16 Best Test Innings By Indian Batsmen In Recent History

India in the 21st Century has become a formidable Test team. Winning a series in Australia twice which was never done before by an Asian team is truly remarkable. India now stands as one of the best test nations in the world right now and has played the finals of the World Test Championship twice. In becoming the world’s best, there have been iconic test innings by Indian batsmen that showcase this formidability and have been etched inside the minds of cricket fans all around the nation.

Also read: 15 Best ODI Matches of All Time

Here is a list of some of the best test innings by Indians Batsmen in recent history.

1.) Virender Sehwag –  83(68) vs England | First Test | MA Chidambram Stadium, 2008 

Chasing a huge total of 387 in 127 overs, that too on a Day 4 turning track of Chennai wicket? Seems next to impossible right? Well, Virender Sehwag would beg to differ. His innings single-handedly changed the match result in a session.

Chasing such a high target against a good bowling attack of England with Harmison, Anderson, Flintoff, and Swann at their peak in 2008, Sehwag gave India the start they needed to do the impossible. He produced an amazing knock of 83 runs off just 68 balls! Something unheard of in test cricket. Due to his knock India was able to cross 100 runs in just 17.6 and India was able to chase the total and win the test match by 6 wickets. In fact, in the end, Virender Sehwag was chosen as Man of the Match for an inning of 83 despite Andrew Strauss’s two centuries in the match and Sachin’s unbeaten match-winning century in the fourth inning.

2.) VVS Laxman – 167(198) vs Australia | Third Test | SCG, 2000

This knock came in the last test in the test series played between India and Australia in 1999/2000 in Australia. Australia had already won the series and was dominating this match as well. India was done and dusted and had lost the match when Laxman produced one of the best test innings by Indian batsmen on Australian soil. He scored 167 runs at the strike rate of  84 while wickets kept falling on the other end. He did this against the dominating Australian bowling attack of McGrath, Fleming, Brett Lee, and Shane Warne. This inning came when Laxman was still new to the team and was opening the batting for India. In fact, this was his maiden century which came off just 114 balls! One can fancy the magnificence of Laxman’s knock by the fact that Ganguly’s 25 was the second-highest individual score of the Indian inning!

Years later, VVS Laxman at the ceremony of his Autobiography release, handpicked his maiden century against Australia at Sydney in 2000 as the best of the lot out of his 17 Test tons. He said, “From 1996 to 2000, I never had a hundred. I never ever felt I was able to establish myself in the Indian team. If I had not got that 167, probably I would not have got another chance to play.”

3.) Rahul Dravid – 146*(266) vs England | Fourth Test | The Oval, 2011 

Playing his last test match in England, Rahul Dravid produced a gem of an inning while opening the batting for India. Gautam Gambhir suffered a concussion and thus Rahul Dravid stepped up to open the innings. Dravid was determined to put on a good total for India after England had scored 591 in their first innings. However, wickets were falling at the other end but that didn’t stop Dravid. He eventually batted with each of his teammates as he came out of the inning not out and scoring a brilliant 146. He had carried the bat for India against England at the Oval. India, however, could not win the match and this brilliant inning went in vain. However, this innings is a testament to Rahul Dravid’s nickname, “The Wall”

4.)Virender Sehwag – 195(233) vs Australia | Third Test | MCG, 2003 

It is no doubt that Virender Sehwag was the best opener for India in Test cricket after Sunil Gavaskar. He changed the way we saw test opening by playing innings like these. Playing against Australia at the MCG, the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ produced a blistering knock of 195 off just 233 deliveries at a strike rate of 83! He, unfortunately, missed out on a double-century by just 5 runs and got out attacking the ball. That’s our Viru for you.

Later, former Australian captain Mark Taylor summed up Sehwag’s innings perfectly when he said, “An opener shouldn’t get 190 before tea on the first day. That’s just rude.”

“An opener shouldn’t get 190 before tea on the first day. That’s just rude.” –

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor summing up Sehwag’s innings perfectly.

This is what Sehwag tweeted hours before the start of the boxing day test match between India and Australia back in 2020.

5.) Virat Kohli – 141(175) vs Australia | First Test | Adelaide Oval, 2014 

Virat Kohli who is now a household name played one of his career-defining test matches in 2014 against Australia. This Test Match against Australia at the Adelaide was also his test debut as the captain of the team. Kohli made twin centuries in the match by producing amazing knocks in both innings of the test. However, his 141 while chasing the 364 target set by the Australians outshines his century in the previous innings. He was determined to bring home the victory but India fell short of 48 runs in the end. Virat Kohli who has 28 centuries rates this 141 vs Australia in 2014 as his best century.

