Test cricket is regarded as one of the toughest formats as it assesses an individual’s temperament, endurance, stamina, and of course technique and skills. Be it, batsmen or bowlers, both kinds of players get scrutinized heavily in the longest format of the game, but one role which remains as the most challenging is the captaincy.
The reason behind this is, not only does the leader of the team need to make crucial decisions on the field, but he also has to deal with the pressure and lead from the front, especially with their own individual performances.
There have been several star players who could not perform better as a captain as in simple terms; captaincy is not everyone’s cup of tea. But there have been few players who did shine in their career when they were handed over the responsibility of captaincy.
Let’s have a look at the five highest scores made by a captain in Test cricket:
5.) Michael Clarke (329 against India)
Michael Clarke was considered as one of the most prolific batsmen of Australian cricket. He was one of the game’s most qualified, reliable and focussed players. The middle-order batsman emerged in Australia’s golden years. Hence, the competition was brutal, and he had to perform consistently to cement his place in the star-studded mighty Aussie side, which he did.
Later, he became the skipper of Australia and carried forward the outstanding legacy of Ricky Ponting. During the 2011-12 season, Australia faced India in their own backyard when Clarke was the captain.
During the second Test, Clarke etched his name in record books. When the visitors won the toss and decided to bat first, the Aussie pacers brought Indian batsmen to their knees as the tourists could only post 191 on the board in the first innings.
In response, Australia did lose their top three batsmen early but the trio of Clarke, Ponting and Michael Hussey had other plans. They destroyed the Indian bowling attack by adding 622 runs to the team’s total. Ponting made 134, while Clarke and Hussey, remained not out on 329 and 150, respectively. Clarke’s 468-balls outstanding knock comprised with 39 fours and one six. In the end, Australia won the Test match by an innings and 68 runs.
4.) Graham Gooch (333 against India)
Another batsman who created a world record against India was the supremely talented former England captain, Graham Gooch. It happened when the Indian team toured England in 1990 to play a three-match Test series.
In the first Test itself, Gooch registered history after smashing a brilliant triple-hundred. He opened the innings and took his side to a massive total of 653 runs. The right-handed batsman had smashed 43 fours, and three sixes in his fantabulous innings of 333 runs off 485 balls. Apart from Gooch, Allan Lamb and Robin Smith also scored a century. Lamb contributed with 139 while Smith remained not out on 100.
In fact, Gooch was so much into the rhythm that in the second innings he again took Indian bowlers to the cleaners and smashed a ton. Gooch’s incredible display of batting made sure that English team won the Test match by a massive margin of 247 runs.
3.) Mark Taylor (334 against Pakistan)
Arguably one of the most stunning left-handed batsmen, Mark Taylor is the second Australian in this list. A masterful opening batsman, and a brilliant slip fielder, Taylor proved his worth when he made 839 runs on his first England tour in 1989.
The batting maestro achieved the highest record as an Aussie captain while opening the innings against Pakistan at Peshawar in 1998. Justin Langer and Mark Waugh well supported him on the way to his triple hundred. Taylor was unbeaten on 334 when he declared the innings.
Although, his efforts could not produce a win for Australia as Pakistan produced equally brilliant batting performances.
2.) Mahela Jayawardene (374 against South Africa)
The veteran Sri Lankan batsman, Mahela Jayawardene still holds the record of reaching the highest Test score by an Asian captain. The outstanding innings and of course his career-best knock of 374 runs came against South Africa in 2006 at Colombo.
After electing to bat first, South Africa posted only 169 runs on the board. In response, the Lankans didn’t have a great start as the Proteas bowlers dismissed both the Sri Lankan openers inside four overs.
But then, the pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene joined hands and completely took away the game from the visitors. Jayawardene scored a triple hundred, though Sangakkara missed out on his triple century by just 13 runs. Jayawardene went on to make 374 runs in the innings before Andre Nel shattered his defence.
Jayawardene took 572 balls to reach 374. He smashed 43 fours and a six. Thanks to his incredible knock, Sri Lanka had posted an enormous total of 756/5 and afterwards wrapped the Test match by an innings and 153 runs.
1.) Brian Lara (400 against England)
The batsman with the highest individual score in a single Test innings is none other than Brian Lara, and the icing on the cake is that he had achieved the unbelievable record while he was the captain of the West Indies team.
It all happened in April 2004 at St John’s when the Caribbeans were taking on the challenge of England. After coming out to bat at number 3 on the first day of the Test, Lara took only 582 deliveries to reach this incredible landmark.
The stylish left-handed batsman hit 43 fours and four sixes during his fantastic knock. West Indies recorded 751 runs on the board at the loss of 5 wickets in the first innings. Though in the end, England managed to evade a defeat, but Lara engraved his name in the history books with the 400* run-innings.