Friday, January 13, 2012

The five fastest centuries of all time in test cricket

Viv Richards, West Indies v England, St John's 1986
56 BALLS
The hapless tourists came to Antigua 4-0 down. West Indies' 'Master Blaster' reached 103 in 56 balls to secure the infamous 5-0 'blackwash'. Richards came to the crease soon before tea, and reached his half century in 35 balls soon after the interval. Sixes flew in all directions thereafter. Another flew out of the ground into the adjacent prison. England spinner John Emburey described it as "the biggest carnage I has seen in such a short space of time in any first-class game".
Adam Gilchrist, Australia v England, Perth 2006
57 BALLS
I would have guessed Viv Richards was anywhere in the mix, Australia's wicket-keeper said after planting England's bowlers - mostly Monty Panesar - all over the WACA. Having scored two ducks already in the series, there was no reason to propose Gilchrist would go on to beat four sixes and 12 fours. Richards' record had looked in sight when Panesar was dismissing for 24 in one over. With the shadows expansion, it was 103 minutes of pure power-hitting joy.
Jack Gregory, Australia v South Africa, Johannesburg 1921
67 BALLS
Gregory enjoyed a brief but crashing Test career. He had hinted of his intention before entering the fray at Johannesburg when the expert Australian blasted a ton in 135 minutes in the MCG Test earlier in the year. next to South Africa he did it in 70 minutes - still the fastest of all time - as Australia went on to gain a historic series win.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, West Indies v Australia, Georgetown 2003
69 BALLS
Dour and set for the most part, on this day controlling and merciless. The second West Indian to make the list, albeit one with a puzzling V stance, who left Australia clueless in Georgetown. Most group would have turned off the TV when Brian Lara was dismissed, leaving West Indies' precariously placed on 47-4. But Ridley Jacobs's unbeaten 54 gave conflict to Chanderpaul (15 fours, two sixes), with no one else able to muster over 30. It was the hosts' only respite as Australia won by nine wickets.
David Warner, Australia v India, Perth 2012
69 BALLS
There is only one ground but left-hander David Warner made it look like two after India had been bowled out for a paltry 161 soon after tea. The firework ensued thereafter, Warner unleashing an attack of stroke play, as well as straight sixes down the ground, to reach his second Test century in just 69 balls. "I was looking at my strike-rate and I said this ain't test cricket, this is a little different," he said later. After an engrossing first day, he wasn't far wrong.

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