Test cricket is a game of attrition, and as a batter, one needs to have great determination to play a long innings for the team. They have to bear the wrath and swing of pacers and the guile of spinners from different countries across conditions to be called a successful Test cricketer.

By playing a long innings, a batter has to face a lot of deliveries, and as time is not a constraint in this format, they can take as much of them to build an innings.

But there are batters who have taken a tad too many to just complete a half-century. This can be due to the situation and demands of the team at that point in time.

So here we list down the top 10 slowest fifties in terms of balls faced by a batter in Test cricket.

Slowest Fifties in Test Cricket

PlayerBalls to 50Final ScoreAgainstVenueYear
Trevor Bailey (ENG)35068AustraliaBrisbane1958
Derrick McGlew (SA)34370AustraliaJohannesburg1957
Alexander Bannerman (AUS)33091EnglandSydney1892
Christopher Smith (ENG)26491New ZealandAuckland1984
Colin Cowdrey (ENG)26250South AfricaManchester1955
Allan Border (AUS)26275West IndiesSydney1989
Douglas Jardine (ENG)26056AustraliaAdelaide1933
Fred Titmus (ENG)26084IndiaMumbai1964
Herbie Collins (AUS)25961EnglandKennington1926
Peter Richardson (ENG)257117South AfricaJohannesburg1956

Key Insights

There have been 140+ instances of a batter taking 200 or more balls to reach his half-century in a Test innings.

Accomplished batters like Colin Cowdrey, Len Hutton, and Geoffrey Boycott lead the way with 4 entries each in Tests, while Derrick McGlew, Bruce Mitchell (both from South Africa), and Chris Tavaré of England have done it 3 times each. Hutton and Boycott have each also brought up over a dozen of the slowest centuries in the longest format.

The most recent batter who took 200 plus balls (215) to score a Test half-century is West Indies’ Darren Bravo, and he did it against England in North Sound in 2019.

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Likewise, there have been 11 different batters who have taken 250 or more balls to reach the 50-run milestone in an innings. Apart from the 10 mentioned, John Trumble also scored his only Test half-century in exactly 250 balls.

If we take a closer look at the games, we find most of them have taken place during the Timeless Test era and feature England batters among 6 of the top 10 entries. While there is a lone South African in Derrick McGlew, the other 3 batters are from Australia.

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