Conquering Down Under

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Ross Taylor joined an elite group during New Zealand’s brilliant fightback at the WACA.

His 290 was the highest Test score by an opposition batsman in Australia.

Taylor faced 374 balls, hit 43 boundaries and shared a crucial 265-run stand with Kane Williamson (166), rescuing the Black Caps from 2/87.

Reginald “Tip” Foster was the first double centurion, scoring 287 for England in Sydney in 1903, followed by Aubrey Faulker’s 204 for South Africa (in Melbourne) in 1910.

England’s Wally Hammond scored both his doubles in Sydney: the first was 251 in 1928. After a mammoth 675-run win in Brisbane, Hammond’s double in the second Test gave England a 2-0 led. They went on to win 4-1. Eight years later, he scored 231 not out as England won the second Test to lead 2-0. Australia won twice in Melbourne and in Adelaide to take the series 3-2. Bradman (who else!) scored 810 runs at 90 while Hammond scored 468 at 58.50.

Nearly 50 years later, Viv Richards belted 208 for the West Indies in Melbourne. The dominant Windies had secured the Frank Worrell Trophy before Christmas, winning in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. The MCG Test was a draw, with Richards’ double century dominating the Windies’ first innings of 479.

Ravi Shastri’s SCG double century for India in 1992 came in Shane Warne’s debut Test. He scored 206 out of 397 before he became Warne’s first Test wicket. Australia won the series 4-0.

The following summer, Brian Lara scored the first of two double centuries in Australia. His 277 at the SCG (his first Test century) was so cherished he named his future daughter Sydney. It was also the last time the West Indies won a series in Australia. Lara’s second double was in 2005, this time in a losing cause. With Australia leading 2-0, the final Test in Adelaide was reserved for Lara. As was the trend for the struggling Windies, there was no support: Lara scored 226 from 405 all out. Australia took a slim first innings lead, bowled the Windies out for 204 and won by seven wickets.

India had two double centurions during the 2003/04 tour. Rahul Dravid scored 233 in Adelaide, giving India a 1-0 lead. With the series tied 1-1, Sachin Tendulkar’s 241 not out at the SCG drove India’s monstrous 7/705 declared, overshadowing Steve Waugh’s final Test and helping India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 1-1 draw.

Paul Collingwood’s Adelaide double century was a rare highlight of England’s nightmare 2006/07 Ashes series. Collingwood’s 206 in England’s 6/551 declared was a distant memory as Shane Warne and Mike Hussey completed Australia’s miraculous win.

England got their revenge four years later with a 3-1 series win and double tons to Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen. Trailing by 221 on first innings, the Poms looked like falling to another big Gabba loss. Cook dug in with an unbeaten 235 as England made 1/517 declared in 152 overs, ensuring a draw. Pietersen and England dominated in Adelaide, winning by an innings and 71 runs. After Australia was dismissed for 245, Pietersen nearly matched it, scoring 227. He punished off-spinner Xavier Doherty (1/158 off 27), though Doherty eventually had KP caught by Simon Katich.

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