Test Records: What are the longest innings in test cricket?

Batting for time is one of the most appreciated things in test cricket. In the below article, we will take a look at the longest innings in test cricket.

If one has to compare cricket with track and field events then test cricket would always be compared to a gigantic marathon. Lasting over five days, a batter in a test match often needs to bat for time and just for runs. These marathon-worthy innings are regarded as much as a quickfire cameo down the order in a T20 innings. In this article, we are going to take a look at the longest innings in test cricket.

Longest innings in test cricket

Player Runs Minutes Balls Faced Innings Opposition Ground Match Date
Hanif Mohammad (Pakistan) 337 970 3rd West Indies Kensington Oval, Bridgetown 17th January, 1958
Gary Kirsten (South Africa) 275 878 642 3rd England Kingsmead, Durban 26th December, 1999
Alastair Cook (England) 263 836 528 2nd Pakistan Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi 13th October, 2015
Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 340 799 578 2nd India R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 2nd August, 1997
Leonard Hutton (England) 364 797 847 1st Australia The Oval, London 20th August, 1938
Hashim Amla (South Africa) 311* 790 529 2nd England The Oval, London 19th July, 2012
Brian Lara (West Indies) 400* 778 582 1st England Antigua Recreation Ground, St John’s 10th April, 2004
Brendon Kuruppu (Sri Lanka) 201* 777 548 1st New Zealand Colombo Cricket Club Ground, Colombo 16th April, 1987
Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) 302 775 559 3rd India Basin Reserve, Wellington 14th February, 2014
Alastair Cook (England) 294 773 545 2nd India Edgbaston, Birmingham 10th August, 2011

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Hanif Mohammad, 970 minutes

Hanif Mohammad from Pakistan ranks at the top of this list. The Pakistani opener has the longest innings in test cricket history. Hanif played a marathon innings lasting 970 minutes against the mighty West Indies in 1958 at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown. Gerry Alexander, the West Indies skipper, won the toss and elected to bat first. In the first innings, West Indies scored 579 runs thanks to a century from Conrad Hunte. In the second innings, Pakistan were bowled out for just 106 runs and was asked to follow on from there. 

Hanif then batted for 970 minutes in the third innings scoring 337 runs. His opening partner, Imtiaz Ahmed was the second-highest scorer with 91 runs to his name. The visitors batted for 319 overs and eventually drew the test match.

Gary Kirsten, 878 minutes

England’s tour to South Africa in 1999-2000 will mostly be remembered for the famous or rather infamous fifth test match where South Africa and England declared and forfeited an inning each. On the same tour in the Boxing Day test, Gary Kirsten played an innings which will be remembered for a long time in the history of test cricket. 

Nasser Hussain won the toss in the third test and elected to bat first. Leading from the front, Hussain remained not out and scored a century while Alec Stewart missed out on his century by five runs. In the second innings, South Africa were bowled out for just 156 runs as Andy Caddick picked up seven wickets. South Africa was asked to follow on. 

Kirsten just like Hanif in 1958, played a great innings. Opening the innings, Kirsten scored a double century while batting for 878 minutes. He was duly supported by Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher. Kallis scored 69 runs and Boucher scored a century. Kallis and Kirsten shared a 152-run stand for the third wicket while Boucher and Kirsten shared a 192-run stand for the fifth wicket. Kirsten was bowled by Mark Butcher and that’s when the match was drawn.

Alastair Cook, 836 minutes

Alastair Cook is one of the finest players in test cricket’s history. The former English skipper ranks third on this list for his knock of close to 14 hours in 2015 against Pakistan. Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat first. In the first innings, Pakistan scored 523 runs with Mohammad Hafeez scoring 98, Shoaib Malik scoring 245 runs and Asad Shafiq scoring 107 runs.

England in the second innings, batted for 206 overs and took a slender lead for 75 runs thanks to Cook’s historic innings. Cook scored 263 runs facing 528 balls lasting 836 minutes. The English skipper first shared a century stand with Moeen Ali. Ian Bell scored 63 runs sharing a 165-run stand for the second wicket. Root scored 85 runs and shared a 141-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Pakistan was bowled out for 173 runs in the third innings and gave England a target of 99 runs. The fourth innings lasted for 11 overs with England scoring 74 runs and the match ending as a draw.

Sanath Jayasuriya, 799 minutes

In a run-fest at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sanath Jayasuriya played a knock lasting more than 13 hours. Indian skipper, Sachin Tendulkar won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch which showed no assistance to the bowlers. Indian opener, Nayan Mongia was dismissed for just seven runs but what followed after his dismissal showed why the match is known to be a run-fest. Opener, Navjot Sidhu scored a century, Rahul Dravid scored 69 runs, Tendulkar scored 143 runs while former skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin scored 126 runs. India scored 537 runs while batting for 167 overs. 

