2019 has been a run-filled year in many ways. Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne, who came in as a concussion specialist for Steve Smith during the Ashes Test at Lord’s, will likely end the year as the leading run-getter in the format. He has 1,085 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 67.81, with three hundreds and seven fifties.
Smith himself is at the second spot, having amassed 958 runs in eight Tests at an average of 79.83. The former Aussie skipper has three hundreds and four fifties to his name. In his first Test since returning from the ball-tampering ban, he notched up centuries in both innings, and followed it up with a double century at Manchester.
England’s World Cup hero Ben Stokes completes the top three with 807 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 47.47. He has two hundreds and four fifties to his name.
In this feature, we take a look at the three batsmen who have scored the most Test runs in a calendar year.
#3 Graeme Smith (1,656 runs -- 2008)
Former South African captain Graeme Smith amassed 1,656 runs in 15 Tests in the year 2008. He averaged 72 with six hundreds and as many fifties.
Smith's highest score of 232 in the year came against Bangladesh at Chattogram in February. He smashed 33 fours and a six in his 277-ball knock before being bowled by Abdur Razzak.
South Africa ended up winning the match by an innings and 205 runs. This was the game in which Smith and Neil McKenzie (226) added a record 415 for the opening wicket.
Among his other match-winning hundreds, Smith scored 147 against West Indies at Durban in January, a game which the Proteas won by an innings and 100 runs. The opener also made an unbeaten 154 as South Africa chased down 281 at Birmingham in August. Most famously, he contributed 108 in the legendary run chase of 414 against Australia at Perth in December.
#2 Sir Vivian Richards (1,710 runs -- 1976)
West Indian legend Sir Vivian Richards amassed 1,710 runs at an average of 90 with seven hundreds and five fifties in 1976. His career best score of 291 came in this year, against England at The Oval in August - West Indies won that match by 231 runs. Richards faced 386 deliveries, and hit 38 fours before being bowled by Tony Greig.
Richards scored another double ton - 232 - against England again, at Nottingham in a drawn encounter in June. Further, Richards scored a sparkling 101 from 136 in a fourth-innings chase of 490 against Australia at Adelaide in January. West Indies went down by 190 runs in that match.
Richards had a fruitful series against India at home with scores of 142, 130, 177 and 64. The hosts emerged triumphant in the four-match series 2-1.
#1 Mohammad Yousuf (1,718 runs -- 2006)
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf holds the record for having scored the highest number of runs in Tests in a calendar year. He accumulated 1,718 runs in 2006 at a stupendous average of 99.33, with nine hundreds and three fifties.
Yousuf's highest score in the year, 202, came at Lord’s in July. He led Pakistan’s impressive response after England had posted 528 batting first with centuries from Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell.
Yousuf registered two more centuries in the same series -- 192 at Leeds, and 128 at The Oval (the match awarded to England after Pakistan refused to take field over ball-tampering allegations). England, however, won the series 3-0.
At the start of the year, Yousuf registered scores of 173, 65, 126 and 97 against India at home. The three-match series was won by Pakistan 1-0.
Yousuf also ended the year on a high, with four hundreds in as many Tests against West Indies, also at home. The run machine put up scores of 192, 56, 191, 102 and 124 as Pakistan claimed the three-match series 2-0.