Adam Gilchrist's best international innings January 26, 2008

All-out attack: Gilchrist's top six

Cricinfo staff


He says he didn't know it at the time, but Adam Gilchrist's 57-ball century against England in 2006-07 was the second-fastest in Test history © Getty Images
 

149* v Pakistan, Hobart, 1999-2000
It was one of the great comebacks after Australia fell to 5 for 126. They were chasing 369 for victory and the top order, boasting plenty of experience with the Waugh brothers, Michael Slater and Ricky Ponting, had failed. Gilchrist, on the other hand, was playing in only his second Test and he and Justin Langer combined for 238 in 59 overs to set up the win. His unbeaten 149 took just 163 deliveries, and featured 13 fours and a six. Steve Waugh later said he looked like he was playing in his own backyard. It was the first of many times that Gilchrist would turn a game on its head.

204* v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2001-02
An emotional man, Gilchrist cried on reaching one of many milestones in the innings after being the victim of a vicious internet rumour. He was brutal throughout the performance which at the time was the fastest double-century in Test history, his 204 coming from 213 balls. Eight sixes were thrashed, most over midwicket, as he showed his amazing power in a performance that would remain his highest.

122 v India, Mumbai, 2000-01
It was 99 for 5 when Gilchrist walked in. Only Matthew Hayden stood his ground in the hot cauldron as Harbhajan Singh ran amok. In a couple of hours he changed the face the game and the contest. Sweeping, cutting and lofting, he raced to an 84-ball century, the fastest by a visiting batsman on Indian soil. Even if he was playing his first Test in India, the foreign conditions didn't matter. He took risks, survived clear chances and half chances, but never retreated.

113 v Pakistan, Sydney, 2004-05
The scorecard shows Stuart MacGill as the Man of the Match and Ricky Ponting as the dominant batsman with 207, but it was Gilchrist's 109-ball century that really wrested the match away from Pakistan. It was his 13th Test hundred - he passed Andy Flower's record for a wicketkeeper-batsman - and featured scintillating striking towards the end. He brought up the milestone with a straight six off Shahid Afridi and had raced within reach thanks to consecutive sixes pulled off Mohammad Asif. For Yousuf Youhana and Shoaib Akhtar, who had also been part of the Pakistan team Gilchrist destroyed in Hobart five years earlier, there was a touch of déjà vu.

102* v England, Perth, 2006-07
Only Viv Richards has reached a century faster than the 57 balls it took Gilchrist on his home ground in the 2006-07 Ashes. On a boiling Perth day he sizzled, taking to Monty Panesar (24 runs in an over that started with a dot) and Matthew Hoggard in a stunning burst, which included 12 fours and four sixes. Had he known about the record he could have broken it, but no message came from the dressing room, and he was glad he didn't get there. "Viv deserves that mantle as the fastest hundred," he said.

149 v Sri Lanka, World Cup final, Bridgetown, 2006-07
It's one thing to blast runs in any old ODI, but only the best of the best save their finest moments for the biggest stage. Gilchrist's 149 in the World Cup final gave spectators reason to remember the match for pure cricketing brilliance, not its farcical finish in the dark. After morning drizzle made the fans nervously check their schedules for the reserve day, Gilchrist reminded them why they were there. He belted eight sixes in his 129-ball display, and for a while it seemed he could make 200 even in an innings reduced to 38 overs. He was so mesmerising that occasional boos came from the crowd when he gave the strike to Matthew Hayden. Squash ball or not, this was undoubtedly the pinnacle of a glittering ODI career.

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