5 batsmen who scored most Test runs before their first double century

Sachin Tendulkar

Here is a list of batsmen who scored the most runs before compiling a Test double century.

Talent creates its own hemisphere, and it's difficult to make good on all the expectations that fall into it. For decent Test batsmen, scoring a double century is perhaps one landmark that is not too difficult to tick-mark.

Only 14 of the 93 batsmen with 5000+ Test runs haven't scored a double century. While some registered a 200 fairly early in their careers, there have been others for whom a double century took its time coming.

Here is a list of batsmen who scored the most runs before compiling a Test double century.

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar

Matches: 70, Innings: 109, Runs: 5380, Average: 55.46, 100s: 20, Highest: 179

Those who followed the master's career closely enough would not be surprised to find his name in this list. Given his talent, it is rather surprising that Sachin took a relatively long time to score his first ODI hundred (78 innings) and his first Test double hundred (70 Tests).

It came against New Zealand at Ahmedabad (November 1999). Having survived an early LBW shout off Paul Wiseman's bowling, Tendulkar made full use of the extra life by pouncing on the New Zealand bowling. He smashed 29 boundaries and was finally out for 217. The match eventually ended in a draw, but it retains its significance as the master's first coming.

Gundappa Viswanath

Vishy essaying his trademark square cut
 Matches: 79, Innings: 138, Runs: 5450, Average: 42.24, 100s: 13, Highest: 179

The inspiration for many Indian batsmen of the 80s, Gundappa Viswanath was the supreme batting artist and although his record may not state it, he was every bit as crucial to India's fortunes as Sunil Gavaskar.

While a fascinating fact about his 14 Test hundreds is that none of them came in a losing cause (remarkable, given India's overall poor record during his time), an equally intriguing fact is that his first Test double century (222 off 374 balls) was his last century (14th). The timing of that innings though may have been unremarkable - it came in one of the most tepid Test rubbers of all time.

In the 5th game of the 6-match series vs England in 1981/82, India opted to bat first on a placid Chennai surface and amassed 481 in an astounding 152 overs. England replied in earnest and batted the same number of overs, scoring 153 fewer runs, with Chris Tavare scoring 35 runs in 4 long hours.

An utterly forgettable Test match, with an unforgettable Vishy masterclass.


Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly celebrating his 200 vs Pakistan

Matches: 99, Innings: 161, Runs: 6016, Average: 41.48, 100s: 14, Highest: 173

2007, India vs Pakistan, Eden Gardens, India were reduced to 61-4 by the modest swing bowling of Yasir Arafat when a returning Sourav Ganguly knitted a 300 run partnership (in one day) with Yuvraj Singh (169 runs) and scored 239 runs himself to steer India to safety.

Ganguly's penchant for theatrics and occasion gave him the prize he had yearned for his entire career. While his Test average never dropped below 40, he had not quite risen to the heights expected of him after his brilliant debut in 1996. After all the controversy that brewed during his feud with Greg Chappell, he had a point to prove when he was recalled to the Test side for the 2006/07 tour of South Africa after an 11-month absence. A string of useful performances meant that he was retained over the next year but one felt that a defining performance was in the reckoning.

And here he was, against an arch-rival, with the series on the line, producing a masterclass, sending 32 hits to the fence (30 fours and 2 sixes).

Typical Dada, coming good when it mattered most.

Allan Border

The Ashes 1981

Matches: 90, Innings: 159, Runs: 6926, Average: 52.46, 100s: 21, Highest: 196

Allan Border was the bulwark which the fledgeling Australian side of the 80s rested on before resurrecting itself as world beaters starting in the early 90s. His importance and stature were never in doubt before he got to his double hundred, for he had offered stoic (and sole) resistance on so many occasions.

It was when a depleted Australian side took on an equally depleted New Zealand team at MCG in 1987, that Border climbed the mountain he got so far up almost 2 years back (196 vs England). Occupying the crease for nearly 10 hours, he scored 205 in a high scoring, but a slow Test match that ended in a draw.

Jacques Kallis

Jacques Kallis en-route his double hundred

Matches: 142, Innings: 241, Runs: 11449, Average: 55.84, 100s: 37, Highest: 189*

The top spot is occupied by perhaps the most complete cricketer of the 21st century. One can argue that given the high flying talent that he was surrounded by, Kallis acted as the pivot around whom they batted. It took him an agonising 14 years and 142 Test matches for him to register his first Test double century and it came in a match of epic proportions.

An under-prepared India were up against the mighty Proteas at Centurion, and true to their reputation, were all out for 136. Smelling blood courtesy an easing pitch and India's moderate bowling, South Africa plundered a mammoth 620/4, with the other two centurions (Amla, De Villiers) batting around Kallis who stuck to the crease for 6 and a half hours. India replied strongly with Tendulkar notching his 50th Test hundred but it was no day for glory as they went down by an innings and 25 runs.

Kallis, meanwhile, scored another double century in the tour of England shortly afterwards, just to show his first double hundred wasn't a fluke.