It was the twelfth day of April in 2004 when Brian Charles Lara went on to become the first cricketer to reach the 400 run mark in test innings. West Indies were 3-0 down in the home series against England and every pundit around predicted a humiliating whitewash. But Brian refused to budge and played for about 13 hours facing 582 deliveries to create a milestone ahead of Hayden’s 380 (1994) and helped the Windies draw this match.
15 long years and the record still stands strong with the current crop of batsmen failing to reach even close. David Warner’s 335* against Pakistan did kindle some hopes only for an innings declare to ruin them.
According to ESPN, Lara had 97% control over his batting and his perfect leg glance (115 runs off it) avoided any LBW chances. It was the patience and technique that led to such a massive score. However, a few of these newer band of batsmen can emulate this feat and even score more. Here is a list of batsmen who can beat this record:
1. Steve Smith:
Smith has reached 7000 test runs in 126 innings, which is the fastest by any player. His average of 63.75 speaks about his brilliance at length and after his comeback from the one year ban, Steven has only grown as a player. Smith has 26 hundred in this format places him just below Virat Kohli’s tally of 27 who is the current leader of the charts in this generation of batsmen. Smith is leading the ICC table this year with 937 points. He finishes the Ashes 2019 with 774 runs the most by any side.
What gives Smith a real shot at this record is his ability to counter the swing in the initial sessions. He has an unorthodox technique that helps him shuffle at will, giving a considerable number of half chances to the bowlers but Steven just doesn’t lose his wicket.
2. Virat Kohli:
With 27 hundred in 141 innings, the Indian skipper has challenged many great standing records already. He is the only batsman in the current scenario to have a 50+ average in all three international formats. From the hundred in the final test of the South Series to his first test century on English soil, Virat has made cricket look too easy in the past few years.
His 7 double centuries add greatness and persistence to his CV.
This No.18 can bat for hours and still run at the same speed. His knack of scoring runs with agreed to do more, gives him an edge over others. Once Virat gets going, it’s just his show that eventually becomes the highlights of the match.
3. Rohit Sharma:
His revamp in test cricket was marked by a brilliant century in the first test followed by 212 in the third. The South African bowlers had no positive result even after having used all the possible resources. This Mumbai batsman is one in a kind, once he gets going there’s no stop. He blew the records of maximum sixes in an innings, in a test match and eventually in a test series. Rohit as an opener doesn’t only solve the country’s requirement of a solid start but also gives the 32-year-old a fair chance to score big.
Rohit can score 400 runs in an innings at nearly half the number of deliveries Brian took to reach the score.
4. Marnus Labuschagne:
This is no unexpected name in the list after the heroics starting from the Ashes 2019 in England to the recent Pakistan series at home. Marnus Labuschagne was a concussion substitute for Steven Smith on the fifth day of the second test following the former’s injury. With big boots to fill, Labuschagne scored a brilliant 59 which was Australia’s top scorer in the innings. He then went on to score 4 fifties in his first four innings in the Ashes.
Marnus has scored more test runs than any other batsman in 2019. He has scored 829 runs in 9 test matches, leading countryman Smith by 15 runs. Labuschagne’s consecutive hundreds against Pakistan speak a lot on his ability to score big centuries and continue batting in different circumstances.
5. Babar Azam:
Pakistan’s limited-overs captain has been the only bright spot in their lineup against Australia in November 2019. His centuries in both test matches are the only highlights to the miserable Pakistani innings. Babar Azam has had his moments with the white ball and has shown similar ability in test matches also.
The 25-year old’s cover drive is compared to Virat Kohli’s, his sweet timing and consistency is something I would want to bet on. Babar Azam will take his time but surely be a candidate to score 400 runs in test innings.