Top 10 Test Innings of all time
1. Don Bradman
270 for Australia v England at Melbourne in 1936-37.
Wisden Rating: 262.4
Australia had lost the first two Tests by huge margins. Bradman, in his first series as captain, had made a duck in each match. Now, in the third, Australia were 97 for 5 in the second innings when The Don went out to bat. Struggling with 'flu, his reputation as a batsman and captain on the line, he faced Bill Voce and Gubby Allen, frighteningly fast on the rain-affected pitch, which also helped the master spinner Hedley Verity. Careful at first, increasing the tempo as he went on, Bradman hit his highest score against England at home, sharing a record stand of 346 with Jack Fingleton. Australia's win by 365 runs was the pivotal moment of the series: they're still the only side to win one after being 2-0 down. Bradman finished with 810 runs in the series and his place at the top secure for ever.
2. Brian Lara
153* for West Indies v Australia at Bridgetown in 1998-99
Wisden Rating: 255.2
If Lara's double-century in the previous Test (No.22 in the Wisden ratings) changed the course of the series, this stamped his name on it for ever. An Australian team containing Slater, Ponting, McGrath, Warne and the Waugh twins lost a match which they began by amassing 490. The bare details of West Indies' second innings are exciting enough: set 308 to win, they got there with one wicket to spare. But it was the manner in which Lara shepherded his lower order to victory that lives in the memory. West Indies were 105 for 5, then still 70 short with eight wickets down--one mistake by their captain would have cost them the match and probably the series. Instead he made half their runs and rescued West Indies cricket from its lowest ebb. The complete redemption of a prodigal son.
3. Graham Gooch
154* for England v West Indies at Headingley in 1991.
Wisden Rating: 252.0
Graham Gooch had scored 333 against India the previous year, but this was his finest hour - or seven. Having fronted up to West Indies' four-pronged pace attack for more than a decade, he now enjoyed some serious payback. Faced with all-time greats like Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh, plus the spiteful pace of Patrick Patterson, in bad light, on a typically uncomfortable Headingley pitch, Gooch scored over 60% of England's runs in the second innings (no-one else made more than 27). The captain's concentration, sustained despite several breaks for rain, was as impressive as the typical power of his shots (18 fours). In becoming the first England opener for 11 years to carry his bat in a Test, he set up their first home win over West Indies since 1969 and, at long last, a competitive series between the two.
4. Ian Botham
149* for England v Australia at Headingley in 1981
Wisden Rating: 240.8
At the time, Mike Brearley's return as captain didn't seem quite so messianic. In their second innings, England were 92 behind with only three wickets left. Enter fast bowler Graham Dilley to help Ian Botham add some respectability before the inevitable defeat and a 2-0 series deficit. In the previous Test, his last as captain, Botham had made a pair. Here he added to his first-innings 50 with some of the most outrageous hitting ever seen at this level. Against a pace attack of Dennis Lillee, Terry Alderman and Geoff Lawson, he and Dilley added 117 in 80 minutes to turn the match on its head. England were the first side since 1894-95 to win a Test match after following on -- and Botham hadn't finished yet. His performances in this series, which uplifted a country ridden with riots and economic strife, made him England's last authentic cricketing hero.
5. Don Bradman
299* for Australia v South Africa at Adelaide in 1931-32.
Wisden Rating: 236.8
Call this a culmination. Earlier in the series, Bradman had scored 226, 112 and 167. Now he capped it all with one of his definitive innings: in control and insatiable. Playing through a bad patch, he dominated every partnership, scoring 58% of Australia's total. He ran out Alan Kippax in trying to reach his hundred and poor Pud Thurlow in going for the 300 - but it was forgivable, given all the running he did: only 92 of his runs came from boundaries. The Don had now scored a hundred in each of his last seven matches. The greatest at his voracious best.
