In modern-day cricket, it’s quite difficult for a bowler to feature in all three formats regularly. Though limited-overs cricket, especially, T20 cricket has taken the world by storm, Test cricket remains the most challenging format in the sport.
From Muttiah Muralitharan to Shane Warne, from Anil Kumble to Glenn McGrath, all had to prove their mettle in the purest format of the game before making their names in the cricketing arena.
Although smacking 20+ runs in an over is a common sight in the shorter formats, the same can’t be said about Test cricket. Keeping that in mind, we present you the six most expensive overs in Test cricket history:
6. Brian Lara – 26 runs vs Danish Kaneria at Multan, 2006-07
Legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara showcased his class during the second Test of West Indies tour of Pakistan in 2006-07 in Multan. Lara smacked 26 runs off Danish Kaneria in the 84th over of West Indies’ first innings.
On the first ball, Lara stepped out and smashed Kaneria over his head for a four. On the third ball, the southpaw went on the back foot and pulled Kaneria’s delivery over mid-wicket for a six.
On the next two deliveries, he stepped out and smashed two sixes over the sightscreen. He ended the over by smacking a four towards the mid-wicket region. Lara went on to score 216 runs before Kaneria dismissed him.
5. Craig McMillan – 26 vs Younis Khan at Hamilton, 2001
During Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in 2001, Kiwi all-rounder Craig McMillan ruthlessly smashed Younis Khan in the third Test at Hamilton. On day 4, New Zealand were eyeing the declaration after restricting Pakistan for a paltry 104 runs.
The onus was on McMillan to accelerate the flow of runs after Inzamam-ul-Haq handed the ball to Younis Khan, hoping that the part-time bowler might create magic. However, his decision backfired as McMillan smashed 26 runs off Younis.
He smacked four boundaries on the trot before depositing the fifth ball into the car park outside the ground. He ended the over with another boundary through the point region. McMillan was eventually dismissed on 98 before New Zealand declared at 407.
4. Shahid Afridi – 27 vs Harbhajan Singh in Lahore, 2006
Shahid Afridi was considered a part-time bowler but caused more damage with the ball than the lead bowlers. He was very unreliable with the bat. However, he could butcher any bowling attack on his day.
During India’s tour of Pakistan in 2006, Harbhajan Singh was on the receiving end of Afridi’s wrath. He smashed 27 runs off Harbhajan in the first innings of the first Test in Lahore.
In the 136th over, Afridi smashed Harbhajan for four consecutive sixes while the fifth and sixth deliveries yielded two and one, respectively. Afridi notched up his century off just 78 balls as the game ended in a draw.
3. George Bailey – 28 vs James Anderson in Perth, 2013
The 2013-14 Ashes yielded a famous result as Australia thrashed England 5-0 on home soil to retain the prestigious trophy. Notably, England had defeated Australia 3-0 less than a year ago.
During the third Test in Perth, Australia had already piled up a match-winning lead on the board and they were looking to score quick runs. George Bailey walked out to bat and did exactly that.
James Anderson walked up to bowl the 87th over and Bailey dispatched the first two balls over the boundary ropes. While the third and fourth ball yielded two runs each, Bailey cleared the long-off and the long-on boundaries, respectively, on the last two balls.
2. Keshav Maharaj – 28 vs Joe Root in Port Elizabeth 2019-20
England skipper Joe Root took four wickets on Day 3 of the third Test against South Africa at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth. However, he was taken to the cleaners on Day 4 by spin-bowling all-rounder, Keshav Maharaj.
Maharaj smashed three boundaries on the trot before hitting back-to-back sixes off Root. The last delivery saw four byes and Root took himself off the attack. Maharaj went on to score his second Test fifty before he was run out by Sam Curran.
1. Brian Lara – 28 vs Robin Peterson in Johannesburg 2003
Before hammering Kaneria in 2006, Brian Lara launched a similar attack on left-arm spinner Robin Peterson at Johannesburg in 2003. On the last over of day 3, Graeme Smith gave the ball to Peterson while Lara was batting on 150.
Lara started the assault by smashing a boundary through point. On the second and third ball of the over, Lara raced down the track and cleared the long-on boundary on both occasions.
Lara smashed three fours on the last three deliveries to move closer to his double ton. He was eventually dismissed on 202 by Andre Nel. The Proteas won the game by 189 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the series.