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Six great Test innings

Ben Stokes produced one of the greatest innings in Test history against Australia at Headingley

PHOTO: Reuters

Ben Stokes produced one of the greatest innings in Test history with a remarkable 135 not out that saw England to a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the third Test at Headingley on Sunday.

Below AFP Sport looks at six great Test innings:

270: Don Bradman, Australia v England, Melbourne 1936/37

The greatest batsman Test cricket has known, with an average of 99.94, Bradman arrived in Melbourne for the third match of this series having lost his first two Tests as Australia captain and on the brink of losing the Ashes.

He was out for 13 in the first innings before rain turned an uncovered pitch that, in Bradman's words, became the "worst I ever saw in my life". He declared Australia's first innings on 200/9, with England declaring on 76/9 in turn.

Bradman then reversed Australia's batting order to protect his best batsmen from the worst of the conditions and the 'Don' in at No 7, made 270 in a total of 564.

Australia won by 365 runs and went on to win the series 3-2 — the only time a team have come from 2-0 down to win a five-Test series.

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154 not out: Graham Gooch, England v West Indies, Headingley 1991

England had not won a home Test against the then mighty West Indies for 22 years when they arrived in Leeds for the first match of the 1991 series.

For a large part of that time, opener Gooch was one of the few England batsmen who stood up to a succession of formidable pace attacks.

Now the England captain, Gooch batted throughout the whole of the second innings for 154 against fast bowlers of the calibre of Curtly Ambrose, Patrick Patterson, Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh.

No other England batsman made more than 27 in a total of 252 all out that laid the platform for a 115-run win.

153 not out: Brian Lara, West Indies v Australia, Bridgetown 1999

West Indies were no longer the dominant force they had been by the time left-hander Lara played this celebrated captain's innings.

The preceding tour of South Africa, their first of the country, had seen the West Indies thrashed 5-0 in a Test series and they were well beaten by Australia in the first match of this campaign.

Set a target of 308 to win in Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies were all but out of the game at 91-4 against one of the all-time great attacks — pacemen Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie, as well as star leg-spinner Shane Warne were all playing for Australia.

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But Lara, with his captaincy on the line, took charge with an audacious century full of superb strokes. Dropped late on, he saw West Indies to a one-wicket win.

281: VVS Laxman, India v Australia, Kolkata, 2001

India, beaten by 10 wickets in the series opener by an all-time great Australia side, were staring at another defeat when captain Steve Waugh made them follow-on at Eden Gardens.

In the second innings they were 232-4 when Laxman and Rahul Dravid (who made 180) came together in a monumental partnership of 376.

On a pitch assisting spinners, Laxman repeatedly on-drove leg-breaks from Warne turning across him through the onside for fours in a masterful 281 that set up a 171-run win.

It also changed cricket by making Australia — and everyone else — distinctly wary of enforcing the follow-on.

153 not out: Kusal Perera, Sri Lanka v South Africa, Durban, 2019

Sri Lanka trailed by 78 runs, looking for only their second win in 14 Tests in South Africa, when their ninth wicket fell on the fourth day of the first Test against the Proteas.

But left-handed Perera, in at number five, held off South Africa's powerful attack to hit 153 not out, including 12 fours and five sixes.

A career best for Perera, who faced 69 balls out of 96 balls during his partnership with Vishwa Fernando, scored 67 of his runs in an unbeaten last-wicket stand.

It was the highest last-wicket stand in a successful fourth-innings chase in first-class cricket.

"It was a superman effort," said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.

135 not out: Ben Stokes, England v Australia, Leeds, 2019

England, bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, were on the brink of defeat at 286-9 in their second dig, needing 73 more runs to reach a victory target of 359.

Stokes was 61 not out when joined at the crease by No 11 Jack Leach.

But England's vice-captain, whose first two runs had taken 50 balls, played the situation to perfection as World Cup-winning hero Stokes went into one-day mode with a brilliant display of clean hitting that yielded 11 fours and eight sixes.

Having been on the verge of going 2-0 down in the Ashes, England won by one wicket to square the series at 1-1 with an astonishing victory.