In reply, Sri Lanka started in a similar fashion losing opener Marvan Atapattu for 26 runs. Sanath Jayasuriya scored his highest first-class score of 340 runs batting for 799 minutes. Sri Lanka scored 952 runs with Roshan Mahanama scoring 225 runs, Aravinda de Silva scoring 126 runs, skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga scoring 86 runs and Mahela Jayawardene scoring 66 runs. The match ended as a draw after just two innings of play.

Leonard Hutton, 797 minutes

Just two minutes behind Jayasuriya, Leonard Hutton ranks fifth on the list for the longest innings in test cricket. Hutton played his marathon innings in the first innings scoring 364 runs. England scored 903 runs for the loss of seven wickets when they declared their innings. Along with Hutton, Maurice Leyland scored 187 runs and Joe Hardstaff scored 169 runs while skipper, Wally Hammond and Arthur Wood scored half-centuries.

In reply, Australia were never in the game with Don Bradman being absent hurt. Australia were bowled out for just 201 runs in the second innings and 123 runs in the third innings after being asked to follow on. England won the match by an innings and 579 runs.

Hashim Amla, 790 minutes

Hashim Amla against England batted for 790 minutes at The Oval, London. England won the toss and decided to bat first. Alastair Cook scored a century in the first innings and England ended up scoring 385 runs. 

Hashim Amla scored a triple-century while skipper, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis scored centuries. South Africa lost the opening batter, Alviro Petersen for an eight-ball duck. Smith and Kallis shared a 259-run stand for the second wicket. Smith was then dismissed by Tim Bresnan. Amla and Kallis shared a 377-run stand before finally declaring at a 637. 

England in the third innings was bowled out for just 240 runs with Dale Steyn taking a fifer. South Africa won the match by an innings and 12 runs.

Brian Lara, 778 minutes

Brian Lara’s innings lasting 778 minutes is the seventh longest innings in test cricket but is the innings where he smashed the record for the highest individual score in test cricket. Lara won the toss and decided to bat first and he backed up his decision with a sensational knock. West Indies’ opener, Darren Ganga was dismissed for just 10 runs. Lara shared a 65-run stand with Chris Gayle for the second wicket. Ramnaresh Sarwan missed out on his century scoring 90 runs and even shared a 232-run stand with Lara for the third wicket. West Indies scored 751 runs with Lara scoring 400 runs batting for 778 minutes.

In reply, England were bowled out for 285 runs and were asked to follow on. Michael Vaughan scored a century in the third innings and saved the match for England.

Brendon Kuruppu, 777 minutes

Once again a match in Colombo ended in a draw after just two innings of play but not before Brendon Kuruppu played a marathon innings almost lasting 13 hours. New Zealand skipper, Jeff Crowe won the toss and decided to bowl first. Sri Lanka in the first innings declared after scoring 397 runs in the first innings. Kuruppu carried his bat through the innings scoring 201 runs and batting for 777 minutes.

In reply, New Zealand scored 406 runs with the skipper, Crow scoring 120 runs. The match was drawn with there being no third innings.

Brendon McCullum, 775 minutes

Brendon McCullum’s innings of 302 runs lasted for 775 minutes and helped New Zealand to draw the second match and eventually win the two-match test series by a 1-0 margin. India won the toss at Basin Reserve, Wellington and decided to bowl first.

India bowled out New Zealand for 192 runs and in reply scored 438 runs taking a huge lead of 246 runs. Ishant Sharma took six wickets for the visitors in the first innings while Shikhar Dhawan with 98 runs and Ajinkya Rahane with a century were the star performers with the bat in the second innings.

India started on a positive note in the third innings by dismissing half of the New Zealand side for 94 runs. McCullum was the difference between a defeat and a draw for the hosts. The Kiwi skipper shared a 352-run stand with BJ Watling for the sixth wicket. He then shared a 179-run stand with James Neesham for the seventh wicket. The triple-century from McCullum and centuries from Watling and Neesham allowed the hosts to score 680 runs and gave India a target of 435 runs in the fourth innings.

Alastair Cook, 773 minutes

Alastair Cook is the only batter to feature on this list twice. Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to put India into bat first. India was bowled out for 224 runs as Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad picked up four-fers. 

In reply, England scored 710 runs thanks to a knock of 294 runs from Cook. Strauss and Cook shared a 186-run stand for the first wicket. Cook and Kevin Pietersen shared a 122-run stand for the third wicket. He then shared a 222-run stand with centurion, Eoin Morgan. Cook’s innings lasted for 773 minutes and allowed the hosts to get a lead of 486 runs. India was bowled out for 244 runs and went on to lose the match by an innings and 242 runs.