Ajit Agarkar 109* vs England 2002
Before Ravindra Jadeja there was Ajit Agarkar, an object of ridicule for Indian Cricket. Pushed with great promise as the next Kapil Dev, he unfortunately got the nickname “The Bombay Duck” after 7 consecutive ducks against Australia. And at Lord’s, with a career batting average of 7.81, Agarkar played the innings of his lifetime, that took everyone including Ajit Agarkar and Geoff Boycott’s grandmother by surprise. India lost the match but Agarkar got his moment of glory.
G McGrath 61 Australia vs New Zealand 2004
Glenn McGrath had at one point cemented his place as the ultimate tail-end bunny, being the sort whose pride in his batting vastly surpassed his own abilities. That was before New Zealand toured Australia , where from No.11, McGrath provided the ultimate humiliation when scored a fifty against them, hitting a six along the way (a feat previously thought of as aerodynamically impossible). Needless to say McGrath expressed a desire to bat higher up the order which was obviously denied.
Charles Coventry 194* Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2009
Charles Coventry, who? That was the question that asked by millions of cricket fans after the news broke out that Charles Coventry held the ODI batting record for most runs in an innings by equaling Saeed Anwar’s record and not getting out. Not only did Zimbabwe lose that match despite his gargantuan efforts, poor Coventry (who averages 20 either side of that innings) ended up holding the record for only 6 months as Sachin Tendulkar scored a double century, relegating Coventry to a pub quiz answer.
Ted Alletson 189*Nottinghamshire vs Sussex 1911
A Blast from the past, literally. Ted Alletson was not a legend of the game by a long shot, the inning in question was in fact his only first-class century. But that inning stands out as much for its brutality as for its unexpectedness. Batting at No.9, Alletson came in with his team in dire straits, and ended up saving the match. During the post lunch part of his innings, Alletson scored his 142 runs off 51 balls, with 8 sixes and 18 fours, figures that have not been emulated even in this T20 age. That sadly was the highlight of his career, as Alletson never managed to live up to this feat.
J Gillespie 201*Australia vs Bangladesh 2006
There are many who criticize the practice of sending night watchmen out to bat, and not without merit. Jason Gillespie however notched a small victory for this practice when he was sent out to bat. By simply not being out for a very long time, Gillespie scored a double century against Bangladesh. That inning fuelled debates about cheapening of records and as for Gillespie, well, he never played for Australia again.
J Davison 111 Canada vs West Indies 2003
Very few people would have heard about John Davison prior to his grand innings and the former Victoria and South Australia spinner was more vegemite than maple syrup. With a first class batting average of under 14 runs, few people would have expected a century from him. Certainly not the West Indies, and they were blown away when he scored the then fastest World Cup century. His 111 off 76 balls was ended by an astonishing catch by Vasbert Drakes. Since then Davison went on to score 2 quickfire 50’s against New Zealand, but he has not yet managed to reach the heights of his only century.
Ravi Shastri 200* vs Baroda 1984/85
Ravi Shastri, unsurprisingly, had developed a reputation of slow batting. Those who watched Shastri score 111 off 357 balls, would have found the idea that he would hit 6 sixes in an over on the way to scoring the fastest first-class double century (off 123 balls) quite ludicrous. However that was exactly what happened. On that day the ball was flying like a tracer bullet.
SL Malinga 56 Sri Lanka vs Australia 2010/11
When Sri Lanka fell to 107/8 chasing 240, only an extreme diehard Sri Lankan fan would have predicted a Sri Lankan victory. However Lasith Malinga, who takes wickets through sheer distraction, stepped up and along with Angelo Mathews played the innings of his life, breaking the record for highest 9th wicket partnership along the way to victory.
Chetan Sharma 101* India v England v India 1989
Poor Chetan Sharma, despite a career lasting 23 Tests and 65 ODI’s, he will always be remembered for that one delivery that went for a 6. Possibly looking to exorcise those ghosts when he was pushed up the order against England, he played an astonishing innings scoring his maiden century off 96 balls, taking India to a tidy little 6 wicket victory. There was to be no repeat performance though, since this was Sharma’s only 50+ score in ODI’s.
Lance Cairns 27 New Zealand vs England 1978
Lance Cairns was known as a bloke who gave the ball a good whack. Not surprising given that he had an ODI strike-rate of 105 when 65 was considered par and a customized bat called “The Excalibur”. However in the first test of New Zealand’s tour of England, Cairns displayed unexpected obduracy when he blocked out 117 balls scoring only 27 runs in the process. Even though New Zealand could not save the match, Cairns had supremely assimilated the spirit of his batting partner Bevan Congdon who scored 36 runs off 207 balls.