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300 and nothing: towering above the rest

A look at past games when one batsman made a big score without a significant contribution from the others

Mathew Varghese
Kevin Pietersen's 355* against Leicestershire did not win him a comeback for England, but it was one of those rare occasions when one batsman made a big score without a significant contribution from the rest - his 355* came in an innings where the next best was Kumar Sangakkara's 36. We look at a few such innings from the past.
Bert Sutcliffe, Otago v Canterbury, Christchurch, 1952
Top score: 385 Next best: 29
Sutcliffe, one of New Zealand's all-time batting greats, had become the second* from his country to score a first-class triple hundred when he made 355 against Auckland in January 1950 - the next-best in the innings was 67. But his next triple was even more remarkable: if you take aside his 385, and the 29 extras that Canterbury gave, the remaining 10 batsmen only scored 86. It still remains the highest first-class score by a New Zealander and in New Zealand - it was the best by a left-hand batsman till Brian Lara made his record-breaking 501 in 1994. His innings came in Otago's total of 500 - a first-innings lead of 191 - and they won by an innings after bowling out Canterbury for 98.
VVS Laxman, Hyderabad v Bihar, Jamshedpur, 1998
Top score: 301 Next best: 35
VVS Laxman, whose big scores for India often came in innings where others made a contribution, made his first first-class triple century in an innings where the next-best score was 35. Coming in at 32 for 1, Laxman's unbeaten 301 took his team to 529 for 8 declared, with the others scoring 20, 35, 33, 2 (Azharuddin), 20, 8, 24, 30, 34. He finished the first day unbeaten on 158, and completed his triple on the second. Hyderabad went on to beat Bihar by an innings and 152 runs.
Vijay Hazare, Rest v Hindus, Bombay, 1943
Top score: 309 Next best: 21
In the early days of Indian first-class cricket, the Bombay Quadrangular and Pentangular tournaments were a bigger attraction than the Ranji Trophy. It was the final game of the tournament, and featured the marquee battle between Vijay Merchant (Hindus) and Vijay Hazare (Rest). Batting first, Hindus made 581 for 5 declared, with Merchant scoring 250 not out and Hemu Adhikari unbeaten on 186 - Hazare bowled 51 overs and took 3 for 119.
Rest crumbled in reply, Hazare top-scored with 59 in his team's 133. Following on, it was a Hazare show as he delayed the outright win for Hindus. Only one other batsman scored more than the 19 extras, Hazare's brother Vivekanand (21). The brothers added 300 for the sixth wicket, Vijay scoring 266 of those. Hazare went past Merchant's 250 to once again claim the top score in the Pentangular Tournament - Merchant had bettered his 248 scored in the same season. Hazare's 309, though, could not prevent an innings defeat - he was out caught and bowled.
Graeme Hick, Worcestershire v Somerset, Taunton, 1988
Top score: 405 Next best: 56
Graeme Hick, with still three years to qualify to play for England, nearly broke the record for the highest first-class score in the country - he perhaps would have if Worcestershire had not declared their innings. His unbeaten 405, which came off 469 balls with 35 fours and 11 sixes, was just the second quadruple hundred in England after Archie MacLaren's 424, also scored at the County Ground in Taunton way back in 1895. Worcestershire were reduced to 132 for 5 - Ian Botham made 7 - before Hick put on a stand of 265 with Steve Rhodes, whose 56 was the next-best score. Two more partnerships with the lower order pushed the total to 628 for 7, a total that was big enough to ensure an innings victory.
Don Bradman, Victoria v South Australia, Melbourne, 1936
Top score: 357 Next best: 63
Don Bradman has six first-class triple hundreds, but perhaps he didn't dominate his team's scoring as much as in the innings against Victoria at the MCG. His 357 came in a team score of 569, with the others only scoring double figures, opener Ronald Parker's 63 being the highest. Victoria followed on , but managed to draw the game. Bradman made another triple, 369, against Tasmania later in the season.
* May 13, 0305GMT: Corrected to state that Bert Sutcliffe was the second - and not first - New Zealander to score a first-class triple century.

Mathew Varghese is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo