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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January 2004, 14:16 GMT
Cricket's four-minute mile
By Martin Gough

Adam Gilchrist
Gilchrist has passed 150 twice in one-day internationals
Adam Gilchrist fell a single run short of the highest one-day international score for an Australian, but even after his 172 against Zimbabwe his sights were set higher.

Said captain Ricky Ponting: "I actually thought he would give 200 a real shake."

"Maybe I missed my chance," Gilchrist mused, "but I'm sure someone will get there one day."

Back in the pavilion he is just one of a clutch of leading players bidding to be the first to score a double-century.

Alistair Brown
Before every innings I think I can score 100 then if there's time I can go on
Alistair Brown
But, like athlete Roger Bannister before he broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, the leading contenders know it is only a matter of time before one of their number gets there.

Of the top 50 scores in one-day international history, 25 have come in the last five years.

Gilchrist's innings ties Zimbabwean Craig Wishart's unbeaten 172 against Namibia during the World Cup as the best of the last 12 months.

Alistair Brown - the only player to have passed 200 twice in top-class limited-overs matches - believes it is only a matter of time before the grail is gained.

Saeed Anwar
194 Saeed Anwar (right)
Pak v India, Madras, 1996/97
189* IVA Richards
WI v Eng, Manchester, 1984
189 ST Jayasuriya
SL v India, Sharjah, 2000/01
188* G Kirsten
SA v UAE, Rawalpindi, 1995/96
186* SR Tendulkar
India v NZ, Hyderabad, 1999/00
"There are a number of players good enough to do it," the Surrey batsman told BBC Sport.

"But you need a good wicket, you need to bat first, you need to be an opener or come in early and you need to be playing against one of the lesser attacks like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh."

"Two hundred will happen in a one-day international but I would be surprised if it's against Australia or any side with a reasonably good attack."

Brown also puts his high scores down to a lack of fear brought in part by his place at the top of a strong batting order - a position Gilchrist fills for Australia.

Graeme Pollock
268 AD Brown
Surrey v Glam, The Oval, 2002
222* RG Pollock (right)
E Province v Border, East London, 1974/75
206 AI Kallicharran
Warks v Oxfords, Birmingham, 1984
203 AD Brown
Surrey v Hants, Guildford, 1997
202* A Barrow
Natal v SA African XI, Durban, 1975/76
201 VJ Wells
Leics v Berkshire, Leicester, 1996
He is quick to point out that he came 88 short of his own international double-ton - his 112 against India in 1996 coming in one of just 16 innings for England.

But he made 203 in a 40-over match against Hampshire in 1997 and broke his own county mark with a world record 268 against Glamorgan in a 50-over C&G Trophy match in 2002.

His scoring rate of 5.36 runs per over compares with Gilchrist's 3.88 on Friday.

Brown says self-belief was vital to get to the mark, but also a short-term view that means he did not get carried away.

"Before I got 203 I believed I could beat the one-day record," he says.

"But I try to break it down - if I get 100 in 20 overs, and I've spent some time getting my eye in, why shouldn't I get to 200 with 30 overs left."

"Often batsmen try to up the pace after getting the first 100 and do something extreme."

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) (right)
Virender Sehwag (Ind)
Adam Gilchrist (Aus)
Matthew Hayden (Aus)
Herschelle Gibbs (SA)
Sanath Jayasuriya (SL)
Brian Lara (WI)
Brown believes the current trend for higher individual and team scores is a result of the bedding down of the 15-over fielding restriction since its introduction worldwide in 1992.

Sri Lanka started the revolution with their use of the pinch-hitter to score quick runs at the start of the innings, winning the 1996 World Cup in the process.

"At first people would attack wildly, and bring someone up from six or seven to open.

"Now we're seeing proper batsmen coming up the order to open, batting positively but playing proper shots and not going too far too early.

"If you see something being done you believe it's achievable."

But first there needs to be a trailblazer.

Brown sets new world's best
19 Jun 02 |  Counties

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