Kusal Perera played one of the brilliant innings in the history of Test cricket recently. He played a knock of 153* to steer Sri Lanka to win by one wicket at Durban against South Africa in the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
He and No 11 Vishwa Fernando posted an unbeaten stand of 78 runs for the 10th wicket to steer Sri Lanka to 304-run target by one wicket. Perera’s 153* was the 10th highest individual score in the winning chase (in fourth innings) in Test cricket. Perera’s 153* was the joint highest individual score along with Brian Lara’s 153* in the 1-wicket win in Test cricket.
Cricwizz takes a look at top five individual scores in successful chases in Tests.
Gordon Greenidge 214* against England at London in 1984
West Indies came out as the winner in this Test despite conceding a first-innings lead of 41 runs. England declared their second innings at 300/9 and set a daunting target of 342 runs. But Gordon Greenidge made a mockery of the chase, slamming his way to 214 not out off 242 balls with 29 fours and 2 sixes. It was brutal batting from Greenidge who made England bowling attack comprising Bob Willis, Ian Botham, Derek Pingle pedestrian. Larry Gomes played a supporting knock of 92* as West Indies coasted home by 9 wickets. Greenidge’s 214* is the highest individual score in successful chases in Tests.
Arthur Morris’ 182 and Don Bradman’s 173* against England at Leeds in 1948
Australia went into the fourth Test at Leeds against England with a 2-0 lead. They were set a daunting target of 404. It was then the highest target ever achieved in Test cricket. Australia’s opening batsman Arthur Morris and captain Don Bradman made a mockery of England bowling attack.
The two posted a stand of 301 runs for the second wicket to steer Australia to a record chase ever. Morris slammed 182, while Bradman finished off the innings with 173*. The two created history with their record-breaking stand. The record chase of 404 has since been overtaken by West Indies who chased down 418 against Australia at St John’s in 2003.
Brian Lara’s 153* against Australia at Bridgetown in 1999
Australia lost the match despite scoring 490 in the first innings. They had a poor outing in the second innings and were bowled out for 146 to set a target of 308 for West Indies. Brian Lara was the lone man standing for West Indies.
West Indies were reduced to 248/8 with 60 still needed for a win, with tailenders Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh left to bat. Ambrose played the knock of his life, playing out 39 balls for 12 to stitch a 54-run stand for the ninth wicket. Walsh then survived for five balls before Lara scored a stunning cover drive for four to seal the match in Windies’ favour. Lara made a class 153* to seal a 1-wicket win for West Indies.
Kusal Perera’s 153* against South Africa at Durban in 2019
Sri Lanka’s fortunes were in doldrums in all formats of the game. They came into the South Africa series with 6 losses in 7 Tests and were written off in the Test series against South Africa against a fiery bowling attack comprising Dale Styen, K Rabada, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier.
But no one thought a knock of 153* from Kusal Perera will take Sri Lanka to a historic win. Sri Lanka were down and out at 226/9 chasing 304 for a win. Perera then unleashed brilliant counter-attacking innings to take Sri Lanka over the ropes.
For the records, Perera scored 67 runs off the last 78 runs for a win for the last wicket. Vishwa Fernando gave good support playing 27 balls for his 6*.
Graeme Smith’s 154* against England at Birmingham in 2008
The then South African skipper Graeme Smith led from the front in this Test to win the Birmingham match and the series in England. South Africa were asked to chase 281 for a series win. Smith waged a lone battle and anchored the team across the finish line.
He slammed 154* off 246 balls with 17 fours to help the Proteas to a historic Test series win on English soil. The England bowling attack comprised the likes of Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, and Monty Panesar.
Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 138* against Bangladesh at Multan in 2003
It was another 1-wicket win. Bangladesh had set a target of 261 for Pakistan at Multan. Inzamam-ul-Haq was the lone man standing for Pakistan. Pakistan were reduced to 205/8 and need another 56 runs to seal a 3-0 Test series win over Bangladesh.
Inzy rallied the lower-order and saw the team across the finish line. He posted a 52-run stand for the ninth wicket with Umar Gul who scored 5 off 50 balls. Yasir Ali then supported Inzy to help Pakistan across the finish line. Inzy slammed 138* off 232 balls with 20 fours and one six to steer Pakistan to a memorable win.