This is the longest format of the game and we should expect scoring rates in test cricket to be more modest than in limited overs matches. Here, then, are the slowest hundreds in test history.
Slowest Century in Test Cricket History in terms of Minutes and Balls Faced
The record for the slowest test century is currently held by Pakistan’s Mudassar Nazar. In terms of both balls faced and minutes at the crease, he is the slowest of all time.
Playing against England at Lahore in 1977, he reached his century in 419 balls. It had taken him 557 minutes to get there.
Slowest Centuries in Test by Balls
Mudassar Nazar – 419 balls
Batting on a flat deck at Lahore, Mudassar Nazar dug in and frustrated the England bowlers for nearly ten hours. He eventually finished with 114 from 449 deliveries before he was dismissed.
Pakistan finally declared on 407/9 and, not surprisingly, the match ended in a tame draw.
Thilan Samaraweera – 408 balls
Sri Lanka’s Thilan Samaraweera is next up with a century from 408 balls. Once again, England were the unfortunate opponents in a test match in Colombo in December 2003.
Samaraweera used up 408 balls but it was a winning effort as his team posted 628/8 to set up victory by an innings.
Jimmy Adams – 365 balls
He was known as a stubborn and patient batsman so nobody should be surprised to see West Indies’ Jimmy Adams on this list. It took the left hander 365 balls to get to the milestone in a test against Zimbabwe in Jamaica in 2000.
The Windies won the game and Adams’ marathon effort was enough to see him claim the Player of the Match award.
Clive Radley – 396 balls
Clive Radley was an effective player for Middlesex in English county cricket. His test career was a brief one in the late 1970s but the left hander made a mark with one of the slowest ever international centuries.
Playing against New Zealand in Auckland in 1978, Radley brought up his ton from 396 balls but he didn’t stop there. He finished with 158 from 524 deliveries in 648 minutes.
Sanjay Manjrekar – 397 balls
Zimbabwe were on the receiving end of another slow century as India’s Sanjay Manjrekar brought up three figures from 397 balls. The game was played at Harare in 1992 and this would prove to be the slowest test hundred by an Indian.
India made 307 in reply to Zimbabwe’s 456 but the match was drawn.
Slowest Centuries in terms of Minutes
Mudassar Nazar – 557 minutes
We’ve already mentioned Pakistan’s Mudassar Nazar so I’ll quickly move on and give him a break. Just to remind everyone that he holds the record in this section with a hundred in 557 minutes.
He was finally dismissed for 114 having spent 591 minutes at the crease.
DJ McGlew – 545 minutes
Jackie McGlew was a South African batsman who played 34 tests between 1951 and 1962. He made seven test centuries but this was his slowest by far. It came in a game between South Africa and Australia at Durban on the 1957/58 tour.
McGlew passed three figures after 545 minutes at the crease. His knock helped the South Africans to lead by 221 on first innings but they didn’t have enough time left to force a win. This would remain as the slowest first class hundred for the next twenty years.
AP Gurusinha – 535 minutes
Zimbabwe suffered once again at their Harare ground as the Sri Lankan batter AP Gurusinha crawled to three figures after 535 minutes at the crease. Gurusinha would bat on for over ten hours as his team made 383 in their first innings.
This match ended in a dull draw thanks to some rain and plenty of slow play on behalf of the batsmen.
JJ Crowe – 516 minutes
New Zealand’s Jeff Crowe slots in with this marathon effort for New Zealand against Sri Lanka at Colombo. On the Kiwis’ 1986/87 tour, this was another tedious game where both sides only batted in one innings.
New Zealand’s 406/5 declared came in reply to Sri Lanka’s 397/9 declared. Crowe would eventually bat on for over ten hours, making an undefeated 120.
SV Manjrekar – 500 minutes
This is the innings that we mentioned previously where India’s Sanjay Manjrekar scored a century from 397 balls. Playing against Zimbabwe at Harare in 1992, it took him 500 minutes to get there in an innings that contained just seven fours.