#ThisDayThatYear: West Indies chase the highest total in Test cricket
On this day in 2003, West Indies entered the record books by tormenting the mighty Australians. The Brian Lara-led side chased down the highest ever total in Test cricket, a record that is still unmatched. Having already lost the first three Tests, the hosts locked horns with Australia in the final Test at St John's. Here is how the match panned out.
Both teams settled for 240 in the first innings
Batting first, Australia were bundled out for 240. Jermaine Lawson's ferocious spell dismantled the Australian batting line-up. He claimed seven scalps for 78 runs with Mervyn Dillon also snapping up two. In reply, the visitors also confined West Indies to 240. Skipper Brian Lara played a crucial 68-run knock with tail-enders adding 65 runs towards the end.
Australia gave the hosts a 418-run target
Starting right from the scratch, Australia came out all guns blazing in the second innings. Matthew Hayden (177) and Justin Langer (111) put on 242 for the first wicket before Caribbean bowlers uprooted the partnership. Barring captain Steve Waugh, none of the batsman looked firm as Australia finished on 417 after 104 overs. West Indies had over two days to chase the mammoth target.
Chanderpaul, Sarwan laid the foundation of a miraculous victory
West Indies were reduced to 74/3 before Lara racked up another 119-ball 60, during the run-chase. The hopes further turned bleak as he was bowled out by Stuart MacGill soon after. However, a 123-run stand between Ramnaresh Sarwan (105) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104) brought them back in the hunt. Tail-ender Omari Banks complemented the latter to complete the run-chase on the final day.
The record is yet to be broken!
17 years after the match, West Indies' feat remains intact in Test cricket. In 2013, South Africa fell short by eight runs in order to break the record. Chasing 458, the Proteas were restricted on 450 by Team India, before they settled for a draw.