From Mighty Maclagan to Blistering Baluch: Looking back at the highest individual Test scores

(L-R) Denise Annetts, Myrtle Maclagan, Karen Rolton, Mithali Raj, Kirsty Flavell. © Getty Images/ Women's CricZone

On 16 August 2002, 19-year-old Mithali Raj became the youngest woman and only the second teenager in the history of Test cricket to score a double hundred in Test matches. For the next 19 months, between August 2002 and March 2004, Mithali held the record for the highest individual score in Tests, before it was overhauled by Pakistan’s Kiran Baluch. But who held the record before her? And how many times did it change hands?
To celebrate 18 years of Mithali’s achievement, Women’s CricZone lists out the progressive record holders for highest individual Test score.
 
Myrtle Maclagan (England)
72 v Australia in Brisbane (1934)
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In the very first Women’s Test match between Australia and England in Brisbane, Mytrle Maclagan’s patient 72 at the top of the order helped the visitors easily overhaul Australia’s first innings total of 47. Maclagan’s knock came after she had ripped through the hosts’ batting line-up taking seven wickets for only 10 runs in her 17 overs.
Her innings gave England a massive 107-run lead, leaving them to chase only 32 runs in their second innings.
 
Myrtle Maclagan (England)
119 v Australia in Sydney (1935)
In the second Test of the series in Sydney, Maclagan topped her effort with a magnificent 119 in England’s first innings. She thus became the first batter to score a century in Women’s Tests.
Once again, Maclagan put in an allround performance, scalping four wickets in Australia’s first innings, to help roll them out for 162, before headlining England’s effort of 301 for 5 declared in their first outing. The right-hander shared a 145-run opening stand with Betty Snowball who scored 71. She picked up two more wickets in the hosts’ second innings as England romped to another comfortable win by eight wickets.
 
Betty Snowball (England)
189 v New Zealand in Christchurch (1935)
In the following series against New Zealand, Maclagan’s opening partner, Betty Snowball entered the record books with 189 in England’s total of 503 for 5 declared. The right-hand wicketkeeper-batter slammed 23 boundaries in her 222-minute knock. She shared a 235-run stand for the second wicket with Molly Hide (110), and stitched another 82-run stand with Molly Child (86), before she was dismissed by seamer Ruth Symons.
Snowball’s effort helped England thrash the hosts by an innings and 337 runs – the largest margin of victory in Tests. Her record stood for 51 years 4 months and 26 days.
 
Sandhya Agarwal (India)
190 vs England in Worcester (1986)
Known for her solid technique and powers of concentration, India opener Sandhya Agarwal stonewalled England’s attack for 563 minutes on her way to a record-breaking 190. She faced a total of 523 balls during her stay at the crease – a record for most balls faced in an innings – and found the boundary 19 times.
With England having declared overnight, Agarwal batted out the entirety of Day 2 to reach 114 not out, before playing out much of Day 3 alongside Manimala Singhal who faced 92 balls for her 35 runs. Agarwal was the final wicket to fall in the Indian innings, having led her side to a total of 374, giving India a 42-run lead.
Her efforts (she scored an unbeaten 24 in the second innings) allowed India to secure a draw and thereby finish the three-match Test series level at 0-0.
 
Denise Annetts (Australia)
193 v England in Whetherby (1987)
Only two Tests later, Australia’s Denise Annetts surpassed Agarwal’s mark with an enterprising innings against England at the Collingham Cricket Club in Whetherby. Coming in to bat at No.4, with her side precariously placed at 37 for 2, Annetts joined hands with Lindsay Reeler and proceeded to bat the hosts out of the game. While Reeler held one end up with a patient 406-ball innings, at the other end, her partner took England’s bowlers to the cleaners. The pair shared a record 309-run stand for the third wicket – the highest partnership in Tests – to headline Australia’s batting effort.
Annetts slammed 193 in 365 balls, including 29 boundaries, before she was cruelly run out just short of a double ton.
Australia declared with a 145-run lead, but England managed to hold out for a draw. Interestingly, Reeler batted on all four days of the Test and remained not out on 110.
 
