World Test Championship’s first edition remains a huge success to revive the Test format. In the gap of two years, we saw some incredible knocks. Fans glued to the TV screen while watching their favourite player ruling the sessions. How Ben Stokes overcome Leeds with a man-show or how Rishabh Pant ends the unbeaten run of Australia at Gabba with a fine 4th innings knock. There are so many batting tales that gave us some breathtaking experiences. Few batsmen showed us the real Test cricket with a defensive approach like Pujara and Smith or on the other side, few players showed us the T20 flavour in Tests like Pant and Stokes.
In this segment, we pick the top 5 best knocks in World Test Championship. We are not including high scores. We have picked those performances which came at tough phases of the game and helped his side to fight hard. Two Indians made it into the list and one West Indian player also found the spot.
Ben Stokes 135* vs AUS at Leeds
Ben Stokes’s remarkable knock will be regarded as the best knock of WTC and one of the best knocks in the history of Ashes. England were one down in the series and they were on the verge of losing the Ashes. England were one bowled out on just 67 in first innings. Australia picked their 9 wickets on 286 in the second innings and the match was out of England’s hands. Stokes played a memorable knock and told how to play with tailenders. He shifted his gear and played some attacking cricket like he did for England in WC 2019. Stokes added 76 runs with 11th number player Jack Leach to cross the line. Nobody would have imagined such a comeback in the Test format when Australia had a fabulous bowling attack. He scored unbeaten 135 with scoring 11 fours and 8 sixes. He holds the joint record of smashing most sixes in a WTC inning.
David Warner 335 vs PAK at Adelaide
David Warner welcomed Australia’s first home series in WTC with a bang. Warner had disappointing Ashes with the bat and he was struggling to get the form. Warner made a big mockery of Pakistan in Adelaide oval by playing his career’s best Test performance. Warner scored 335 runs with scoring 39 fours and one six. Australia won this game by one inning and 48 runs. The left-hander now holds the best individual score in WTC and most fours in a single inning. The batting was easy for him but taking it to 335 is a great achievement for a player in a D/N test. It remains the highest individual score in Pink-Ball Test.
Rohit Sharma 161 vs ENG at Chennai
India’s hitman Rohit Sharma played his best knock with 161 against England in Chennai’s Chepauk Stadium. India were one down in the series and to qualify for the finals, victory was mandatory for them. Chennai’s surface was pretty slow and batting was really tough in the second Test. England couldn’t even cross 200 in both innings. Rohit Sharma managed to get 161 on a tricky surface. He constructed the knock in the start and when the pitch started to favour the spin, he shifted his gears to get a good total for India in the first innings. The early lead helped India to win the match and later, India won the series 3-1. His 161 in Chennai is better than his any double hundred.
Kayle Mayers 210* vs BAN at Chattogram
Kayle Mayers surprised world cricket by pulling off the greatest chase in Test cricket. He scored a double hundred while chasing 395 against Bangladesh. It was his debut Test match for West Indies and Mayers entered into the elite club of those players who scored a double hundred on Test debut. It was the second winning double hundred in Test’s 4th innings after 1984. West Indies was struggling against the spin-attack of Bangladesh and the match was slipping from the visitors. Batting was not easy on the fifth day in subcontinent pitches but Mayers put a great stand with the middle-order and chased down the highest successful run-chase in Asia. The underdogs West Indies later won the series 2-0.
Rishabh Pant 89* vs AUS at Brisbane
Rishabh Pant’s 89at Australia’s fortress Gabba is our fifth best knock of WTC 2019-21. Border-Gavaskar trophy was leveled at 1-1 and Indians were under pressure after some injuries. With young guns, they got the tough task of chasing 328 runs. Pujara and Pant set up the chase on the fifth day but losing back-to-back wickets kept Australia on top. Pant played his attacking game to come close to the target. He added vital runs with Sundar and Shardul to cross the line for India. It was Australia’s first loss at Gabba after 32 years and India retained the trophy for the 3rd consecutive time. His heroics also helped him to win the inaugural player of the month award.
Special Mention: Jos Buttler 152 vs Pak at Southampton