Most of Test Cricket's best Innings are hundreds and big ones at that, but there are some absolutely epic Innings where the Batsman don't get to the three-figure mark. Please share the best you know.
Sunil Gavaskar- 96 against Pakistan(1987)
It was the final match of arguably the best and definitely the most successful opening batsman to play the game. The pitches prepared earlier in the series were as flat as Kiera Knightley and the Curators were pressurized to prepare a pitch offering something for the bowlers. The Curator went one unnecessary step further and made the pitch an absolute minefield. A 'Patch instead of a pitch' as a newspaper put it. The pitch offered an enormous amount of turn and unpredictable bounce and the Pakistan Team realized that and rightly selected two young spinners Iqbal Qasim and Tausif over the ageing Qadir.
The Pitch proved true to it's hype as Maninder Singh ran wild over Pakistan taking 7-27 getting Pakistan out for 117. The two Pakistani Bowlers made deadly and efficient use of the conditions taking 5-48 and 5-54 and restricting India to 145. Despite being behind by 21 runs, Pakistan batted sensibly in the second innings with a pitch threatening to crumble away but still intact, with handy contributions from Rameez Raja, Malik, Imran Khan and Yousuf Pakistan post a respectable total of 249. If batting in the first and second Innings was tough, Batting in the fourth was bloody hell to put it mildly. 221 was needed, the match was evenly poised and Pakistan was looking for their first series win in India with the two young spinners treating the batsmen with the disdain of the Raja of Baroda shooting down prey. A very young Akram picked up two early wickets, leaving the spinners to run through the order on a crumbling 4th day minefield.
But Pakistan did not account for Gavaskar playing what would have been the Innings of his life is he was any lesser batsman. Gavaskar displayed his impeccable technique defending anything coming on to the wicket, and dispatching any ball wide of the wicket by even a micron with perfect drives right of the copybook. Despite his strike-rate of 37 in that Innings, one could say he was dominating the bowling. Partner after Partner fell pray to the spinners, but Gavaskar stayed put. With the score at 180-7, a ball from Qasim brushed Gavaskar's pad and went to the fielder, and he was wrongly given out. His return to the Pavilion was greeted with awe-filled Silence as if to say. Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?. India went to lose the match, But Imran Khan and the rest of the Pakistan team had no doubt in their minds that this was the greatest Innings they have ever seen. and mind you, Imran Khan has seen a great many hundreds.