6. VVS Laxman
281 for India v Australia at Calcutta in 2000-01
Wisden Rating: 234.8
Australia had set an astounding world record by winning their previous 16 Test matches, including the first in this series - and were surely about to make it 17. Forced to follow on, India were still 42 behind with six wickets left when Rahul Dravid came out to join Laxman, whose Test batting average was an undistinguished 27. The result: a day in which Australia conceded 335 runs without taking a wicket. Laxman was particularly severe on Shane Warne, often coming down the pitch to hit against the spin, but equally positive against the pace of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie: his 281, a new Test record for India, was scored quickly enough for Australia to be bowled out. Their defeat in this match and the next completed one of the great reversals of all time.
7. Clem Hill
188 for Australia v England at Melbourne in 1897-98.
Wisden Rating: 234.2
When Australia collapsed to 57 for 6 against some mighty fast bowling by Tom Richardson and the nip of JT Hearne, England were on the point of squaring the series. They were thwarted by a left-hander who would one day set a record for most runs in Test cricket but was now only 20 years old. Defying a lionhearted Richardson, the legspin brilliance of Johnny Briggs, and smoke from nearby bush fires, Clem Hill played probably the greatest innings in a Test between Australia and England, putting on 165 for the seventh wicket with Hugh Trumble to turn the match and regain the Ashes.
8. Azhar Mahmood
132 for Pakistan v South Africa at Durban in 1997-98.
Wisden Rating: 232.6
South Africa's pace attack had more depth than at any other time in their history: Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock supported by Fanie de Villiers and Lance Klusener. No surprise that Pakistan were put in to bat on a treacherous pitch -- or that they should be reduced to 89 for 5. Salvation came in the form of a 22-year-old allrounder who seemed to be batting too low at No.7: his century was already his third in six Test innings against South Africa. Tucking into a great pace bowler like Donald, he scored 96 runs in boundaries while proving himself an expert shepherd of a tail: he made 90% of Pakistan's last 106 runs. They went on to win a low-scoring match by 29.
9. Kim Hughes
100* for Australia v West Indies at Melbourne in 1981-82
Wisden Rating: 229.7
Kim Hughes is best remembered for losing the 1981 Ashes series and a tearful resignation as Australia's captain against West Indies. But he deserves better than that. One of the most talented batsmen of his generation, he had brighter moments against the Windies. Facing perhaps the greatest fast-bowling quarters of all time -- Holding, Roberts, Garner and Croft with all their hostility and variety -- Hughes belied his youthful, even angelic looks with a brave and fluent hundred on a tricky pitch. Made out of a total of only 198, it enabled Australia to win a low-scoring match and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
10. Brian Lara
375 for West Indies v England at Antigua in 1993-94.
Wisden Rating: 228.1
Garry Sobers had predicted great things for Brian Lara from the start--so it was appropriate that the great man should be there to congratulate him in person when Lara broke his world record for the highest score in Test cricket. Against a bowling attack that included Angus Fraser, Andy Caddick and Phil Tufnell, Lara batted for the equivalent of two days without giving a chance, the innings of a man in a vein of form that batsmen usually only dream about: two months later, he set the world record for the highest score in all first-class cricket: an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham.
100. Dudley Nourse
208 for South Africa against England at Trent Bridge in 1951.
Wisden Rating: 186.9
A captain's innings if ever there was one. In scoring his country's first double century against England, Nourse batted for over nine hours with a broken thumb. In great pain whenever he tried to play a forcing shot, he was forced to miss the second innings - but the platform had been established by then: South Africa won this first Test by 71 runs.
A look at the Wisden -- 100 list shows the following batsmen who have secured the maximum number of spots:
Greg Chappel: 3
No surprise that Bradman has 5 spots. This only means that in whichever way we look at, Bradman's name comes through as the greatest cricketer who ever played cricket.
Out of these players the only active player in the list is Brian Lara. If he plays another innings such as the 153*, 375 and the 213, the three innings in the list, he would take over the second spot. Great innings by Tendulkar are still to be played in the future.