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Double Centuries scored in the 4th innings of a Test

#2. Bill Edrich – 219 vs South Africa, 1939

Double centuries scored
Edrich was one of the game’s most prolific figures.

England had a 1-0 lead heading into the final of the five Tests at Durban in 1939. Having lost the two previous 5-match series by the same margin (1-0), England were desperate to not let this lead slip away at the Kingsmead. Pieter van der Bijl starred for the Proteas with a century in the first innings and a 97 in the second, as they set England a 696-run target.

England’s fightback started with a Leonard Hutton half-century, and when the first wicket fell, Bill Edrich was surprisingly promoted up the order ahead of Eddie Paynter. Edrich and Paul Gibb added 280 runs for the second wicket and batted for nearly 7 hours together. Edrich scored 219 runs in 460 minutes (no official count of the balls he faced.

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Wally Hammond and Paynter continued to bat for England and added 164 runs for the 4th wicket, helping England post the highest-ever fourth-innings total in Tests. At 654/5, both parties had to call off the game and settle with a draw as the visiting team had to catch their ship home.

#3. Sunil Gavaskar – 221 vs England, 1979

Sunil Gavaskar
Gavaskar sweeps enroute a special double century in his career.

David Gower’s double ton and Sir Ian Botham’s 7/156 earned England an innings victory in the first Test against India, and they carried that lead for another two games. Kennington Oval played hosts to the final Test and Geoffrey Boycott’s 125 in the second innings meant India needed 438 runs to win the Test match.

Indians looked with great hope and belief at their marathon man Sunil Gavaskar, who had starred previously in a 400-plus run-chase against West Indies. Even by his high standards, to pull off what he did over the last two days was beyond spectacular. Heading into the final day at 76/0 with Gavaskar batting on 42, the little master took his chances and made 438 look gettable against a deadly pace attack.

He added a solid 213-run opening stand with Chetan Chauhan and followed it up with another 153-run partnership with Vengsarkar. India seemed to be cruising towards their greatest Test win of all-time at 389/3, but when Gavaskar fell for 221, England picked up a few more crucial wickets and curbed India’s momentum. India eventually finished the final day at 429/8, just 9 short of the target and settling for a draw.

Also Watch Jonathan Agnew’s interview on our new show, “Voices of Cricket”

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