A century in Test cricket is the dream of every cricketer. Although the rate of scoring is not considered a big factor in Test matches, a quickfire three-figure knock does help the team in getting more time to bowl out the opposition twice.
Sachin Tendulkar, with 51 centuries to his name, holds the record for the most hundreds in Test cricket. Brendon McCullum has scored the fastest century in Test cricket. He smashed a ton off just 54 deliveries against Australia at Christchurch in February 2016.
On that note, let us have a look at the 6 fastest centuries, in terms of the number of deliveries faced, by Indian batsmen in Test cricket.
The 6 fastest centuries by Indian batsmen in Test cricket
#T5 Kapil Dev - 86 balls
Kapil Dev holds the record for the joint fifth-fastest century by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. This hundred came off just 86 balls against England in February 1982.
The Indian team faced the Englishmen in the 6th Test match of the latter's tour of India at Kanpur. The England captain Keith Fletcher won the toss and elected to bat first.
England declared their first innings at a score of 378 for the loss of 9 wickets, with Ian Botham scoring a century on their behalf. Kapil Dev came to the middle with the Indian score reading 207/6, with Ravi Shastri as the last man dismissed.
The 'Haryana Hurricane' launched a blistering attack on the English bowlers with a sedate Yashpal Sharma giving him company at the other end. Kapil Dev reached his century off just 86 balls and went on to score 116 runs before he was dismissed by David Gower.
The knock, which came off 98 deliveries, was studded with 16 fours and a couple of sixes. Kapil Dev scored 116 runs in the 169-run partnership with Yashpal Sharma.
This century was the fastest ton by an Indian batsman at the time and it helped the Indian team salvage a draw as they finished with a score of 377/7 at the end of the fifth day.
India won the series 1-0, with Kapil Dev named as the Man of the Series.
#T5 Hardik Pandya - 86 balls
Hardik Pandya emulated Kapil Dev in scoring the joint fifth-fastest century by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. His 86-ball knock came against Sri Lanka in August 2017.
The Indian team faced Sri Lanka in the 3rd Test match of the tour to their southern neighbours at Pallekele. The Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first.
Hardik Pandya joined Wriddhiman Saha in the middle with the Indian score reading 322 for the loss of 6 wickets. Although Saha could not last long, Pandya took the attack to the Sri Lankan bowlers in the company of the lower order batsmen.
The Baroda all-rounder was only on 50 off 61 deliveries when India lost their 9th wicket in the form of Mohammed Shami. With Umesh Yadav as the last man in, Pandya smashed his next fifty runs off just 25 balls to get to a hundred off 86 deliveries.
He was eventually dismissed for 108 runs off 96 balls, a knock studded with 8 fours and 7 sixes. Pandya's ton helped India reach a score of 487 runs in their first innings.
Sri Lanka was dismissed for 135 and 181 in their two innings as the Indian team went on to win the match by an innings and 171 runs. Hardik Pandya was awarded the Man of the Match for his swashbuckling knock.
#4 Shikhar Dhawan - 85 balls
Shikhar Dhawan has scored the fourth quickest ton by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. This century came off just 85 balls against Australia in March 2013.
The Indian team faced the Kangaroos in the 3rd Test match of Australia's tour to India at Mohali. The Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first.
The team from Down Under piled on a huge score of 408 runs in their first innings, with Mitchell Starc top-scoring with a 99-run knock. Shikhar Dhawan, who was making his Test debut, came out to open the batting with Murali Vijay.
While Vijay kept one end up, Dhawan was his attacking self. All the Australian bowlers were taken to the cleaners as Dhawan brought up his century in just 85 balls, the fastest ever century on Test debut and the fourth fastest overall by an Indian batsman.
There was no respite for the Australian bowlers even after that as the southpaw continued with the onslaught post his century. The Delhiite was finally dismissed for a breathtaking 187 runs, caught at silly point off Nathan Lyon.
These runs were scored off just 174 deliveries and included 33 fours and 2 maximums. The opening pair added a massive 289 runs, a record opening partnership for India against Australia, as India mustered a score of 499 in their first innings to take a lead of 91 runs.
