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Ranking The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century

Ranking The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century: An article in which we tried our best to select the best 8 test batsmen of this century.

Following our series on Test Cricket, now we are here with our next article on ”The Top 8 Test Batsmen of This Century”

Officially, we have not named this series; but you can relate this as a Series because of our previous articles on Fast BowlersOpeners Etc.

As we are discussing ”The Greatest Test Batsmen of The Century” we have got a problem of plenty. Many players from each of the test-playing nations performed up to the mark.

So to reduce the problem to an extent, we have taken only those players who have scored 7500+ runs in the century.
There are a total of 23 players for the same, these are: 

  • Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen, and Ian Bell from England
  • Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene from Sri Lanka
  • Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, and AB de Villiers from South Africa
  • Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, David Warner, and Matthew Hayden from Australia
  • Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, and Virender Sehwag from India
  • Shivnarine Chanderpaul from West Indies 
  • Younis Khan from Pakistan
  • Ross Taylor from New Zealand

The most important factor to judge cricketers is their stats, and for our article on ”The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century”we have taken 5 statistical factors; These are:

  1. Total Stats
  2. Stats Away From Home
  3. Stats In Sena
  4. Stats In Asia
  5. Stats In Won Matches

As we are discussing the top 8 batsmen in detail, you can scroll down to the bottom if you are just interested in the final list.

Abbreviations Used:-

  • M-Matches
  • I-Innings
  • R-Runs
  • Av.-Average
  • S- South Africa
  • A- Australia
  • E- England
  • N- New Zealand

Abraham Benjamin De Villiers

“I have been saying for the past 30 years that Vivian Richards has to be the best batsman of all time. But I am going to have a reassess that because this guy is something extraordinary.” 

Bob Wills, the great English spinner said this for Abraham Benjamin de Villiers.

That was the stature of the guy who is placed at no.8 on our list. 

Known around the world as a white-ball cricket beast, ABD was equally great in the longest format of the game.

He started his Test career as an opening batsman and then managed to become one of the greatest no.5/6 batsmen in the history of the game.

ABD has scored 8765 runs in 114 matches with an average of 50.66, including 22 centuries.

Talking about shots, He can play Pull, all kinds of sweeps, all the shots, whichever exists in this game, still, his lofted straight drive is something else. Along with that, he had a rock-solid defence, too.

“Conditions don’t matter much for a batsman like him” as he averages 40+ in all the countries he played in, except BAN and ZIM where he just played 2 and 1 matches respectively.

He played many great knocks in his Test career such as 278* against PAK (Abu Dhabi),  43*(297 balls) against Ind (Delhi) and a similar type of knock against 33*(220) against AUS (Adelaide), But his knock of 217* at Ahmedabad is a standout performance for me which helped SA to defeat IND by the margin of innings and 90 runs that too in India.

Even while playing as a WK-Batsman. He averages 57 with 7 100s in just 24 matches; Just Unbelievable!!

We totally considered 5 criteria while preparing this list; ABD averages 50+ in 4 out of 5. (5 out of 5, if the innings where he opens are excluded.)

M-114    I-191    R-8765     Av-50.66     100-22

M-44    I-76     R-3396     Av-50.68     100-7

M-19    I-32     R-1434     Av-47.80     100-3

M-21   I-36      R-1746     Av-54.56     100-3

M-57   I-83     R-4631     Av-63.43      100-16

Graeme Smith

South African Cricket was facing a downfall after the fixing scandal and after the loss of their captain, Hansie Cronje; but then came a 22-year-old man who helped RSA to maintain their existence not only with his captaincy but with his batting brilliance too.

He was none other than  ‘GC SMITH’ and he is the next man on our list. Smith played 117 matches, scoring 9265 at an average of 48.25 with 27 centuries.

Graeme Smith is the player who performed better in away matches as compared to home as he scored 4800+ runs outside the home at an average near 54, which is great for an Opener and his performance was up to mark in Asia too as his average here was near 50 with 4 tons.

His score of 259 in 2003 is the highest ever by a visiting batsman at Lord’s.’ GC Smith and ‘Neil Mackenzie’ also hold the record for the highest 1st wicket partnership of 415 which they made against Bangladesh in 2007.

Graeme Smith with the bat was one of the prominent reasons for RSA dominance as he averaged 61.34 in won matches with 18 of his 27 tons resulting in Victory, whereas 9 resulted in a draw. So, his 100 Never went in vain.