Kirsty Flavell (New Zealand)
204 v England in Scarborough (1996)
In June 1996, Kristy Flavell became the first woman to score a double hundred in Tests when she achieved the landmark against England. Having fielded for the best part of two days as the hosts racked up a total of 414 in their first innings, Flavell walked in at No.3 after Debbie Hockley (63) and Shelley Fruin (80) had gotten New Zealand off to a good start. The right-hander then dug her heels in and batted for 555 minutes on her way to 204, running the host’s bowlers into the ground. She played 504 balls, hitting 24 of them to the boundary before being dismissed by Kathryn Leng on the final day.
New Zealand finished with a total of 517 for 8 in 215 overs!
 
Michelle Goszko (Australia)
204 v England in Shenley (2001)
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Almost five years to the day that Flavell reached the landmark, Australia’s Michelle Goszko equaled her effort with an incredible knock on debut. After Australia skittled out England for 103, Goszko walked out to face the music with her team in a bit of strife at 21 for 2 with both Belinda Clark and Karen Rolton back in the hut. The bowling pair of Lucy Pearson and Nicky Shaw had their tails up and England could smell blood. However, Goszko and Lisa Keightley managed to steady the ship and saw the day through.
The following day, while the debutante scored freely at one end, England continued to chip away at the other. Of Australia’s total of 344, Goszko scored 204 off just 345 deliveries with 24 boundaries to her name. She forged important partnerships with Keightley, Louise Broadfoot and Terry McGregor to give her team a sizable lead. Australia went on to win the match by an innings and 140 runs with Goszko being awarded the player of the match award.
She remains the only player to score a double hundred on debut.
 
Karen Rolton (Australia)
209* v England in Leeds (1997)
A little over a week after her teammate equaled the world record, Australia’s batting giant Karen Rolton etched her name in the history books with a belligerent knock of 209 not out in the second Test of the series.
Once again, Australia rolled over England cheaply in the first innings before beating them into submission when it was their turn to bat. Despite losing captain Clark early in the innings, Keightley and Rolton shepherded the visitors to relative safety with a 77-run stand before the latter took charge of the innings. The left-hander blasted 29 fours and a six in her 313-ball knock, surpassing teammate Goszko’s mark with what ESPNcricinfo described as an “almighty heave over mid-wicket.”
Her knock helped Australia gain a 239-run lead. They went on to win the match by nine wickets after Claire Taylor’s defiant century forced them to bat again.
 
Mithali Raj (India)
214 v England in Taunton (2002)
Towards the end of what had been a disastrous tour of England in 2002 – in which they had been blown away in the ODIs – India were searching for inspiration, and they found it in the performances of a 19-year old Mithali Raj. After Jhulan Goswami and Neetu David had combined to dismiss England for 329, India went in to bat with their backs against the well. They lost their make-shift openers Sunetra Pranjape and Mamatha Maben early when Mithali joined hands with skipper Anjum Chopra. The teenager kept India in the game with wonderful support from Chopra, Hemlata Kala and Jhulan Goswami, all of whom contributed important half-centuries. She batted the best part of two days, occupying the crease for an incredible 598 minutes to collect a record 214.
Unsurprisingly the right-hander’s effort is the longest recorded innings in Tests in terms of minutes batted. She surpassed Rolton’s 209* on the evening of Day 3, before being dismissed for 214 early on Day 4.
 
Kiran Baluch (Pakistan)
242 v West Indies in Karachi (2004)
Pakistan’s opening batter Kiran Baluch annihilated Mithali’s record two years later, when the amassed 242 against West Indies at the National Stadium in Karachi. Having elected to bat first the hosts put West Indies’ attack to the sword, crashing 242 for 1 on the first day. Openers Baluch and Sajjida Shah (98) shared a 241-run opening stand that was broken by Candacy Atkins. Unbeaten on 138 overnight, Baluch carried on where she left off the following morning, regularly finding the boundary on her way to a double ton.
She smashed 38 boundaries in her 488-ball 242, not only surpassing Mithali’s record for the highest individual score in Tests, but also setting a new benchmark for the highest maiden Test hundred.
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