Rahul Dravid scored 162 against Zimbabwe © Getty Images (File photo)
Rahul Dravid scored 162 against Zimbabwe in November 2000 © Getty Images (File photo)

For the first time in the history of One-Day International (ODI) cricket, three centuries were scored in one innings during the South Africa versus West Indies clash at Johannesburg. Bharath Seervi lists down similar instances in Test innings and Tests. 

For the first time in the history of ODIs three batsmen from the same team scored centuries in the same ODI. There were many occasions of two players scoring centuries and there were a couple of instances when three batsmen scored more than 90 runs, but three centuries in the same inning was always awaited.

Hashim Amla scored an unbeaten 153 and his partner. Rilee Rossouw got out after scoring 128 runs just before the 40th over. It was highly unexpected that one more batsman would score a century with just about 11 overs left in the innings. But AB de Villiers made it possible; in fact he scored 149 runs off just 44 balls. This turned out to be the first instance of three centuries by the batsmen of same team in an ODI.

In Test cricket, there have been many occasions when three players scored centuries (147 times). Let us see what were the highest scores by batsmen that could end up only as the third highest score among their team mates and in the whole Test?

Only twice in the history of Test cricket, three batsmen scored more than 150 runs in the same innings for a team. The first was in The Ashes 1938 at Kennington Oval, where Len Hutton scored364 runs. It was followed by Maurice Leyland’s 187 and then Joe Hardstaff also scored big at the bottom, 169 not out. The second occasion was at Kanpur in December 1986, as for India, Sunil Gavaskar scored 176, Mohammad Azharuddin 199 and then at the end, Kapil Dev scored 163.

Therefore, Joe Hardstaff’s 169 is the highest ‘third highest’ score in a Test innings followed by Kapil Dev’s 163. The table below has more details.

Highest ‘third highest’ score in a Test inning (130 or more)

Runs Batsman Highest Second highest For Against Venue Date
169* Joe Hardstaff 364 – Len Hutton 187 – Maurice Leyland England Australia Kennington Oval 20-Aug-38
163 Kapil Dev 176 – Sunil Gavaskar 199 – Mohammad Azharuddin India Sri Lanka Kanpur 17-Dec-86
147 Herschelle Gibbs 220 – Gary Kirsten 157* – Jacques Kallis South Africa Zimbabwe Harare 07-Sep-01
146 Rahul Dravid 180 – Virender Sehwag 148* – Mohammad Kaif India West Indies Gros Islet 10-Jun-06
137 Gary kirsten 177 – Jacques Kallis 142 – Herschelle Gibbs South Africa West Indies Durban 26-Dec-03
135* Inzamam-ul-Haq 169 – Saeed Anwar 140 – Saleem Malik Pakistan New Zealand Wellington 17-Feb-94
134 Ricky Ponting 329* – Michael Clarke 150* – Mike Hussey Australia India Sydney 03-Jan-12
133 Jack Richards 162 – Chris Broad 136 – David Gower England Australia Perth 28-Nov-86
132* MS Dhoni 165 – Virender Sehwag 143* – VVS Laxman India South Africa Eden Gardens 14-Feb-10
131 Virender Sehwag 167 – Gautam Gambhir 144 – Rahul Dravid India Sri Lanka Kanpur 01-Jul-05
131* Matt Prior 161 – Paul Collingwood 142 – Andrew Strauss England West Indies Port of Spain 06-Mar-09
131 Graeme Smith 311* – Hashim Amla 182* – Jacques Kallis South Africa England Kennington Oval 19-Jul-12
130* Jacques Kallis 192 – Herschelle Gibbs 139 – Graeme Smith South Africa West Indies Centurion 16-Jan-04

There have been 13 instances when the third highest scorer scored between 125 and 130 runs. In the above table, four occasions have been for South African team with almost similar batsmen since 2000. Among the 13 occasions listed in the table, nine have been since the year 2000.

What has been the highest score by a batsman to end up as the third highest scorer in a Test?

There have been two Tests in which three batsmen scored double centuries. Therefore, a score in excess of  200 has been the highest ‘third highest’ score in a Test match. The table below has the list.

Highest ‘third highest’ score in a Test match (160 or more)

Runs Batsman Highest Second highest Match Venue Date
231 Thilan Samaraweera (SL) 313 – Younis Khan (Pak) 240 – Mahela Jayawardene (SL) Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Karachi 21-Feb-09
192 Kane Williamson (NZ) 202 – Brendon McCullum (NZ) 197 – Mohammad Hafeez (Pak) New Zealand vs Pakistan Sharjah 26-Nov-14
186 Andrew Jones (NZ) 299 – Martin Crowe (NZ) 267 – Aravinda de Silva (SL) New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Wellington 31-Jan-91
184 Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 267 – Younis Khan (Pak) 201 – Virender Sehwag (Ind) Pakistan vs India Bangalore 24-Mar-05
174 Ted Dexter (Eng) 256 – Ken Barrington (Eng) 311 – Bob Simpson (Aus) England vs Australia Old Trafford 23-Jul-64
174 Mahela Jayawardene (SL) 219 – Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 203 – Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) Sri Lanka vs India Colombo (SSC) 26-Jul-10
173 Mohammad Yousuf (Pak) 254 – Virender Sehwag (Ind) 199 – Younis Khan (Pak) Pakistan vs India Lahore 13-Jan-06
172 Graham Yallop (Aus) 235 – Greg Chappell (Aus) 210* – Taslim Arif (Pak) Australia vs Pakistan Faisalabad 06-Mar-80
170* Andrew Jones (NZ) 192 – Mohammad Azharuddin (Ind) 173 – Ian Smith (NZ) New Zealand vs India Auckland 22-Feb-90
169* Joe Hardstaff (Eng) 364 – Len Hutton (Eng) 187 – Maurice Leyland (Eng) England vs Australia Kennington Oval 20-Aug-38
168 Collie Smith (WI) 258 – Tom Graveney (Eng) 191 – Frank Worrell (WI) West Indies vs England Trent Bridge 04-Jul-57
163 Kapil Dev (Ind) 176 – Sunil Gavaskar (Ind) 199 – Mohammad Azharuddin (Ind) India vs Sri Lanka Kanpur 17-Dec-86
163 Roy Fredericks (WI) 223* – Glenn Turner (NZ) 214 – Lawrence Rowe (WI) West Indies vs New Zealand Sabina Park 16-Feb-72
162 Rahul Dravid (Ind) 232* – Andy Flower (Zim) 201* – Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) India vs Zimbabwe Nagpur 25-Nov-00

In 1964/65 at Kensington Oval in Barbados, Bill Lawry scored 210 and his opening partner Bob Simpson scored 201. In reply, Seymour Nourse also scored 201 which was identical to Bob Simpson’s. Since the second highest score is tied, it is not listed in the above table.

There have been 12 other Testsin which the third highest score by the batsman was between 150 and 160.

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)