One batsman outscoring the opponents (11 batsmen plus sundries) is a rare phenomenon. It has happened only a few times in the 138-year history of Test cricket.
But it has occurred three times this month alone.
In the recent Hobart Test, Australia’s Adam Voges (269 not out) outscored the West Indies (223 all out) in the first innings.
And his batting partner in Australia’s only innings, Shaun Marsh (182), scored more runs than the Windies total of 148 in the second.
The fourth wicket stand of 449 runs between Voges and Marsh was 78 runs more than the Windies total 371 in both the innings.
A week earlier in the Delhi Test, India’s Ajinkya Rahane (127 runs) outscored number one ranked South Africa (121) in the first innings.
Similarly, in the January 2012 Sydney Test, Australia’s Michael Clarke (329 not out) defeated India (191) off his own bat.
More remarkable is Australia’s opening batsman Justin Langer’s feat.
In the 2004 Perth Test Langer became the first batsman to outscore an opposition in either innings of a Test. He scored 191 and 97 runs. Pakistan was all out for 179 and 72. This is a unique achievement in Test annals.
To rub salt to the wound, apart from Langer, Ricky Ponting (98) and Damien Martyn (100 not out) also outscored Pakistan (72) in the second innings of the above Perth Test as Australia was triumphant by 491 runs.
There have been at least five instances of a batsman scoring more runs in one innings than an opposing country in two innings put together in a Test match.
The first such instance was provided by England’s opening batsman Bobby Abel. In the 1888-89 Cape Town Test he outscored South Africa in both innings put together. Abel stroked 120 when South Africa could manage only 90 in two innings (47 and 43).
In the 1938 Oval Test in London, England’s opening batting maestro Len Hutton scored 364, then a Test record. Australia replied with 201 and 123, a total of 324 runs.
It may be added that Don Bradman and Jack Fingleton were injured in the above Test and did not bat in both innings.
Bradman scored 185 in the inaugural Brisbane Test against India in 1947. India responded with 58 and 98, a total of 156.
Similarly Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq (329) thrashed New Zealand (73 and 246; a total of 319 runs) in the Lahore Test of 2002.
Five months later Australia’s batting great Matthew Hayden (119) smashed Pakistan (59 and 53, a total of 112) to smithereens in the 2002 Sharjah Test.
Roarers are requested to add to this list in case I have missed out.
Will an Australian batsman outscore the hapless West Indians in both innings in the Boxing Day Test on the MCG to join the top five super batsmen mentioned above?
Hopefully the down-in-the-dumps visitors will turn the corner to appease the holiday crowd.
We need a calypso in the silly season, not a collapso!