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Most runs at each batting position in Tests

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Deepak Panda

The traditional form of the game, Test cricket has evolved a lot to become what it is today from how it had started. The number of teams with Test status has grown up to 12, Ireland and Afghanistan being the latest entrants. Tests are no longer dull and boring and hardly produce any draws, unlike earlier days. More and more matches are producing results nowadays, a necessity to keep the popularity of the format intact.

The major obstacle the longest format of the game has faced is pulling the crowds to the stadiums, due to the busy lifestyle of people and the length of the games. But there have been certain players who have been crowd pullers. Test cricket has been blessed with the likes of Sachin, Sehwag, Ponting, Lara, Flintoff, Smith, Kohli and many more, who have made the crowd head towards stadiums even on busy days.

All names mentioned above had one thing in common. They had their positions fixed in the batting order. In fact, they made certain slots their own. In Test cricket, a fixed batting position is of much more importance as compared to the shorter formats. The mindset with which someone bats is affected hugely by the position he comes in to bat.

Here we look at players with most runs at each batting slot.


#Opening: Alastair Cook (11,845)

Alastair Cook holds the record for the most runs by an Englishman in Test cricket. Starting his career with a brilliant ton against India at Nagpur in 2006, Cook goes down as one of the best to have played the game for England. Not only that, he might also be considered as one of the best openers to have played the game, given the consistency and his scores all around the world.

Cook played a total of 278 innings at the top, scoring 11,845 runs at an average of 44.87. His 31 hundreds are also the highest by an Englishman. The former English captain retired from all forms of the game after his side thrashed India 4-1 at home in 2018.

The next two batsmen in the list include Sunil Gavaskar (9,607) and Graeme Smith (9,030).

Number 3 - Kumar Sangakkara (11,679)

One of the greatest wicket keeper batsman to have played the game, the stylish left-hander from Sri Lanka holds the record for most Test runs for Sri Lanka. He gave up wicketkeeping in Test cricket in 2008 but continued to keep in limited overs till he retired. Sanga, as called by many, remains one of the finest batsmen coming from Lankan soil. His adaptability to any condition made him an impactful performer.

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Sangakkara scored 11,679 runs at number 3 from a total of 207 innings, at an impressive average of 60.83. The former Sri Lanka skipper has 37 hundreds to his name.

He is the only player along with Rahul Dravid to score above 10000 runs at 3, followed by Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla.

Number 4 - Sachin Tendulkar (13,492)

The God of Cricket, as called by many, Sachin played more than 80% of his innings at number 4, becoming India's batting mainstay for more than two decades. He was a part of the legendary Indian middle order which also included Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. One of the best batsmen to ever play the game, Sachin holds a majority of the batting records in Test cricket, some of which seem unreachable.

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Sachin has 13,492 runs to his name at no. 4, from 275 innings at 54.40 and has scored 51 centuries, the most by any batsman in any form of cricket. He is the only batsman to score above 10,000 runs at 4. Mahela Jayawardene and Jacques Kallis are the only other batsmen to score above 9000 at this position.

Number 5 - Shivnarine Chanderpaul (6,883)

One of the most underrated batsmen of his era, Chanderpaul held the flag of West Indies batsmanship with his unorthodox style for more than two decades. Having more than 11,000 career runs in Test cricket, Chanderpaul goes down as a legend in West Indies cricket, someone whom the Windies have found tough to replace.

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The batting mainstay for the Caribbean, Chanderpaul scored 6,883 runs batting at 5 from 151 innings. He finished with an average of 56.42 and scored 19 centuries in his 21-year long career. Steve Waugh (6,754) and Michael Clarke (5,959) are the only others to score above 5000 runs at number 5.

#Number 6 - Steve Waugh (3,165)

Steve Waugh remains the batsman with most runs at 6, despite playing just below one-third of his innings at that position. The 1999 World Cup-winning captain from Australia, known for his bold captaincy as well as dominating attitude on the field is one of Australia's finest batsmen. He was a crucial part of the invincible Aussie side in the 90s and early 2000s. Waugh played his last Test against India in 2004.

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Waugh has 3,165 runs at 6 at an average of 51.05, which is almost identical to his overall average, from a total of 79 innings. He scored 6 hundreds while batting at 6, and 32 hundreds overall.

Asad Shafiq with 3011 runs has the chance to take over Waugh and be the one with most runs at 6. Hasan Tillakaratne and VVS Laxman are the next ones to follow.

Number 7 - Adam Gilchrist (3,948)

The Aussie stalwart, Gilchrist was a vital cog in the wheel for the Aussies who dominated world cricket in the 90s and most part of 2000s. He became the first man to hit 100 sixes in Test cricket. The wicketkeeper-batsman also holds the record for most runs by a wicket keeper batsman in Test cricket.

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Gilchrist scored 3,948 runs at 7 from a total of 100 innings. Though he was too good a player to bat as below as 7, the strength of Aussie top order added with his style of batting made him a valuable asset at 7. He scored 12 hundreds and averages 46.45 at this position.

Ian Healy, Brad Hardin and Rod are the only other batsmen to score above 3000 runs at 7. Interestingly, all four of them are Aussies, who are followed by Boucher and Dhoni.

Number 8 - Daniel Vettori (2,222)

The former Kiwi skipper, Vettori was a more than just an orthodox left-arm spinner. He grew as a batsman over the years and converted himself to a proper all-rounder. His six Test hundreds and an average of 30.01 are a testament to that.

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Vettori played 67 innings at 8, scoring a total of 2,227 runs. He scored 4 hundreds and averages 39.77, which is much better than his career average, at number 8. Shane Warne is the only other player to score more than 2000 runs batting at 8.

Number 9 - Stuart Broad (1,292)

Stuart Broad has been one of finest English pacers and has more than 400 Test wickets. His partnership with Anderson makes them one of the most dangerous pairs in recent times. That is not all, Broad has won games with the bat too. He is more than handy with the bat and is a better batsman than stats show.

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Broad has 1,292 runs to his name from 68 innings batting at 9. His only hundred in Test cricket against Pakistan came at number 9 only. He averages 20.51 at this position.

Daniel Vettori and Brett Lee are the only other players to score more than 1000 runs batting at 9.

#Number 10 - Stuart Broad (548)

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Stuart Broad holds the record for most runs at number 10 too, scoring a total of 548 from 51 innings at an average of 12.74, which is fair enough for a number 10 batsman. Broad flourished as a batsman during the 2011 series against India at home, where his batting was a major reason for England winning the four-match series 4-0.

He is closely followed by Dale Steyn, who is 14 runs behind Broad.

#Number 11 - Muttiah Muralitharan (623)

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This might come as a surprise to many, but it is Muralitharan who has the most runs batting at 11. The record holder for most international wickets, Muralitharan batted at 11 for 98 innings, scoring a total of 623 runs at an average of 11.33. The next ones in the list are Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh with 603 and 553 runs respectively.

Edited by Vignesh Ananthasubramanian
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