M-117    I-205    R-9265      Av-48.25    100-27

M-52   I-96     R-4854     Av-53.93     100-15

M-28   I-54     R-2675    Av-54.49      100-9

M-21  I- 35     R-1728    Av-49.37     100-4

M-60  I-94     R-5214    Av-61.34     100-18

GC Smith is one of the best test openers of all time and the only opener on our ”The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century” list.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Shivnarine Chanderpaul standing at the crease provided Brian Lara with security and could attack the bowlers from the other end. 

He is the first Indo-Caribbean to play 100 Tests for the West Indies. His Crab-like batting stance was the highlight of his career and throughout the century; He scored 9633 runs at an average near 55 with 28 100(s).

Apart from being the defensive Batsman, sometimes he has played the attacking role too; his 100 of 69 balls against Australia in 2001 is the 6th fastest test 100 of all time.

On 4 instances, he played 1000 minutes without getting dismissed. No one has ever done this even three times, and only Rahul Dravid has achieved this feat two times.

He scored 558 runs averaging 111.60 in 2007 and 909 averaging 101 in 2008 to become the only batsman after Sir Donald Bradman to score 500+ runs in two consecutive years with a 100+ average.

Out of 127 tests he played, the Windies could manage to win only 27 where Chanderpaul played a vital role while Averaging 71+ in won matches.

M-127    I-218    R-9633      Av-54.73    100-28
M-61   I-107     R-4479     Av-50.89     100-11

M-36   I-66     R-2712    Av-49.30      100-7

M-23  I-39      R-1682    Av-54.25     100-4

M-29  I-45     R-2283    Av-71.34     100-9

Rahul Dravid

“Try to take his wicket in the first 15 minutes, if you can’t then only try to get remaining wickets”.

Greatest ever test Captain ‘Steve Waugh‘ saying this depicts the stature and Mental Strength of ‘Rahul Dravid’.

After all, Dravid played most no. of the deliveries in his test career(31258) and none other batsmen even faced 30000. He is also the batsman to spend the most time at the crease in test cricket with 44152 minutes.

He played 130 matches in this century, scoring 10590 with an average of 53 scoring 30 centuries.

Jammy was the first man to score test centuries in each nation he played(the last test century in New Zealand was in 1999).

He was regarded as THE WALL because of his defensive type of play, but the way he played flick shot is one of the best played by a Cricketer over the years.

Rahul played a lot of Wonderful innings outside the home but his knock of 233 at Adelaide Oval in 2003 BGT that helped India win the match is still regarded as the best by many Cricket experts.

Jammy was also involved in one of the greatest test partnerships of all time with VVS Laxman;i.e. of 376 runs in 2001 against Australia at Kolkata, which resulted in Indian Victory after follow-on.

The ICC awards were started in 2004, and he was the inaugural winner of the “Test Player of The Year” award.

Only 3 of his 30 centuries in this century resulted in India’s defeat (15 in won matches and 12 in draws). Also, he averaged a whopping 70.68 in matches India won.

M-130    I-228    R-10590      Av-52.95    100-30

M-76   I-136     R-6135     Av-51.55     100-16

M-38   I-74     R-3083    Av-46.71      100-7

M-22  I-36      R-1588    Av-51.22     100-6

M-49  I-80     R-4665    Av-70.68     100-15

We haven’t talked much about Dravid’s country-wise performance and in-depth stats in this column because we have talked about these stats in detail in our Article “Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid: Better Batsman in Test Cricket?“.

Kumar Sangakkara

If I had to describe Kumar Sangakkara in one word, it would be insatiable. If we were to rank the best WK Batsman, he should surely be there among the top rankers.

His stats are quite phenomenal with 12400 runs in 134 matches with a quality average of 57.40 for the team of Sri Lanka, an emerging team at that time, and punching well above its weight, and Sanga has a major role in this journey.

He always had the hunger to score runs. He scored 38 100(s) of which at least 11 were double centuries (only second to Sir Donald Bradman). 

Once he got on top, he was absolutely fantastic and his cover drive is a treat for Cricket fans.

He set up the world record for the highest partnership in Test cricket of 624 runs along with his Partner Mahela Jayawardene in July 2006 against South Africa. Individually, he scored 287 runs in this match, which is his second-highest score.

He was ranked the highest test batsman on 7 December 2007 with rating points of 938; till this date, this is the highest ever rating achieved by a Sri Lankan batsman.

