Australia's Test triple centurions

Exactly 83 years after the Don did it for a second time, we salute the Baggy Greeners in the 300 club

Cricket Network

23 July 2017, 02:17 PM AEST

Matthew Hayden 380 v Zimbabwe, Perth, October 2003

Hayden's unbelievable Test innings

Sure, the opposition was Zimbabwe. And sure, it was their first-ever Test in Australia. But a world record total is a world record total, right? And Matthew Hayden's epic 380 was exactly that – well for a few months anyway, until Brian Lara took it back. Hayden welcomed Zimbabwe to Australia in rather unhospitable fashion, thundering 11 sixes and a staggering 38 fours in his groundbreaking knock – still the highest-ever in Australia, the highest-ever by an Australian, and the second-highest in Test history. At stumps on day one, he was unbeaten on 183, having knocked the stuffing out of the hapless tourists. On day two, he added another 197 from 170 balls, overtaking Lara's landmark 375 to storm into the record books.  

Mark Taylor 334 not out v Pakistan, Peshawar, Oct 1998

Taylor is saluted by teammates after his record-breaking effort // Getty
Taylor is saluted by teammates after his record-breaking effort // Getty

Taylor batted for 12 hours across two days in temperatures that hovered in the mid-30s to be physically and emotionally spent. The Aussie skipper finished day two unbeaten on 334 in his team's total of 4-599, level with Sir Donald Bradman's Australian record score, which had stood for over six decades. "I wasn't feeling that bad until the high 200s," Taylor, who had worked with fitness guru Kevin Chevell for five months leading up to the series, told "But I just kept telling myself the chances of getting back to 280 or 290 again are minuscule. So I just hung in there and (on 298) I got a short one off Mushy (leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed) and just beat the bloke at cover and as soon as I hit it I knew ... I was quite excited." The decision became whether or not to declare overnight on 334, with both history and the outcome of the Test on Taylor's mind. "I spent hours that night contemplating what to do," he added. "I came to the decision that the best thing I could do was declare (and) end up on the same score as Sir Donald, which I'm more than delighted with." The match was drawn, but Australia won the series 1-0, and Taylor had his place in history alongside the Don.

Sir Donald Bradman 334 v England, Leeds, July 1930

Bradman is engulfed after his first Test triple ton // Getty
Bradman is engulfed after his first Test triple ton // Getty

The 'Boy from Bowral' was only 21 but already the most devastating batsman the world had ever seen, and it was on this tour of England that the hype became legend. In the first Test, he made 131, in the second he made 254, and by stumps on day one of the third Test in Leeds, he was 309 not out, having hammered a century before lunch. Bradman's epic knock stood as the shining light of Australian Test innings, the number 334 becoming synonymous with the Don himself. It was the highest score in Test history at the time, passing Englishman Andy Sandham's 325 made three months earlier against West Indies.

Michael Clarke 329 not out v India, Sydney, January 2012

From the Vault: Clarke's SCG Triple Treat

The number 329 will forever be associated with Clarke as he became just the fifth Australian to score a Test triple century. The skipper came to the crease with the Aussies in a spot of bother at 3-37 late on the opening day having ripped through India for just 191. Clarke dug his heels in to be unbeaten on 47 at stumps and then flourished on days two and three, sharing brilliant partnerships with rejuvenated veterans Ricky Ponting and then Michael Hussey. His declaration came after Hussey reached 150, and Australia went on to claim victory by an innings and 68 runs. 

Bob Simpson 311 v England, Manchester, July 1964

Simpson in action during the 1964 Ashes // Getty
Simpson in action during the 1964 Ashes // Getty

Simpson put on a 201-run stand with Bill Lawry (106), a pair that would later come to be remembered as one of Australia's great opening combinations. But this was Simpson's moment. The skipper faced an extraordinary 743 deliveries, still the most balls faced in a Test innings by an Australian and the third-most overall. While he was criticised for playing for a draw (Australia led the five-match series 1-0 and England needed a victory to have a chance to win the series), he maintained he was looking to rack up a monster first-innings total, with the hope the tourists would only have to bat once. As it was, the match ended in a high-scoring draw, Simpson's marathon effort – his first century in Test cricket – ultimately serving its purpose as Australia won the series 1-0. 

Bob Cowper 307 v England, Melbourne, February 1966

Cowper made history with the first triple hundred in Australia // Getty
Cowper made history with the first triple hundred in Australia // Getty

Cowper became the first man to score a triple century on Australian soil, surpassing Bradman's unbeaten 299 made in Adelaide 34 years earlier. And the Don himself was on hand to congratulate the then 24-year-old, who had piled on the monumental score – made across more than 12 hours and soaking up 589 deliveries – not long after losing his place in the Test team. The match was drawn, and the series ended level at 1-1.

Sir Donald Bradman 304 v England, Leeds, July 1934

It was 83 years ago to the day, and Australia were 3-39 in reply to England's 200 with a low-scoring Test match appearing the likelihood. That was until Bradman teamed up with opener Bill Ponsford (181) and proceeded to do as he had done four years earlier at the same venue. The prolific batsman had tallied just 137 runs in the first three Tests but normal order was restored when he became the first player to score two Test triple-centuries. This one came from No.5, a record score from that position that stood for 78 years until Michael Clarke's 329 in Sydney. The match was drawn, but typically of the Don, he backed it up with 244 in the next Test at The Oval to give Australia a 2-1 series success.