2018 was a year for fast bowling with bowlers ruling the roost in the longest format of the game. Massive Test knocks were a rarity in a result-oriented year which saw just five drawn matches. Here we handpick five of the best Test knocks in the year.
Tom Latham – 264* vs Sri Lanka, Wellington
The New Zealand opener had an outstanding year in Test cricket with 658 runs in 12 matches but what stood out was a marathon knock against Sri Lanka in Wellington – a humungous 264*, the highest Test score in the year. Latham was dogged and relentless as he appeared to never get out the entire innings. He contributed to 45.67% of team runs in the innings and later in the series became New Zealand’s second highest run scorer from the opening position.
Dimuth Karunaratne – 158* vs South Africa, Galle
The tenacious Sri Lankan opener put on an exhibition at Galle as he thwarted the South African attack in the first innings of the first Test of the series. Karunaratne made 55.05% of the runs in the team innings but what was even more special was how he was the only batsman to score over 50 in the entire Test match. He, in fact, did it twice with scores of 158* and 60 to help Sri Lanka win the first Test.
Aiden Markram – 143 vs Australia, Durban
Markram’s remarkable knock at Durban in a losing cause was perhaps one of the best in recent times. The South African opener saw his side collapse to 49/4 while chasing a mammoth 417 and lifted them with a brilliant hundred in the company of Theunis de Bruyn and Quinton de Kock. Markram made 143, 47.98% of South Africa’s runs in the innings but soon after he departed the innings derailed as the hosts lost the last four wickets for 15 runs to lose the Test.
Kusal Mendis – 141* & Mathews 120* vs New Zealand, Wellington
Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel when Kusal Mendis walked out to the middle in the second innings of the Wellington Test. After Latham had ground their attack to submission, Sri Lanka were trailing by 296 runs in the second essay and were at 13/3 when Mathews and Mendis joined hands. The duo stayed unseparated for nearly 109 overs with Mendis recording 141* and Mathews 120*. The unbroken 274-run partnership helped Sri Lanka draw the Test match, a scenario which looked rather bleak when they were 13/3. Mendis’ and Mathews’ knocks contributed to 90.94% of all runs Sri Lanka made in the innings but more importantly helped them draw the match.
Virat Kohli – 149 vs England, Edgbaston
At Edgbaston, in the first Test of the series against England, India found themselves in trouble as they lost their first five wickets for 100 runs. Virat Kohli led the charge for India with an outstanding innings, brushing aside concerns about his ability to cope with English conditions. Kohli contributed 149 runs, 54.37% of all runs India made in the innings. He added a half-century in the second innings as well but it wasn’t enough for India to save the Test match as they lost by 31 runs.