Just over a year ago India captain Virat Kohli scored his first Test double-century against West Indies – and he’s already plundered three more since, against New Zealand, England and Bangladesh.
But the abrasive batting genius still has a way to go to put himself onto this list.
4=. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) – 7
A genuine modern cricketing great, Jayawardene racked up 34 centuries and 50 half-centuries in 149 Tests between 1997 and 2014 – and went on to make seven double-centuries. He scored 242 against India in Colombo in 1999 – just his seventh Test – but his penchant for going on with the job truly began with his record 374 against South Africa in Colombo in 2006. In the ensuing three and a half years, Jayawardene amassed scores of 213* (v England in Galle), 240 (v Pakistan in Karachi) and 275 (v India in Ahmedabad). He also boasts 237 against South Africa in Galle (2004) and 203* against Bangladesh in Dhaka (2014) on a stacked resume, helping him to a career average of 49.84.
4=. Wally Hammond (England) – 7
A stunning average of 58.45 in 85 Tests suggests more than a few massive scores, and England legend Hammond produced many in a career spanning almost 20 years. Hammond’s first century – in his 10th Test – was a monster, scoring 251 against Australia in Sydney on the 1928-29 Ashes tour. He duly backed that up with 200 at the MCG in his next innings, while in Adelaide he tallied 119* and 177. Four years later he toyed with New Zealand, scoring 227 in Auckland and a then-world record 336* in Christchurch. Hammond’s other double-tons again came in a cluster, scoring 215 against the touring India side at the Oval in 1936 and 231* at the SCG four months later. His last double-ton came against the expense of the Aussies at Lord’s in 1938, scoring 240.
- Brian Lara (West Indies) – 9
The best since Bradman in the eyes of many, Lara’s 34 centuries in 131 Tests at 52.88 included nine scores over 200. The left-handed magician score 277 against Australia at the SCG in 1993 in just his fifth Test, while a little over a year later the 24-year-old broke compatriot Sir Garfield Sobers’ long-standing world record by scoring 375 against England in St John’s. Incredibly, just six months after Matt Hayden broke Lara’s mark with 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003, Lara became the first player to score a quadruple century – again versus England in St John’s, almost exactly a decade after his original record-breaking performance – with 400 not out. In the twilight of his incomparable career Lara scored 226 against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2005 and 216 against Pakistan in Multan, his second-last Test appearance. Lara, Bradman, Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag are the only players with two scores over 300 in Tests.
- Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) – 11
In a phenomenal 134-Test career from 2000-15, Sangakkara came desperately close to the record for most double-centuries, while his 38 tons are behind only Tendulkar, Ponting and Kallis – all of whom played at least 32 more matches – in Test history. Sangakkara’s first 200-plus score came against Pakistan in Lahore in 2002, while he notched two double-centuries in the space of three months against Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2004. During another purple patch, he scored 287 against the Proteas in 2006 and unbeaten scores of 200 and 222 in back-to-back Tests against Bangladesh in 2007. Agonisingly close with 199* and 192 in consecutive Tests against Pakistan in 2012, Sangakarra tortured Bangladesh again with 319 in 2014, and added to his double-ton list against Pakistan and New Zealand within the next 11 months, finishing a glittering Test tenure with a 57.40 average.
- Don Bradman (Australia) – 12
Who else could it be but ‘The Don’? The Australian legend’s statistics dwarf every other player to have picked up a bat, scoring 29 centuries – including 12 doubles and two triples – in just 52 Tests from 1928-48. During the 1930 Ashes series in England, with only one previous series under his belt, Bradman scored 254, 334 (the first triple-century in Test history) and 232. After scoring 226 and 299* against South Africa at home in the 1931-32 summer, Bradman overcame a relatively lean trot by his standards to plunder 304 at Headingley and 244 at The Oval in consecutive Tests during the 1934 Ashes campaign. Bradman also managed double-centuries in back-to-back Tests against England on home soil in the 1936-37 series, and picked up after World War II where he left off, scoring 234 against England at the SCG in 1946 and 201 against India at the Adelaide Oval the following summer, finishing with the iconic average of 99.94.