A quadruple century (an individual score of 400 runs or more) has been scored ten times in first-class cricket by eight different players. It was first achieved in 1895 by Archie MacLaren, playing for Lancashire against Somerset, while both the most recent occurrences have been by Brian Lara, who is also the only player to have managed the feat in Test cricket. Lara holds the record for the highest score in first-class cricket, having made 501 not out in 1994. Bill Ponsford is the only other player to have scored two quadruple centuries, doing so in 1923 and 1927 for the Victoria cricket team. Ponsford's scores were both made at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, making it one of two venues to have hosted two quadruple centuries, along with the County Ground, Taunton. Two teams have conceded two quadruple centuries; Somerset and Queensland.
Don Bradman's score of 452 not out was made in the shortest time of all quadruple centuries; his innings lasting 415 minutes (6 hours and 55 minutes). Lara's Test quadruple was the longest, taking 778 minutes (12 hours and 58 minutes). Bradman's quadruple century was also the only one to be scored in a team's second batting innings. Three of the quadruple centuries were made in each of Australia and England, two in Pakistan, one in India and one in Antigua and Barbuda.
Prior to 1895, the highest score in first-class cricket was W. G. Grace's 344. This total was surpassed by Archie MacLaren, playing for Lancashire during a County Championship match against Somerset. MacLaren opened the batting for his side at the County Ground, Taunton, and struck 1 six and 64 fours during his innings, which lasted well into the second day of the three-day match. MacLaren's score remained the only quadruple century for over 25 years, until Bill Ponsford accumulated 429 runs in his third first-class match. Ponsford improved on his own total four years later, reaching 437 runs; both of his quadruple centuries were scored at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The next quadruple century was again scored in Australia, on this occasion by Don Bradman. Playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Bradman passed Ponsford's total, finishing on 452 not out. His innings, which lasted 415 minutes, is the quickest of any quadruple century.
The next three quadruple centuries were scored in the Indian subcontinent, where according to MacLaren's biographer Michael Down "standards of play are sometimes hard to assess". B. B. Nimbalkar was the first batsman to score a quadruple century without setting a new record for the highest score, hitting 443 not out for Maharashtra at Poona Club Ground. Maharashtra's opposition, Kathiawar,[a] conceded the match on the third day without batting for a second time. In 1959, Hanif Mohammad eclipsed Bradman's record, scoring 499 runs before he was run out. Playing at the Karachi Parsi Institute Ground, he was trying to reach 500 runs before the end of the third day when he was run out in the final over. Fifteen years later, Aftab Baloch became the sixth player to score a quadruple century. Captaining Sind at the National Stadium, Karachi, Baloch scored 428 runs as his side totalled 951 for 7 declared in reply to their opponent's first innings 93.
In 1988, Graeme Hick made the second quadruple century in England. Coming 93 years after the first, it was similarly scored at the County Ground, Taunton. In an innings which Vic Marks described as "clinical rather than charismatic", Hick reached 405 not out from 469 deliveries: his first 300 runs came from 411 balls, and the last hundred were scored off 58 more. England was once again the host nation for the next quadruple century—technically a quintuple century—when Brian Lara made the record high score in first-class cricket, hitting 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994. In contrast to Hick's patient innings, Lara's total was one of only two quadruple centuries that were scored at faster than a run a minute. In a match that had been ruined as a contest by rain, Lara asked his captain not to declare their innings so he could try to surpass Hanif Mohammad's total. Aiming for 500, he started the final over of the day on 497, and reached the landmark with a four, scored from the penultimate ball of the over.
Ten years later, Lara became the only batsman to score a quadruple century in Test cricket when he scored 400 not out while captaining the West Indies against England at the Antigua Recreation Ground. When he passed Matthew Hayden's Test record score of 380, play was delayed as Baldwin Spencer, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda came onto the field to offer his congratulations. Lara continued to bat until he reached 400, whereupon he declared the West Indian innings at 751 for 5.
|*||denotes that the batsman remained not out|
|denotes that the total was the highest first-class score at the time|
|Innings||denotes which of the team's batting innings the quadruple century was scored in|
|Minutes||denotes how many minutes the player batted for|
|Balls||denotes how many deliveries the player faced|
|Date||denotes the date on which the match started|
|1||424||Archie MacLaren||Lancashire||Somerset||1st||470||Unknown||County Ground, Taunton, England||15 July 1895|||
|2||429||Bill Ponsford||Victoria||Tasmania||2nd||477||Unknown||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia||2 February 1923|||
|3||437||Bill Ponsford||Victoria||Queensland||1st||621||Unknown||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia||16 December 1927|||
|4||452*||Don Bradman||New South Wales||Queensland||3rd||415||465||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia||16 December 1930|||
|5||443*||B. B. Nimbalkar||Maharashtra||Kathiawar||2nd||494||Unknown||Poona Club Ground, Poona[b], India||16 December 1948|||
|6||499||Hanif Mohammad||Karachi||Bahawalpur||2nd||635||Unknown||Karachi Parsi Institute Ground, Karachi, Pakistan||8 January 1959|||
|7||428||Aftab Baloch||Sind||Baluchistan||2nd||584||Unknown||National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan||18 February 1974|||
|8||405*||Graeme Hick||Worcestershire||Somerset||1st||555||469||County Ground, Taunton, England||5 May 1988|||
|9||501*||Brian Lara||Warwickshire||Durham||2nd||474||427||Edgbaston, Birmingham, England||2 June 1994|||
|10||400*||Brian Lara||West Indies||England||1st||778||582||Antigua Recreation Ground, St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda||10 April 2004|||