Australia folded up for 223 runs in their second innings, with the Indian spinners bagging the majority of the wickets. India easily chased down the 133-run target with 6 wickets in hand, although Dhawan could not bat in the second innings due to an injured finger.
Shikhar Dhawan was awarded the Man of the Match for his smashing debut.
#3 Virender Sehwag - 78 balls
The Indian team took on West Indies in the 2nd Test match of their tour to the Caribbean at Gros Islet. The Indian captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to bat first.
Virender Sehwag walked in to open the batting with Wasim Jaffer. The Nawab of Najafgarh went on the attack right from the outset and missed out on scoring a century before lunch by just one run.
He duly completed his century, the third quickest by an Indian batsman in Tests, with a single off the third delivery after lunch. Although India lost a couple of quick wickets in the form of Jaffer and VVS Laxman, Sehwag continued on his merry way in the company of Rahul Dravid.
The dynamic opener was finally dismissed for 180 runs from 190 deliveries, the knock studded with 20 fours and 2 sixes. India declared their first innings at the score of 588/8 with Dravid and Mohammad Kaif also scoring centuries.
Although West Indies were bowled out for 215 runs in their first innings and were asked to follow-on, they held on for a draw by scoring 294/7 from 119 overs in the 2nd innings. The great Brian Lara provided stubborn resistance with a 120-run knock that consumed 307 deliveries.
Virender Sehwag was deservedly chosen as the Man of the Match for his dominating innings.
#T1 - Kapil Dev - 74 balls
Kapil Dev holds the record for the joint-fastest century by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. He scored this ton off just 74 balls against Sri Lanka in December 1986.
The Indian team took on Sri Lanka in the 1st Test match of the island nation's tour of India at Kanpur. The Sri Lankan captain Duleep Mendis won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sri Lanka posted an impressive score of 420 runs in their 1st innings, with four of their batsmen scoring half-centuries. Kapil Dev came into bat with the Indian score reading 399/5 at the fall of Ravi Shastri's wicket.
The swashbuckling all-rounder sent the Sri Lankan fielders on a leather hunt, smashing the ball to all corners of the ground. He brought up his century off just 74 deliveries, breaking his own record of the fastest century by an Indian batsman.
Kapil Dev stitched together a 272-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Azharuddin before he was dismissed LBW by Ravi Ratnayeke after scoring 163 runs. This knock came off just 165 deliveries and included 19 boundaries and a solitary hit over the fence.
Azharuddin was distinctly unlucky to be dismissed after scoring 199 runs, also LBW to Ratnayeke. The two captains shook hands to signal a draw at the fall of Azharuddin's wicket.
Although Sunil Gavaskar, who had also played a 176-run knock, was awarded the Man of the Match, it was Kapil Dev who had stolen the show with his buccaneering knock.
#T1 - Mohammad Azharuddin - 74 balls
Mohammad Azharuddin joined Kapil Dev at the top of the charts for the fastest century scored by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. The wristy Hyderabad player also scored his hundred off just 74 deliveries against South Africa in November 1996.
The Indian team faced South Africa in the 2nd Test of the latter's tour to India at Kolkata. The South African captain Hansie Cronje won the toss and elected to bat first.
South Africa posted a huge score of 428 runs in their first innings, with both their openers Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten hitting centuries. Mohammad Azharuddin walked into bat at the fall of the third wicket with only 77 runs on the board.
He had to retire hurt soon thereafter, struck on the forearm by a Brian McMillan delivery. But with the Indian innings in tatters, he came back to launch a brutal attack on the South African bowling.
He brought up his century off just 74 balls before being finally dismissed by Paul Adams for 109 runs off 77 deliveries. He struck 18 fours and a six during the knock, including 5 boundaries in an over from Lance Klusener.
Azharuddin and Anil Kumble joined forces to add 161 runs for the 8th wicket, with the latter contributing 88 runs to the Indian total of 329 runs. South Africa declared their second innings at the score of 367/3 and rolled over India for 137 runs to register an emphatic 329-run victory.
Although India lost the match, Mohammad Azharuddin wrote his name in the record books with his counter-attacking knock.