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As an eventful year of Test cricket approaches the end, Michael Clarke rounds up a crew to take on the best of the rest.
David Warner – The Muscle
875 runs at an average of 41.66 and a strike rate of 67.30. 2 100’s, 6 50’s, high score of 124
Smash. Bang. Wallop. Context is everything. When he was punching Joe Root in Birmingham, and having a middling Test series with a pugnacious 71 his only score of note, even his sketchy tour of India was looking rather bright. When he was doing the same to England’s bowlers, it was rather different. Warner reeled off scores of 49, 124, 29, 83*, 60 and 112 as he battered England into submission with a machismo moustache to match the villainy. Powerful and free flowing, he didn’t fail in India, but didn’t make the series defining contributions he should have. Warner will have an important role to play as a trash talking, trend setting, battle axe-wielding southpaw.
Joe Root – The Rookie (VC)
823 runs at an average of 35.78 and a strike rate of 40.84. 2 100’s, 3 50’s, high score of 180
Joe De Vivre. Adept on the front and back foot, comfortable against spin and pace, tall, elegant, serene and only 22 – Joe Root has a bright future ahead of him. The 180 at Lord’s and 100 at Leeds stand out, but Root’s year was not defined by them. A couple of match saving supporting acts in New Zealand were followed by a technically accomplished 71 in a Lord’s dog fight. His best innings though was a down in the trenches 87 in Adelaide.
Promoted to number 3 with England barely holding on, and up against a rampant Mitchell Johnson, Root took everything thrown at him, verbal or otherwise. His job as an opener is to see off the new ball and bat time. His mid-over conversations with David Warner should be interesting too. His elevation to the vice-captaincy is more of a mentoring role, think Danny Ocean and Linus Caldwell.