The Daily Top 5 takes on the fastest Test centuries of all time, including unforgettable knocks by a couple of modern Australian greats and a pair of West Indian legends, a recent record-equalling effort by a Pakistani captain and a performance by an Australian that stood unmatched for more than six decades.
FASTEST TEST CENTURIES
5. David Warner (Australia) v India, 2012 – 69 balls
At the time the equal-fourth fastest ton in Test history, Warner’s second century in the baggy green was one for the ages. He compiled his 69-ball hundred during the final session of the first day at the WACA by blasting 13 fours and three sixes. The remainder of his innings was snail-paced by comparison, eventually out for 180 off 159 balls as Australia powered to victory by an innings and 37 runs.
5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) v Australia, 2003 – 69 balls
Chanderpaul used his crab-like stance with devastating effect against the touring Australians at Georgetown in 2003. Coming in with his side in deep trouble at 4/47 on the opening morning, No.6 Chanderpaul swatted 15 fours and two sixes on his way to a memorable ton. It was to no avail as the Windies rolled over for 237 and were beaten by nine wickets.
4. Jack Gregory (Australia) v South Africa, 1921 – 67 balls
From a famous cricketing family, North Sydney-born Gregory scored two centuries in 24 Tests – the latter at Wanderers earning him a place atop the record books for 65 years. Overshadowed somewhat by the great Herbie Collins’ 203, Gregory shared in a 209-run stand with Collins and hammered 19 fours and two sixes in an 85-minute knock of 119. He beat the fastest-century record of England’s Gilbert Jessop (76 balls), set in 1902.
3. Adam Gilchrist (Australia) v England, 2006 – 57 balls
The incomparable Gilchrist smashed Gregory’s 85-year-old Australian record for fastest ton and came within one ball of equalling the all-time Test mark against the hapless English side at the WACA in 2006. Coming in at No.7 in the second innings and looking to atone for a first-innings duck, ‘Gilly’ reached his 50 in a brisk 40 balls. He then opened up, crushing three sixes and a four in four balls of a Monty Panesar over. Gilchrist had the chance to break or equal Viv Richards’ record when he was on 97 off 54 balls, but he was unable to find another boundary. Nevertheless, it was a magical effort featuring 12 fours and four sixes. Ricky Ponting declared with Gilchrist unbeaten on 102 and Australia went on to win by 206 runs.
1. Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan) v Australia, 2014/15 – 56 balls
Pakistan skipper Misbah’s record-equalling performance in Abu Dhabi came out of nowhere. The 40-year-old had scored 101 off 168 balls in the first innings, but absolutely dismantled the Australian attack in his side’s second dig. He knocked Jacques Kallis (24 balls) out of the record books with the quickest half-century of all time, bringing up 50 in a preposterous 21 balls, and went on with the job to equal Sir Viv’s hallowed mark. Misbah hit 11 fours and five sixes before declaring as he steered Pakistan to an emphatic 356-run win.
1. Viv Richards (West Indies) v England, 1985/86 – 56 balls
The brilliant Richards obliterated Jack Gregory’s long-standing record by 11 balls at England’s expense in St John’s, Antingua. The ‘Master Blaster’ belted seven boundaries and seven sixes in his 110 not out, which took just 58 deliveries, on his home ground. Aided by a lifeless pitch and weary English attack, Richards’ innings is not exactly remembered as one of the greatest, but it was historic and cemented his billing as the greatest cricketer of his generation.