He is also the first batsman to score 150+ runs in four consecutive tests.

Out of the 134 matches he played, SL won 54 of them and Sanga scored 19 of his 38 centuries In won matches, at an average reaching near 72.

” Sometimes you come up short against a guy who plays as well as that and you don’t feel quite so bad “

SIR Alastair Cook said this about the Sri Lankan Great

This describes that apart from being a great batsman, he was a gentleman of the game too.

Note:-From 8000-12000 runs, Sangakkara is the fastest man to reach every 1000 run mark(i.e. fastest to 8000,9000,10000,11000,12000)

M-134    I-233    R-12400      Av-57.40    100-38

M-53   I-97     R-4888    Av-53.13     100-14

M-30   I-59     R-2526    Av-45.92      100-7

M-23  I-41      R-2525    Av-64.74     100-8

M-54  I-84     R-5449    Av-71.69     100-19

Here Begins The Top 3!!

Steven Smith

Who is the best Test Batsman of the current generation? Steven Smith
a long gap
and then any other batsman.

Starting his career as a leg-spinner, Steven Smith has emerged as the best Test Batsman of the last decade. 

Playing 77 matches, he scored a total of 7784 runs @59.87 with 27 centuries. Also, his away test average is higher than 60.

 ”Everyone makes mistakes; it’s about the way you respond to it that’s really important.”

Steven Smith

If Comeback is a word, Steven Peter Devereux Smith is the Synonym. After suffering from a one-year ban in 2018-19; Steven Smith announced his comeback in test cricket in style. 

In Ashes 2019, he scored 774 runs in 7 innings at a staggering average of 110.57 with 3 100(s) and 3 50(s).

Many Australian batsmen struggled hardly on Spinning pitches in India, but Smith averages 60 in India with 3 100(s). Smith showed his pure masterclass in the Pune 2017 test, scoring 109 runs on a pure rank Turner against the likes of Spin Wizard Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav.

Individual innings scores of the Indian Cricket Team were less than Smith’s Second Inning Scores (105 and 107).

Smith is the only present cricketer on this list and his 947 Test Rating points is the second-best by any test batsman(Sir Donald Bradman being at the top with 961 points)

Smudge’s Average hikes up to near 75 in the matches Australia won and his 18/27 100(s) resulted in Kangaroo’s Victory.

He may emerge as a better Batsman in the future, but for now, we have him as our number 3 Batsman due to the small sample size as compared to others. If he had played 90+ matches with the same stats, he might be the No. 1 Batsman on our list.

Smith has the best test average on our list of the ”The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century” list and also has the second-best career average for the Batsman with 2500+ test runs. Only behind ‘Sir Donald Bradman


M-82    I-147    R-7784      Av-59.87    100-27

M-35   I-66     R-3609     Av-60.15     100-13

M-22   I-40     R-2300    Av-62.16      100-5

M-13  I-26      R-1200    Av-48.00     100-4

M-43  I-72     R-4584    Av-74.37     100-18

Sachin Tendulkar

”I See Myself When I See Sachin Batting”

This famous statement was given by The Great ‘Sir Donald Bradman‘ to praise the batting of SRT.

To be honoured by this type of statement by a Great like him shows the quality of the player.

In the 13 years he played in this century, he scored 10080 runs in 127 matches with an average of near 52 and 29 Hundred. His away average was also higher than his overall average.

Australia and South Africa were considered the best teams for the long initial part of this century and Sachin dominated them at home averaging >55 and 3 centuries in both countries.

In BGT 2003; Sachin only scored 82 runs in the first 5 innings, with bowlers targeting him outside the off stumps. but in the fourth Sydney test, Sachin had other plans as he scored a Mammoth 241 runs not out without playing a single cover drive, and this Inning was an example of the determination Sachin possesses on the field.

We have considered five factors as Stats for choosing ”Best Test Batsmen of This Century”, and Sachin is the only Batsman to average 50+ in all these criteria.

Many fans still think that his Innings don’t benefit the team but the fact is that 16 of Sachin’s 29 tons were scored in won matches,9 in draws and only 4 of those in lost matches shows quite a different picture. 

Sachin is arguably the best Indian test batsman (Only debatable with Sunil Gavaskar) and also an ideal No. 4 for an all-time Test Team.

