by a visiting batsman in each test-playing country over the years:

#10 Stephen Fleming - 262 in South Africa

Stephen Fleming played a captain’s knock to take his team to safety

On a rare day where New Zealand outclassed South Africa at their own backyard, Stephen Fleming’s classy 262 became the highest individual score in South Africa by a visiting batsman. Fleming went past the 243 posted by Eddie Paynter in 1939 en route to his historic innings.

Put into bat, New Zealand started sedately, with the openers putting up a 50-run stand in 17 overs. But after three quick wickets, New Zealand needed someone to steady the ship, and it was their captain who offered the helping hand.

Fleming batted with ease and grace as he caressed the ball to the boundary, never hitting it more than he needed to. Ntini and Steyn were rendered effectiveless as no amount of swing or pace could be garnered from the unresponsive wicket.

Fleming reached his hundred on the final session of Day 1, but with New Zealand already 6 down, it seemed the innings would prematurely cease. But James Franklin batted superbly at 7-down, and scored a century of his own.

Without Franklin’s effort, Fleming could not have passed his first ever double century. The bowlers tired after every over, and the pitch only got easier to bat on. Fleming made full use of the vacant third man as he edged, steered and even uppercut boundaries to that part of the field.

Fleming was all set to become New Zealand’s first ever triple centurion, but he dragged on a harmless delivery from Ashwell Prince to end a magnificent innings.

#9 Kumar Sangakkara - 270 in Zimbabwe

Sangakkara scored his second double century in just his fourth year of international cricket

Kumar Sangakkara’s 270 in Bulawayo in 2004 was the highest score in Zimbabwe by a visiting batsman. A quirky fact was that the record was broken twice in the same match. It was previously held by Gary Kirsten, who had scored 220 in 2001.

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But Marvan Atapattu went past it first in the match, but then was dismissed for 249. Sangakkara however played brilliantly and went past both Kirsten and Atapattu, thus etching his name in the record books.

After Zimbabwe folded for 228 on a ground which offered some movement, Sri Lanka started their innings slowly. Once the pitch flattened out, it became a dream for the batsmen as runs came freely. Sanath Jayasuriya was out with the score on 100, and Zimbabwe thought there was an opening for them.

But Sangakkara joined Atapattu for a partnership of 438 which broke the back of the Zimbabweans. It was then the highest partnership in tests for Sri Lanka, until it was broken by the 624-run stand between Jayawardene and – Sangakkara.

While Atapattu played more freely, Sangakkara was more reserved, looking to get more singles than boundaries. He made use of every chance he got though, scoring 36 boundaries and 2 sixes. On the morning of the third day, Sangakkara went from 186 to 200 in three overs as he reached his second test double.

As both batsmen settled in, they seem almost bored as they whipped the bowlers for runs on all sides of the wicket. After Atapattu went, Sangakkara increased the scoring rate and brought Sri Lanka to a massive total. Sangakkara, who was dropped on zero, was finally dismissed on 270, short of his first triple-century.

#8 Mahela Jayawardene - 275 in India

Jayawardene produced a terrific innings against a strong Indian side

Mahela Jayawardene’s artistic 275 against India in 2009 remains the highest score in the country made by a visiting batsman. In the process, he went past Younis Khan’s score of 267 made in 2005.

Despite India making a challenging 426, Sri Lanka were never in trouble as a triple-century partnership between Mahela and Prasanna Jayawardene followed a strong start by the top order wrested the match from India’s grasp.

Coming in at 189-2, Jayawardene found the conditions to his liking as he quickly laid the foundation for his mammoth innings. The 351-run partnership between Mahela and Prasanna also broke the record of the highest sixth-wicket partnership in the world at that time.

Mahela was at his unstoppable best, blocking all the good deliveries and laying into the bad ones. He batted all day on Day 3 and scored his sixth double-century and his second against India. The gears shifted on the fourth morning as Jayawardene began by striking a flurry of boundaries.

To give India at least four sessions to bat on, the Sri Lankan batsmen started to go for the big hits to improve the scoring rate. Jayawardene was harsh on leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who was getting not purchase from the wicket. Mishra was hit for consecutive boundaries on Day 4, and Jayawardene went past 250.

When the spinners tried to bowl at his pads, he resorted to sweeping them for boundaries. On 275, he again tried to come down the wicket at Mishra, but was bowled after the ball struck the rough. His monumental innings was not enough to prevent a draw as India batted out a day and a half on a dead pitch.

#7 Ross Taylor - 290 in Australia

Ross Taylor broke a 111-year old record just last week

As Ross Taylor put on a masterclass of batting at the WACA last week, his 290 became the highest score in Australia by a visiting batsman. He went past the 111-year record of Reginald Foster who had made 287 in 1903.

It was also only the fourth time that a New Zealand batsman had passed 250 in away Tests. After his twin failure in the first test, there were doubts raised over his temperament. But after getting a vision problem fixed between the matches, Taylor was back to his effective best.

Playing on the flattest of pitches, the Australians had amassed 579 after David Warner’s double century and Usman Khawaja’s century. The bowlers were getting absolutely no purchase from the wicket, which Taylor made full use of.