“I think it was the first ball I bowled. I hit him on the helmet… on the badge… it was a different time. There was a bit going on with Phil Hughes’ passing and that sort of shook us up. But even just after that, you could see the determination on his face being struck on the helmet. Throughout the whole series, just that fight. It was an outstanding tour by India; they really did fight hard,” recalls the Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson.

6.) VVS Laxman – 73*(79) vs Australia | First Test | IS Bindra Stadium, 2010 

One of the best abilities VVS Laxman possessed was his ability to play long innings with the tail. This skill requires utmost patience and smartness to know when to attack and when to give strike. VVS Laxman showed this skill beautifully when he helped India beat Australia by 1 wicket at Mohali. India was at 124/8 in the last innings of the match and India still needed 92 runs were needed to win the match. It seemed almost impossible to win from here but VVS Laxman, playing with a sore back, scored 73 off 79 balls and built an important 9th-wicket partnership with Ishant Sharma, which eventually won the match for India.


7.) Rahul Dravid – 270(495) vs Pakistan | Third Test | Pindi Club Ground, 2004

India playing against Pakistan and that too in Pakistan! This couldn’t have got any bigger and Rahul Dravid stepped up beautifully. The series in Pakistan stood at 1-1 and this 3rd match at Rawalpindi was the decider match. India needed a win to seal the series and that’s what Dravid gave India with his destructive knock of 270.

He scores his highest-ever test score in a test innings and with that helped India defeat Pakistan by a mammoth margin of an innings and 131 runs.

8.) Sachin Tendulkar – 114(161) vs Australia | Fifth Test | WACA, 1992

The WACA in Perth is not an easy place to bat on especially on 3rd February 1992 when it was arguably the faster pitch ever at the time. Yet an 18-year-old Sachin Tendulkar who had just scored a century 2 matches before, played a sublime knock of 114. He made this century while playing on a difficult pitch against a formidable bowling attack of Australia which comprised Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Paul Reiffel, Mike Whitney, and Tom Moody. While this knock did help India post a respectable total of  272, India still lost the match by 300 runs. Yet this match is remembered for the grit shown by a young Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar also became the youngest Test century-maker in Australia which is a record he holds till today.

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9.) Gautam Gambhir – 137(436) vs New Zealand | Second Test | McLean Park, 2009

This test series in New Zealand was standing at 1-0 in India’s favor and India had a good chance to seal the series. However New Zealand in this match at Napier posted a huge total of 619 for their first innings. India in reply could only score 305 and was promptly given a follow-on. There was no possibility of winning the match and the only hope was to draw the test match. Gautam Gambhir played one of the best innings of his career to save the test match. He made sure he stays on the pitch as long as he can and played a marathon inning of 137, facing 436 balls and occupying the crease for 647 minutes!

His legendary knock made sure that the match ended in a draw, and with the next test drawn, India registered its first series win in New Zealand in 50 years!


10.) Rishabh Pant – 89*(138) vs Australia | Fifth Test | GABBA, 2021 

Probably the best test innings by Indian batsmen in the last few years, this test knock by Rishabh Pant allowed India to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2021. India throughout the series were the underdogs, as many players got either injured or were ruled out of the series including captain Virat Kohli. In the last test match of the series played at the GABBA in Brisbane Australia set a virtually unachievable target of 328 runs for India to chase in the last innings. However, Rishabh Pant produced a spectacular inning of 89* off 138 balls, and that too at a strike-rate of 64.49, and won the series for India. In fact, former Australia spinner Brad Hogg, called Pant’s innings the “best by a touring side”.

This win is also special because it also broke the 32-year unbeaten run of the Australian team at the GABBA.

11.) Sachin Tendulkar – 241*(436) vs Australia | Fourth Test | SCG, 2004 

India’s test series in Australia in 2003/04 was tied at 1-1 going into the fourth and final test match at the SCG. Tendulkar, however, was not in good form and was getting out cheaply. He was getting out to the balls pitched outside off-stuff. Thus in this match, he decided he won’t play that ball and won’t get out no matter what. He was so determined to not play on the off-side that more than three-quarters of his runs came on the on-side which is remarkable for a player whose drives are the best in the business. And with that utmost restraint and patience, he produced a solid knock of 241* without driving the ball once! In the end Tendulkar’s efforts helped India put on a total of 705 runs and the test resulted in a draw.

