As the batsmen dug deep to eke out match-winning knocks, the year 2019 witnessed some dramatic batting performances.
While there were several running feasts, 2019 stood out as a year when in difficult circumstances, batsmen fought the odds and scored important runs.
Here is our list of top five Test knocks:-
1. Kusal Perera 153* vs South Africa, Durban
It was the time when Sri Lanka had lost 11 out of 13 Test matches they played on South African soil before the start of the two-match series. In a constant transitional state with a side for more than five years now and a new captain in place, not many gave the islanders a chance.
At that time, the trio of Philander, Rabada, and Steyn reduced the visitors to 110/5 and the match looked all over. But there were other preparations from the hard-hitting Kusal Perera. The diminutive southpaw decided to take the bowling side of the attack and scored a century. When Kasun Rajitha was denied for 1, to win the match, Sri Lanka still needed 78 runs.
2. Ben Stokes – 135* vs Australia, Leeds
It was the time when England needed to win over Australia and the England team believed in themselves because Ben Stokes was still in the middle. From nowhere, he had won them the ICC World Cup, and a rescue act was shown again. Stokes fought all that came his way and avoided a couple of close calls and chances.
But fortune eventually favors the brave. In his unbeaten knock of 135, Stokes hit eight sixes and 11 boundaries as the hosts hung on to win by a solitary wicket. It is necessary to mention the contribution of number 11 Jack Leach as he remained unbeaten on 1 after exactly one hour in the middle.
3. Steve Smith – 144 vs England, Birmingham
As a cricketer, Steve Smith could not have given a better account of himself as he did in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. Returning to Test cricket for the first time since his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith found himself in an unenviable situation with a crowd of people constantly reminding him of his misdeeds.
All was perfect as the running machine was back in business from his leaves outside the off stump to his stroke play. By the time Smith was dismissed for 144, with a total of 284, Australia had clawed back into the game. In the second innings, he created another masterclass, scoring 142 to help the Aussies set the hosts a 398-run target. Needless to say, the match was won by Australia and the man of the match was Smith.
4. David Warner – 335* vs Pakistan, Adelaide
After his return to Test cricket post the ball-tampering ban, David Warner hadn’t set the field on fire with his bat. But the summer in Australia gave him the perfect opportunity to return to his brilliant form. Warner demolished a young and hapless attack on the Adelaide Oval in Pakistan.
In the first innings, the opener hit 39 boundaries and single six on the way to an unbeaten 335. Some thought he was going for the 400 Test record of Brian Lara, but captain Tim Paine decided to declare the innings. Warner was proud to surpass the iconic Don Bradman and make a statement to the world.
5. Mayank Agarwal – 243 vs Bangladesh, Indore
Those who followed the career of Mayank Agarwal would know how long he had to wait in the wings to get his international call-up. But the opener hasn’t looked back since his Australian debut. He took his game to the next level against Bangladesh after a productive outing in West Indies and at home against South Africa.
The wicket wasn’t the most difficult and the bowling attack wasn’t the strongest, but as he scored his maiden double century, Mayank made a statement. His 243 knock was studded with a maximum of 28 fours 8 sixes.