Australia dominated world cricket for more than a decade after winning the 1999 one-day World Cup. They went on to win three consecutive ODI World Cup tournaments and were also a dominant force in red-ball cricket. Their success in Test cricket came through an all-round team performance from the consistent opening pair of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer to their bowling unit consisting of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Langer made his Test debut in 1993 but scored his first century in 1998. He formed one of the most successful opening partnerships with Hayden in Test cricket but also performed consistently in the number three role. The left-handed batter scored 7696 runs from 105 Test matches at an impressive average of 45.27 with the help of 23 centuries and 30 fifties. The legendary Australian turns 53, so let’s take a look at his top three performances in international cricket.
250 vs England, 2002
Langer played a defining 250-run knock against England in the fourth match of the 2002 Ashes at home. While opening an innings in the first innings, he smashed 250 runs off 407 balls with a strike rate above 60 to help Australia score 551/6 at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia won the match by five wickets and Langer won the player of the match for his knock. This knock remains his highest score in Test cricket, beating his 223-run innings against India in 2000.
122* vs New Zealand, 2000
Langer smashed 122 runs off 122 balls while batting in the fourth innings against New Zealand in the third Test match at Hamilton in 2000 to guide Australia to a crucial win. While chasing a 210-run target in the second innings on day four, Australia lost both opener Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater early but Langer‘s destructive 122* knock with the help of 19 fours. He scored more than 50% of the team’s total to chase the target in just 41.3 overs.
191 vs Pakistan, 2004
Langer had already scored four Test centuries in the year 2004, including a 215-run knock against New Zealand, but smashed his best knock against Pakistan, his fifth century of the year. He scored 191 runs off just 280 balls against the world-class bowling unit having the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, to help Australia score 381 total and added 97 runs more in the second innings to guide his team to a massive win.