Nowadays, it is quite common to see the first day of Test cricket end up in the range of 300-350 runs. It gives an early advantage to the batting side.
This article will focus on the matches where there existed sheer dominance and the pure act of class shown by batsmen, helping their team pile up massive scores and go one-up against the bowling side.
506 runs scored by England against Pakistan in a Rawalpindi Test in 2022 is the most runs scored by a team on a first day of a Test match.
Let us look at the top five instances when a team hits the most runs on Day-1 of a Test Match.
#5 England – 471/8 vs India (London,1936)
This came during one of England’s most significant phases in its Test history. It was when Wally Hammond, one of their extraordinary batsmen, led them to many classic wins.
In a forgettable visit to England for the Indian cricket side, on Day-1 of the 3rd Test of the 1936 Test series, Indian bowlers suffered one of their most challenging days on the cricket pitch.
The England opener Charlie Barnett played a handy knock of 43 runs, with Wally scoring a double century on the other side – one of his many. This is followed by an excellent poised century hit by Stan Worthington, a score of 128 that helped England register a massive total of 471 runs on the first day of the match.
#4 Australia – 475/2 vs England (London,1934)
Rewinding two years, in the same venue (London), Australia had made an unbeatable first-day total, which remained untouched for more than seven decades until the modern-day Australian team passed that score.
Riding on two magnificent centuries hit by two veterans, Bill Ponsford and Sir Don Bradman, the Aussies managed a score of 475 runs on the first day of the Test match, which turned out to be a massive first-innings score of 701 runs (find out whether this score features in the top five highest 1st innings score in Tests). Later, after bowling out England for a paltry score of 321, Australia batted again and registered the second-largest win in terms of runs against any opposition in the history of Test cricket by 562 runs.
#3 Australia – 482/5 vs South Africa (Adelaide, 2012)
In the second year of David Warner’s Test career in 2012, he was the same as aggressive as he has always been. As a result, we saw many remarkable innings in one such instance, where Australia could register the third highest team total on the first day of Test cricket.
It was against South Africa. The Protean bowling attack at that time comprises modern-day legends Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Kallis. Coming and dominating against such an attack is arduous, but Australia, with a total of 482 runs on the first day of the match, made it look like a cakewalk.
Warner hit 119 with a strike rate above 100 and gave the Aussies a perfect start, which later turned out to be an excellent first innings total with two Michaels in the team, Clarke and Hussey, scoring double hundred and hundred, respectively. Remember Clarke made 4 double centuries in the year 2012 – the highest anyone made within a year?
#2 Australia – 494/6 vs South Africa (Sydney, 1910)
It was the 111th match in Test cricket history – a unique number, isn’t it? So more than a century ago, when the craze for cricket was at its starting phase, the fans got to witness a great match that is still remembered as Australia’s excellent performance against South Africa.
Though Australia could not add much to their overnight total of 494—centuries from captain Clem Hill and Warren Bardsley topped up with a fifty from Algy Gehrs, they ended their first innings total with 528 runs on the board, which was enough to register an easy win. A valuable contribution of Warwick Armstrong of 48 runs constituted the total, leading to a second-highest record score of 494 runs on the first day of a Test match.
#1 England – 506/4 vs Pakistan (Rawalpindi, 2022)
A fresh memory for all cricket fans: in 2022, when everyone witnessed a batting masterclass by the English side that was hit by a wave of the virus. Unfortunately, many of their leading players could not make it to the playing eleven. However, the ones who turned up displayed their latest, new yet rejuvenated playing technique – a fearless brand of game, “bazball”, named after their head coach, Brendon McCullum.
On a pitch which was nothing but like a batsman’s friend, Five of the six Pakistani bowlers went above the economy rate of 6. Four of England’s top 5 batters scored a hundred. The pick of batters was Harry Brook coming up with his maiden century and converted that to a daddy hundred, a score of 153 of just 116 balls.
This day made England the first-ever team to score above 500 runs on the first day of a Test match.
Read: The Role of An Opening Batsmen in Test cricket