The best batsmen in the world need not be best at hitting double-centuries. Only a few have made it a habit. Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, for example, do not match up to Don Bradman and Kumar Sangakkara in their propensity to hit double-centuries.
Here are top five double-century hitters in Test cricket, sorted by the number of double-centuries they have scored.
Don Bradman: The Don was a master at compiling double-hundreds. He scored his first in June, 1930, at Lord’s against England, and his final one at the Sydney Cricket Ground in December, 1946. In between he hit 10 more, including two triple-centuries and a 299 not out. The unbeaten 299 was scored against South Africa in Adelaide; he had run out of partners.
Bradman is widely regarded as the best batsman to have played cricket, and no batsman has so far gone near his career batting average of 99.94. Yet, he was also the most prolific double-century hitter, with 12.
Kumar Sangakkara: The Sri Lankan batting great has 11 double-centuries, but he played far more matches – 134 - than Bradman did – 52. Sangakkara’s career-best 319 came against Bangladesh in February, 2014, a year before he retired. But he had come close to hitting a triple a lot earlier in his career; in a Test in Colombo in 2006, he scored 287, serving as one-half of a partnership of 624 with good friend Mahela Jayawardene, who smashed 374.
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Brian Lara: Lara was very good at playing long innings. Famously, in 2004, 10 years after scoring 375 against England to register the then highest individual score in Test cricket, he scored an unbeaten 400 against the same opposition, at the same venue. He thereby registered a new record, surpassing Matthew Hayden’s 380 which had eclipsed his previous best just a few months earlier.
Lara hit nine double-tons overall, including a 277 against Australia in 1993, three years into his Test career.
Wally Hammond: England’s Hammond broke Don Bradman’s record when he scored an unbeaten 336 against New Zealand in April, 1933. Of his seven double-tons, however, four came against Australia. Hammond may not have the average of Bradman, but he was still a prolific run-getter; he scored 7,249 runs in 85 Tests at an average of 58.45, and possessed over 50,000 runs in first-class cricket.
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Virat Kohli: Virat Kohli has seven double-centuries, too, including an unbeaten 254 against South Africa in Pune in October, 2019. That is his career-best. Kohli’s Test career began in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he scored his first double-century - a 200 against West Indies in Antigua. That year was a fruitful one for him; he added two more double-centuries to his tally. Next year, he hit three double-centuries again.
A special mention – Mahela Jayawardene tallies seven double-tons, too.