Batting with Kane Williamson, he took his time to get going in the middle. But once he fully assessed the pitch, he was unstoppable. The pitched up balls were beautifully driven through cover or down the ground. Deliveries on his legs were whipped through midwicket.

Once Williamson was dismissed, Taylor failed to find suitable batsmen to bat with as New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals. But Taylor was calm as ever as he picked the gaps, hitting boundaries once in a while. New Zealand were five down when Taylor was passed 200 and six down at the end of the day.

When the eighth wicket fell, Taylor started to go for the big shots. As he passed Stephen Fleming’s 274, he became the highest individual scorer for New Zealand away from home. When the ninth wicket fell with Taylor on 277, it was a race against time to get his 300.

Trent Boult kept most of the deliveries out, but there were still some nervy moments. Taylor tried to slog sweep Nathan Lyon to the square leg boundary, where he was brilliantly held by substitute fielder Jonathan Wells. As Taylor walked back for 290, he had played one of the best knocks of his career, and had possibly resurrected it as well.

#6 Kumar Sangakkara - 319 in Bangladesh

Sangakkara was at it again, scoring his first triple century

It is a mark of how good Sangakkara is that he features twice in the list of top scores by a visiting batsman. Kumar Sangakkara’s maiden triple-century in February 2014 is the highest individual score made by a visiting batsman in Bangladesh.

Sangakkara bettered the 260 scored by Marlon Samuels in 2012 and etched his name into the record books. In the course of the innings, he passed 11,000 Test runs and was also the fastest batsman to achieve the milestone.

After two quick wickets at the start of the innings, he joined forces with long-time partner Mahela Jayawardene to put on a partnership of 178. With the latter’s dismissal, Sri Lanka kept loosing wickets at regular intervals, but Sangakkara carried on.

He favoured the three left arm spinners bowling at him as he regularly came down the track to loft it over midwicket or play inside out. As Sangakkara passed 250, Sri Lanka’s 8th wicket fell, and it was time to switch gears. He first slog swept Shakib Al-Hasan for two sixes in an over, and then hit Sohag Gazi for two fours in the next.

As the 9th wicket fell in the next over, Sangakkara combined aggression with caution as he carefully took a single of the penultimate ball of each over. But with nervy moments from the last man Nuwan Pradeep, it was time to bring things to an end.

On 286, Sangakkara hit a boundary and then consecutive sixes off Shakib Al-Hasan to reach his first ever triple-century. Sri Lanka also passed 550 in their first innings, which would have been enough to bury Bangladesh. But the tigers batted with grit and determination to draw it out on the final day.

#5 Chris Gayle - 333 in Sri Lanka

Of all the triple centuries after 2004, this was the one which threatened Brian Lara’s 400 the most

As Chris Gayle made an imposing 333 against Sri Lanka in Galle, he showed that he had the temperament for Tests and also made the highest score by a visiting batsman in the island country.

West Indies won the toss and went out to bat on a juicy surface which did not offer the slightest assistance to bowlers until late in the second day. Gayle made use of the big chance as he went all guns blazing to break the back of the Sri Lankan bowling attack.

Gayle smashed everyone for boundaries as the scoring rate jumped to 5 runs per over. The introduction of spin did no good as Ajantha Mendis disappeared as well. Gayle got to his half-centuries off just 61 balls.

Although he slowed down after the fall of Adrian Barath, who acted as the perfect foil, he soon found his groove back and got to his century off just 117 balls. After that, it was a display of sheer power as Gayle averaged at least a boundary an over.

All the bowlers, aside from Mendis, were taken to the cleaners as he brought up his double-century off 221 balls. After scoring his double, Gayle’s mindset changed and he began to play a typical test innings safe in the knowledge that the pitch held no demons and there was still plenty of time.

Gayle batted sedately and kept milking the singles, but the loose balls were still dispatched. He lost partners at the other end, but he still motored on to his 250. His game further slowed as he inched toward the magical 300-run mark.

Finally, playing his 393rd ball, a full 172 deliveries after his double century, Gayle reached the much coveted 300. Once he crossed it, the mad-max style of batting was back as he lashed boundaries at will.

There was speculation over whether he would break Lara’s 400, but it was not to be as he was dismissed for 333. As Gayle walked back with a huge smile on his face, he became just the fourth batsman to score two triple-centuries in Tests, after Sehwag, Lara and Don Bradman.

#4 Don Bradman - 334 in England

The legendary Don raises his bat after scoring 309 in a single day

The legendary Don Bradman made the highest score by a visiting batsman in England when he made 334 against them in the 3rd Ashes Test in Leeds, going past the 254 which was scored by – himself just a week ago.

The innings, which included 309 runs being made in a single day, was one which brought the cricketing world to a standstill with the awe it created. After Australia’s first wicket fell for just 2 on the board, Bradman walked to the crease, and scored a century just after lunch.

While the other batsmen batted patiently, Bradman went on a manic streak and scored freely off every English bowler. Harold Larwood suffered the most as he went for 4.21 runs an over, which was unheard of in 1930. Bradman’s carefree knock included 46 fours. While most experts agree it was not as sublime as his 254 at Lord’s, it was still some of the best cricket at work.

