Australian opener David Warner smashed a brilliant 335 not out against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval during the second Test of the series. Warner had hit the runs from 418 balls with 39 fours and a six. Had Aussie captain Tim Paine not declared the innings at 589 for 3, Warner could have challenged Brian Lara’s world record of 400. As the cricketing fraternity sings praises of the Australian southpaw, we look at five batsmen who could possibly challenge Lara’s historic score.
#5. Mayank Agarwal
Having toiled hard in domestic cricket for years, Indian opener Mayank Agarwal has demonstrated his hunger on the big stage in a short international career. The 28-year-old clearly wants to make up for lost time. In just nine Tests, since making his famous debut at Melbourne last year, Agarwal has compiled 872 runs at an average of 67.07 with three hundreds and as many fifties. Two of his centuries were converted into double hundreds. With his aptitude for scoring big, Agarwal could be one of the challengers to Lara’s record, perhaps the dark horse.
#4. David Warner
He nearly got there once, and there is no reason why he can’t get there again. After meeting the man himself (Lara) recently, David Warner admitted that he is hoping for one more shot at the Windies legend’s record. The advantage the opener has is that he scores big runs at a brisk pace. His 335 against Pakistan came at a strike rate of 80.14, and even his previous best of 253 against New Zealand was notched up at a strike rate of 88.46. Warner’s Test career strike rate itself stands at 73.60.
#3. Steve Smith
Another Aussie, the great Steve Smith, is also capable of crossing the 400 barrier. The former captain has an insatiable thirst for marathon runs, fuelled further by the unfortunate events of Newlands 2018. He made a sensational Ashes return, scoring 774 runs with three hundreds, including a double century. Earlier, in the 2014-15 home series against India, he had smashed 769 runs in four Tests. Smith’s passion to bat on and on makes him a serious contender to break Lara’s magical score.
#2. Rohit Sharma
The makeshift Indian Test opener has only just resurrected his Test career, but Rohit Sharma has been so impressive in his new role that he makes the short-list. The one thing that works heavily in Sharma’s favour is the fact that he is used to scoring monster runs in ODIs — the only cricketer with three double hundreds in the format. Sharma recently notched up his maiden Test double hundred — 212, which came off 255 balls against South Africa at a strike rate of 83.13. His dual talent of making sizeable runs at a swift pace could see him getting close to Lara’s record in the near future.
#1. Virat Kohli
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli also has the ability to become the first Indian to cross 400. The number one Test batsman, Kohli has as many as seven double hundreds in the longer format of the game. His best of 254 not out against South Africa came at a strike rate of 75.59. Before that, his 243 versus Delhi was scored off merely 287 balls, at a brilliant strike rate of 84.66. Like Warner and Sharma, Kohli also loves batting aggressively, and for long hours. His amazing consistency is what sets him apart from the rest and, on par with Smith.