12.) Virender Sehwag – 309(375) vs Pakistan | Multan International Cricket Stadium, 2004 

On one hot afternoon in Multan, Pakistan, one man decided to destroy the bowling attack and while doing so break records as well. This was Virender Sehwag who became the first-ever Indian to score a Triple-Century in test cricket history. He did so while also getting his maiden Double-Century. He did this while playing against the threatening Pakistani bowling attack which had the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, and Saqlain Mushtaq.

His knock in Multan earned him the title of ‘Sultan of Multan’ and he also got to his 300 in quite some fashion. He was at 295 and he hit the ball for a Six! His knock of 309 powered India to post a massive total of 675/5d and won India the match by an inning and 52 runs. He played the innings with an incredible strike rate of 82 hitting 39 fours and 6 sixes in total – undoubtedly one of the best test innings by Indian batsmen!

13.) VVS Laxman – 281 vs Australia | Second Test | Eden Gardens, 2001

This test knock needs no introduction, probably the best test inning in Indian cricket history. India was on the brink of losing the match and the series against Australia in Kolkata. That is when Laxman produced this classic knock of 281 in partnership with Rahul Dravid as the 2 batsmen batted endlessly for a whole day and stitched a partnership of 376. India was given a follow-on and went on to win the test match all thanks to Laxman’s innings. This win against Australia also ended their 16-match winning streak. What adds to the legend of this test knock is that Laxman was suffering from a bad back while playing this innings.

Laxman’s knock was supremely legendary and has been voted by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack as the best-ever innings by an Indian.

Jarrod Kimber best described Laxman’s knock against Australia in Test Cricket: The Unauthorized Biography:

Australia first tried to take his wicket driving. He drove, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket pulling. He pulled, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket with slower balls. He waited, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket with ring fields. He pierced, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket in the rough. He smashed, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket in the slips. He middled, they took no wicket. Australia then tried to take his wicket by giving up. He batted, they took no wicket.’

14.) Rahul Dravid – 180(353) vs Australia | Second Test | Eden Gardens, 2001

While Laxman’s promotion up the order to No.3 and innings of 281 is most talked about in the legendary Kolkata Test of 2001, few remember that it was Rahul Dravid who lost his spot to Laxman. Determined to prove a point and recovering from a viral fever just before the test match started, Dravid played one of the best innings Indian Cricket has ever witnessed building a 376-run stand with Laxman and batting the entire 4th day of the test match without losing their wickets.

15.) Rahul Dravid – 233(446) vs Australia | Second Test | Adelaide Oval, 2003

Rahul Dravid’s epic innings of 233 Vs Australia in the 2nd Test of Border-Gavaskar is undoubtedly one of the greatest Innings played by any Indian batsman down under. Indians were in a spot of bother after Australia had notched up 556 in the first innings of the test match and the Indian innings in reply didn’t start well. Sachin, Sehwag, and Ganguly all got out early with the team’s score at 85-4.

Dravid and Laxman rose to the occasion building a partnership of 303 runs for the 5th wicket with Laxman contributing 148, which was quite reminiscent of the historic 2001 Kolkata test match. Rahul Dravid continued batting with the tail-enders and was the last man to get out as India scored a total of 523 in the first innings. In the second innings, Rahu Dravid scored 72* as India chased down the target and won the Adelaide test by 4 wickets. It was India’s first Test win Down Under after 22 years while also giving India a crucial 1-0 lead in the series against the Australians in their own home.

16.) Sachin Tendulkar – 136(273) vs Pakistan | First Test | MA Chidambram Stadium, 1999 

The Chennai Test Match of 1999 was the ultimate heartbreak moment for any Indian Cricket Fan of the 90s. Chasing a daunting total of 271 against Pakistan on the Day 4 of the test match, Sachin Tendulkar was determined to take India home single-handedly. He kept scoring runs as wickets kept falling from the other end and India was reduced to 5-82. He then built a crucial partnership with Nayan Mongia who scored 52. At 245-6 and Sachin still at the crease, India needed just 16 runs to chase the total. Unfortunately, though this innings is one of the best test innings by Indian batsmen in recent times, it didn’t result in an Indian victory.

However, Sachin fell for 136 to Saqlain and India then lost its last 3 wickets within the next 4 overs, adding just 4 more runs to the total.
The quality of this innings could be gauged from the fact that Pakistan’s attack comprised Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and a sly Saqlain Mushtaq bowling beautifully in India’s 2nd innings. This test match is also famously remembered for the Indian Crowd giving the Pakistani team a standing ovation after its victory despite a huge heartbreak for Tendulkar and India.


With that, we come to the end of this article. Hope you enjoyed reading about the best test innings by Indian batsmen in recent history.

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