M-127    I-214    R-10080      Av-52.22    100-29

M-63   I-109     R-5379     Av-54.88     100-16

M-37   I-70     R-3276    Av-51.18      100-8

M-19  I-27      R-1573    Av-68.39     100-7

M-54  I-85     R-4584    Av-62.79     100-16

Jacques Kallis

After a 22-year-long apartheid ban from Cricket, the South African test team emerged as a Great cricketing nation in 1990(s) and 2000(s); they were a mighty force to reckon with, and one of the reasons for this was JACQUES HENRY KALLIS.

Solely as a batsman, he is the best test batsman of this century till now. His numbers speak for his ability, as he scored 11440 runs in the 134 matches, he played at an average of 58+. He also scored 40 100(s) which is the highest by any Batsman in this century.

Except for England and Sri Lanka, where he averaged 32 and 35 respectively, JH Kallis dominated the world as he averaged 50+ in each country where he played 4+ matches in this century.

In the 2003/04 season, Kallis achieved a rare feat of scoring centuries in five consecutive matches which were achieved only by Donald Bradman before him. Mohammad Yousuf and Gautam Gambhir are the other two batsmen to do the same after Kallis.

Against Sri Lanka at New Lands in January 2012, he made his highest test score of 224.

In 2005, he was the co-receiver of the ICC Player of the Year award, shared with Andrew Flintoff.

If he isn’t the greatest test cricketer of this century, then there would be a good discussion of why he is not!

M-134    I-229    R-11440     Av-58.66    100-40

M-61  I-111     R-5066     Av-55.06     100-16

M-27   I-50     R-2074    Av-46.08      100-5

M-24  I-43      R-1997    Av-55.47     100-8

M-67  I-100     R-5530    Av-67.43     100-20

Jacques Kallis, along with Ricky Ponting was the best batsman of the 2000(s) decade; To know about the best 11 of that decade, read our article: ”The Greatest Test 11 Of The 2000s”.

We have one more Player as our special mention on this special list.

Ricky Ponting

If anyone of you is still there reading our article, you might have been wondering why Ricky Ponting is not part of our ”The Top 8 Test Batsmen Of This Century”. Here’s the catch!!

Punter was clinical in the initial 6 years of the century (averaging 60+ 4 times in 6 years), but in the latter half, he never averaged 50+ in a test batting calendar.
Stats In First 6 Years:-(1 Jan 2000-31 Dec 2006)
M-76   I-130  R-7231   Av-65.73   100-27

Stats In Last 6 Years:-(1 Jan 2007-30 Nov 2012)
M-59   I-105   R-4055  Av-40.14   100-8

For the batting greats to have ever played the game, his decline should be one of the worst, along with ‘Sir Vivian Richards’ who also just averaged 42 in his last 6 years contrary to his overall average of 50.24.

One more reason for his omission from this list was his record in Asia (particularly India). Against the likes of Spin Wizards ‘Anil Kumble’ and ‘Harbhajan Singh’, the Punter couldn’t find a way to score as he averaged less than 30 in India and 40 overall in Asia.

He was the first cricketer to be awarded ”ICC Player Of The Year” in consecutive 2 years(2006-2007). Also, his score of 242 in Adelaide in 2003-04 BGT is the highest ever Innings score in a losing cause.

Ponting also holds the record for scoring the most runs by a test player in Won matches (also in this century). He scored 7950 runs in won matches and also scored 27 of his 35 100(s) in the same.

M-135    I-235    R-11286     Av-53.48     100-35

M-57    I-102     R-4416     Av-45.52     100-13

M-31    I-54     R-2381     Av-46.68     100-7

M-20   I-35      R-1385     Av-40.73     100-4

M-88  I-148     R-7950     Av-62.59      100-27

So, we finish our article with this special mention and the final list is:-

  1. Jacques Kallis
  2. Sachin Tendulkar
  3. Steven Smith
  4. Kumara Sangakkara
  5. Rahul Dravid
  6. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
  7. Graeme Smith
  8. Abraham Benjamin De Villiers

Special Mention:-Ricky Ponting

This article was about the ”Best Test Batsman of This Century” and of the 9 players mentioned, one is an opener, 7 of 9 from the golden era of test cricket and just one From the current lot.

Kindly share the article on each of our social media platforms if u liked it.

Thank You, Readers!

Prabal Sharma
Prabal Sharma
Following this beautiful game of cricket for more than a decade now.


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