As he passed his first triple century, Bradman also helped Australia cross 500 on the board. When he was finally dismissed, it was after almost 10 hours of batting. An interesting side note is that Bradman almost broke his own record a second time four years later when he made his second double-century. But it was not to be as he was dismissed for 304, and his own record stood unblemished.

#3 Mark Taylor - 334* in Pakistan

Mark Taylor declared on 334 to make sure his bowlers could get a decent bow

In 1998, as Mark Taylor became just the fourth Australian batsman to hit a triple-century in test cricket, he also made the highest score in Pakistan by a visiting batsman. After Australia chose to bat on a flat belt, they lost the aggressive Michael Slater with just 16 on the board.

But that would be the last time something went in Pakistan’s favour in the match as Taylor and Langer put on a mammoth 279 for the second wicket. As the Pakistan bowlers ran into bowl, each time they were met by the leather striking the middle of Taylor’s bat.

Despite Shoaib Akthar troubling him at first, Taylor quickly cemented his position as he played a patient innings. His knock was the epitome of a test innings, with equal amounts of patience and class. As he went past his century and then his double, there was talk of whether he could make the triple.

But there was no doubt that Taylor was playing the best cricket of his life as he rarely allowed the bowlers to get on top of him. Though he didn’t show much aggressiveness, there was an unstoppable element to his batting, which made him play for 12 hours.

As he made his historic triple, the next whisper was whether he could be Australia’s highest scorer of all time. Taylor passed the Don’s 304, Cowper’s 307 and Simpson’s 311. As he inched towards the target, the crowd was on their feet. When he finally took a single that took him to 334, the cricketing world marvelled at his talent.

Taylor went back on Day 2 at 334* and many thought he would bat on to beat Lara’s 375. But Taylor earned the respect of the entire world as he declared on his overnight score to give his bowlers something to bowl at. With this, Taylor showed that he was not interested in playing for records and always put the team first.

#2 Wally Hammond - 336* in New Zealand

Wally Hammond only had one goal – to beat Don Bradman, and he won

As England great Wally Hammond went past Don Bradman’s 334 to post the then-highest score in Test cricket, it also became the highest score in New Zealand by a visiting batsman.

After New Zealand collapsed for 158, their bowlers turned into cannon fodder for the English batsmen, who scored merrily off them. The English batsmen made six consecutive fifty-run partnerships and buried the Kiwi bowlers under the weight of the runs.

Wally Hammond was at his majestic best, and New Zealand withered before him. He passed his fifty in an hour and in another hour, he reached his century. At lunch on Day 2, Hammond had passed his 150, and was looking for more.

The New Zealanders got no respite as Hammond punished them severely, with 34 fours and no less than 10 towering sixes. Even by his standards, Hammond was going all guns blazing on the hapless Kiwi bowlers.

With Don Bradman’s 334 on his mind, Hammond batted like a man possessed as he blitzed through his double century. He outscored his partners in every partnership, which shows how well he batted. Hammond reached 300 from 200 in less than an hour, and Bradman’s record was in sight.

Knowing that he was in a once-in-a-lifetime moment, Hammond played cautiously, going only after the bad balls. Finally, Hammond took the single that made him go past his rival’s record, and etched him into cricket’s hall of fame. With the score confirmed, Hammond declared the innings at 548-6, and the match ended in a draw.

#1 Hanif Mohammed - 337 in West Indies

Hanif Mohammed walking back after playing the longest Test innings of all time

In what is still the longest Test innings of all time, Hanif Mohammed spent a staggering 970 minutes on the crease to score 337 in 1958, which is the highest score made in West Indies by a visiting batsman.

After West Indies piled on a mammoth 579, Pakistan were bundled out for just 106, courtesy the fearsome Roy Gilchrist and Collie Smith. Asked to follow on, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before Pakistan was buried by the West Indians.

But 22-year old Hanif Mohammed had other ideas. It was almost as if the West Indians were underestimating him because of his boyish looks, but he soon made them regret that. His innings was the epitome of solidarity and concentration, where he never hung his bat out at wide deliveries. He never hit the ball in the air and planted the most dead of bats to any delivery on the stumps.

The West Indians used as many as seven bowlers in the second innings, but none of them could penetrate the rock that was Hanif Mohammed. His partners, filled with grit after his innings, gave him support as he wore down the pace bowlers. Hanif, who was probably the originator of the reverse-sweep, and could also play an attacking innings, curbed all his instincts and barely moved the ball off the square.

Of his 337 runs, a mere 96 came in boundaries. His monumental innings came in over 16 hours of batting and is still the longest test innings of all time, beating Len Hutton’s 797-minute epic. He also batted for five days of the 6-day test match, which is remarkable. His 337 still remains the highest score for Pakistan in test cricket.

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Yedu Krishnan
SENIOR ANALYST
An avid Cricket fan who also watches a bit of Football and Tennis. India lost the 2003 World Cup final on my birthday, and I began following the sport with single-minded zeal.
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