Highest Team Totals in Test Cricket History
Cricket is very much a team game, and sometimes that team can get carried away, intend to make a statement, or just hunt for a record when a finite result is unattainable. The luxury of being able to bat for essentially 450 overs can sometimes result in seemingly crazy totals, with the match likely to end in a draw as a result of both the batting-favouring pitch and such extended indulgence.
Of course, these totals almost always come with mammoth individual scores that set records lasting years or even decades, as we will see. Let’s take a look at the top 10 innings totals ever put up in international Tests.
List of Top 10 Test innings totals
|Sri Lanka||952/6d||271.0||3.51||2||v India||Colombo (RPS)||2 Aug 1997||Test # 1374|
|England||903/7d||335.2||2.69||1||v Australia||The Oval||20 Aug 1938||Test # 266|
|England||849||258.2||3.28||1||v West Indies||Kingston||3 Apr 1930||Test # 193|
|West Indies||790/3d||208.1||3.79||2||v Pakistan||Kingston||26 Feb 1958||Test # 450|
|Pakistan||765/6d||248.5||3.07||2||v Sri Lanka||Karachi||21 Feb 2009||Test # 1909|
|Sri Lanka||760/7d||202.4||3.75||2||v India||Ahmedabad||16 Nov 2009||Test # 1933|
|India||759/7d||190.4||3.98||2||v England||Chennai||16 Dec 2016||Test # 2241|
|Australia||758/8d||245.4||3.08||2||v West Indies||Kingston||11 Jun 1955||Test # 408|
|Sri Lanka||756/5d||185.1||4.08||2||v South Africa||Colombo (SSC)||27 Jul 2006||Test # 1810|
|West Indies||751/5d||202.0||3.71||1||v England||St John’s||10 Apr 2004||Test # 1696|
1. 952/6d (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka had one of the strongest Test batting lineups in the late 90s and early noughties, and appears no less than three times on this list. The first of those appearances comes right at the top. It was the summer of 1997 when the Lankans faced India in Colombo. After the visitors declared on a seemingly formidable 537/8, the Lankans gave chase, overcame the target, and just kept on batting until the very end of the match before a declaration at 952/6 that was more for show than any real intent. Sanath Jayasuriya led the scoring with a monumental 340, with Roshan Mahanama’s 225 and Aravinda de Silva’s 126 also boosting the score.
2. 903/7d (England)
It was a match full of records that would hold for very long periods of time — some of which stand to this day. Batting first at the Oval, England made a gargantuan score of 903/7 before finally declaring after batting for an unheard of 335.2 overs. The home side’s score was made possible by the legendary Len Hutton’s 364 off 847 deliveries. While that score would remain the record for about 20 years, the number of deliveries faced in a single innings is yet to be broken. Furthermore, Australia went on to lose the match by a disgraceful innings and 579 runs — another record that remains intact 84 years on.
3. 849 (England)
Before Test rules were made stricter, matches would sometimes be as short as 4 days or as long as 6 to 7 days. Plenty of runs were scored in this 1930 match in Kingston — totalling at over 1800 — and it all started with England’s 849. Spearheaded by Andy Sandham’s 325 and Les Ames’ 149, the score was helped along by four other half-centuries. Even after 7 days of back and forth, though, the match ended up being a draw.
4. 790/3d (West Indies)
The aforementioned Len Hutton record was broken in this match by none other than Sir Garfield Sobers. Taking on Pakistan at Kingston, the Windies responded to Pakistan’s 328 with a brutal retort, with Sobers remaining not out at 365 as his team declared after he clinched the record. Often forgotten in the recounting of this match, Conrad Hunte also scored a powerful 260. Pakistan were bowled out for a modest 288 in their second innings, leading to an easy win for the home side.
5. 765/6d (Pakistan)
In the first Test of what would become an infamous tour that saw Pakistan lose their right to host a home Test for many years, Pakistan made the fifth-highest Test total of all time. Responding to Sri Lanka’s 644/7, Younis Khan conjured up a brilliant 313, and with a spirited Kamran Akmal adding 158, Pakistan posted a lead of 121. Despite losing 5 wickets by 144, Sri Lanka escaped defeat by way of time running out.
6. 760/7d (Sri Lanka)
Being neighbours, Sri Lanka seems to really love batting against India. In this drawn match from 2009 — held in Ahmedabad — they replied to India’s 426 with a dominant 760/7d, with Mahela Jayawardene’s 275 being flanked by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 112 and Prasanna Jayawardene’s 154. India scored another 412/4 before the match ended.
7. 759/7d (India)
India’s own turn to make it to this list came in Chennai in 2016. Hosting England, India replied to the visitors’ 477 with their frightening 759 before bowling their opposition out for just 207 the second time around. The home side’s score was made possible by newcomer Karun Nair’s 303 and KL Rahul’s 199.
8. 758/8d (Australia)
A score slightly above 750 seems to be a favourite for high-scoring teams to declare on. Playing the West Indies in Kingston, Australia booked the hosts to a moderate 357 before going on to create a record for the greatest number of centuries in a Test innings with 5 different 100+ scores — a record that has since only been tied once. Of the 5 centurions, Neil Harvey was the only one to get a double. Australia went on to win the match by an innings and 82 runs.
9. 756/5d (Sri Lanka)
As we have previously stated, Sri Lanka was a force to be reckoned with in the early 2000s. With South Africa’s first innings packed up for just 169, the home side made the best of the Colombo surface. Mahela Jayawardene was once again the hero, falling at 374 to be denied further headway into record history. His partner in crime Kumara Sangakkara made 287, and the Lankans finally declared on 756/5 before taking the Proteas out once again for a massive innings-and-153-run victory.
10. 751/5d (West Indies)
With so many batting records already having been discussed, we come to the big one with Brian Lara’s 400. It was just another Test in Antigua with the Windies facing England, but Brian Lara’s one-man army innings made things extra special for the hosts as they put up 751/5. England chased twice, but couldn’t get more than 707 cumulative runs.
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