When Rahane was dismissed today in the early stages of the day, India seemed doomed to go down 2-1 in the series as the antiquity of the series didn’t really provide a glittering spectacle from the remaining batsmen. Pujara was batting at one end while India was reduced to 102 for 3. Rishabh Pant walked in the middle and just when it felt that Australia will attack in a more belligerent fashion, Pant started doing the same by counter-attacking the Australian bowling line-up in a similar fashion. Peppering them for boundaries, he intended to push India beyond the finishing line. Unfortunately, he was three runs shy of his century when Nathan Lyon claimed him and once again opened the door of India’s uncertainty.
However, despite the loss of Pujara in quick succession, Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari stitched a Herculean partnership to deny Australia a victory. This story will, however, focus on the wicket-keepers who managed to chronicle the highest Test scores in the fourth innings of the Test.
1. Adam Gilchrist – 149*
Chasing a monumental total of 369 in the fourth innings against Pakistan, Australia stuttered vehemently in the fourth innings as they were left wobbling at 126 for 5 with half of their line-up back to the pavilion. Their last glimmer of hope was Adam Gilchrist and a battling Justin Langer.
The dup took it from there and started pushing the Pakistanis back. Gilchrist spearheaded the chase with a few exotic strokes and those exhilarating flick of the wrists were absolutely a treat for the eyes. Despite Langer falling when Australia was just five runs short, Gilchrist struck the telling blow that propelled one of the most remarkable victories for the Aussies in Test cricket.
2. Moin Khan – 117*
This was one of the most heroic stands of Moin Khan but his teammates got so consumed in taking an early walk back to the pavilion that his solitary stand of 117 went down in flames. Sri Lanka batted first and managed 232 to the response of which Pakistan was skittled out for a paltry 214. However, the second innings for the islanders was propelled by a fine inning from skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tilakarate as they managed to garner 338.
Chasing a gigantic total in the fourth innings, Pakistan was jolted to a rude awakening as Pramod Wickramasinghe and Chaminda Vaas ripped through the Pakistani batting line up with Moin Khan waging a single-handed war with an unbeaten 117.
3. Rishabh Pant – 114
This was a failed attempt from the aspiring wicket-keeper Pant, who was aiming to fill in the massive boots of Dhoni. With 463 to chase in the second innings, India came a cropper with their batsmen barely able to trade the nasty swing and that additional piece of bounce that was there on the track.
KL Rahul carried on with his lonely fight until the arrival of Pant in the middle. The duo came together in the initial overhaul and dragged India to a venerable position and by the time they got out, India was done. Pant played a sublime knock with an incredible 114 before being scalped by Adil Rashid. Rahul was also picked up by Rashid for an exhilarating 149. India was bundled out for 345.
4. Matt Prior – 110*
This was a brazen effort from the English wicket-keeper who dragged the fight until the very last over to eke out an impossible draw against mighty New Zealand. Batting first New Zealand posted a whopping 443, thanks to Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson who led the battery. The English batting line-up crumbled like a house of cards as they were bundled out for 204. New Zealand came out to bat again and posted 241 for 6 with Peter Fulton cracking another century.
England was staring at a dead defeat with their scorecard reading 90 for 4 at one point in time. After the departure of Jonny Bairstow, Prior joined forces with Ian Bell and posted a resilient stand against the mighty Kiwis. Once Bell was removed, Prior made it a priority to defend the match at all costs. By the end of the day, he was unbeaten on 110 from 182 deliveries, escaping an assured defeat by a solitary wicket.
5. Alan Knott – 106*
Despite a crackling effort from Knott in the fourth innings, England failed to live up to their expectations. Batting first Australia posted 304, in the response to which England could only manage 172 runs. Already with a comprehensive lead under their belt, Doug Walters, Ian Redpath, and Rod Marsh fired Australia to the fore.
The English batters weren’t really up to the mark again and they came apart at the seams. Keith Fletcher and Alan Knott led the only bit of resistance but it wasn’t enough for England to cross the finishing line. Knott stayed unbeaten for 106 till the end but England succumbed to their batting woes.
6. AB De Villiers – 103
ABD played a crackling knock in the fourth innings of 1st Test to almost script a remarkable victory for the Proteas only to fall short by 7 runs in the end. Batting first India managed to put up 280 courtesy of a brilliant century from Virat Kohli. South Africa finished their first innings at 244 with Graeme Smith and Vernon Philander putting up the maximum friction.
India posted a solid show in the second innings as Kohli and Pujara rocked the South African bowlers back and forth, helping India to garner 421 runs in the process. With 457 to win, South Africa started firing on all cylinders with Alviro Peterson ad Graeme Smith spearheading the initial battery. However, the mantle was shortly taken over by Faf Du Plessis who crafted an excellent 134 while ABD scored a brilliant 103, finally getting castled by Ishant Sharma in the process. India made a narrow escape as the Rainbow Nation fell short by 7 runs in the end.
7. Mushfiqur Rahim – 101
This was another failed attempt at trying to re-patch a Bangladeshi chase. Despite being extraordinary with the ball in the hand in the first innings the Bangladeshi batsmen couldn’t really put up a gritty show. India managed to showcase exceptional aggression in the second innings and garnered 413 runs from 87 overs only. Despite a good start, Bangladesh was left reeling with the middle-order hung drawn and quartered. Mushfiqur fought until the very end but the effort wasn’t enough as they were tamed by a whopping 113 runs in the end.