New Zealand’s BJ Watling wrote his name into the record books during the first Test against England at Mount Maunganui. Watling scored 205 from 473 balls with the aid of 24 boundaries and a six, and thus became the first wicket-keeper batsman from New Zealand to register a double hundred in Tests.
The previous best by a Kiwi wicket-keeper bat was Brendon McCullum’s 185 against Bangladesh at Hamilton in 2010.
Watling’s marathon effort took New Zealand to 615 for 9 before they declared, in reply to England’s 353. During the course of his innings, Watling was involved in a seventh wicket partnership of 261 with Mitchell Santner, who made with his career-best score of 126.
Neil Wagner’s second innings five-for bowled Kiwis to victory, but Watling was the man of the match.
There have been only a few instances of wicket-keepers scoring double hundreds in Tests. Here are five of the more memorable ones.
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#5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 200 against Sri Lanka in 2013
The experienced Bangladesh wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim scored exactly 200 from 321 balls against Sri Lanka in the Galle Test of March 2013. The standout feature of his innings was the fact that Rahim’s knock came in response to Sri Lanka’s mammoth first-innings score of 570 for 4.
Rahim stood up to the Lankan attack and hit 22 fours and 1 six. Mohammad Ashraful scored 190 and Nasir Hossain 100, as Bangladesh replied with 638 all out.
Bangladesh drew the contest, and Rahim became an even bigger star on the international stage than he already was.
#4 Kumar Sangakkara, 230 against Pakistan in 2002
Sri Lanka’s elegant former middle-order batsman Kumar Sangakkara made 230 from 327 balls against Pakistan at Lahore in March 2002. The innings had even greater significance than usual as it came in the final of the Asian Test Championship.
After Pakistan were bowled out for 234, Sangakkara ensured the bowling side was played out of the game completely, hitting 33 fours and three sixes during his stay. Sanath Jayasuriya’s 88 was the next best in the innings as Sri Lanka were all out for 528, eventually winning the match by eight wickets.
#3 MS Dhoni, 224 against Australia in 2013
Former India captain MS Dhoni hammered 224 from only 265 balls against Australia at Chennai in the first Test of the series played in February 2013.
India were responding to the Aussies’ challenging 380 built around skipper Michael Clarke’s 130. However, Dhoni played a typical captain's knock of his own, and smashed 24 fours and six sixes to ensure India gained a sizable first innings lead.
Virat Kohli (107) and Sachin Tendulkar played supporting hands as India responded with 572, and went on to win the Test by eight wickets.
#2 Adam Gilchrist, 204* against South Africa in 2002
The list of famous double hundreds from keepers would be incomplete without the mention of Adam Gilchrist’s 204 not out against South Africa at Johannesburg during the first Test in February 2002.
Batting first, Australia were in control courtesy hundreds from Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn. Coming in at number seven, Gilchrist tormented the South African attack further, taking only 213 balls for his innings.
The left-hander smashed 19 fours and eight sixes at an unbelievable strike rate of 95.77, and at the time his double century (which came off 212 balls) was the fastest in Test history.
So taken aback were the Proteas by Gilly’s brutal assault that they succumbed to defeat by an innings and 360 runs.
#1 Andy Flower, 232* against India in 2000
For a Zimbabwean batsman to stand up to a quality bowling attack needs special skill and temperament. Andy Flower had both in abundance, and they were on full display during his unbeaten 232 against India at Nagpur during the second Test in November 2000.
The knock is rated so highly because it came after Zimbabwe were made to follow-on in the Test. Flower’s marathon innings had him occupying the crease for 544 minutes during his 444-ball stay.
He hit 30 fours and two sixes in a knock that greatly frustrated India, evident from the fact that they ended up trying 10 bowlers in the second innings.