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Most Test runs: Know the cricket star in the longest format

While being a prolific batsman in all forms of cricket is a big achievement, doing it in Test cricket is a lot more rewarding. One needs to be good to score runs consistently in the revered longest format of the game, but one must be great to end among their career the top 10 run-scorers in red-ball cricket. Sachin Tendulkar has the most Test runs in the history of the format

Let’s find out which other batsmen constitute the list of top 10.

Most Test Runs: Top 10 batsmen

Name NationalityInningsRuns
Sachin TendulkarIndia32915921
Ricky PontingAustralia 28713378
Jacques KallisSouth Africa 28013289
Rahul Dravid India28613288
Alastair CookEngland29112472
Kumar SangakkaraSri Lanka 23312400
Brian LaraWest Indies23211953
S Chanderpaul West Indies 28011867
M Jayawardene Sri Lanka25211814
Allan Border Australia26511174

Sachin Tendulkar | 15,921 runs in Test cricket

The first name on the elite list is former India captain Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar is the leading run-scorer in Test cricket with 15921 runs from 329 innings at an average of 53.78. The Master Blaster scored 51 Test centuries, the most by any batsman in the history of the format, and 68 half-centuries. Additionally, he also scored two double centuries. The unbeaten 119 against England in 1990, the 155 vs Australia in 1998, 169 against South Africa in 1997 and 241 vs Australia in 2004 are some of Tendulkar’s greatest Test knocks. The Master Blaster played his 200th and last Test in 2013.

Ricky Ponting | 13,378 runs in Test cricket

The second-highest run-scorer in the history of Test cricket is former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting scored 13378 runs in 287 innings at an average of 51.85. This includes 41 centuries and 62 fifties. Among 41 centuries, he has scored 6 double centuries, with his highest score being 257, scored against India in 2003 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 15 of Ponting’s Test centuries came outside Australia, and he was also the second-fastest to 12000 runs and third fastest to 13000 runs. Among several of his incredible Test innings, a few that stand out are – 197 against Pakistan in 1999, 140* against India in 2003, 196 against England in 2006 and 164 against South Africa in 2006.

Jacques Kallis | 13,289 Test runs

The third name on the list is Jacques Kallis, who played international cricket for South Africa from 1995 to 2013. In 280 innings, Kallis plundered 13289 runs at an average of 55.37, which is better than the batting average of Tendulkar and Ponting. The all-rounder scored 45 centuries and 58 fifties in the longest format. In 2003-04, Kallis scored centuries in five consecutive Tests, a record bettered only by Don Bradman, who did the same in six successive Tests. In his last Test innings in international cricket before retirement, Kallis scored 115 against India in Durban. With the ball, he dismissed 292 batsmen in 272 innings.

Rahul Dravid | 13,288 Test runs

Rahul Dravid is the fourth-highest run-scorer in Test cricket history. Currently serving as the head coach of the Indian Cricket Team, Dravid, nicknamed ‘The Wall’ India’s best-ever number three batsman, amassed 13288 runs in 286 innings at an average of 52.31. This includes 36 centuries and 63 fifties. He is the first batsman to have scored centuries in all 10 Test cricket playing countries – India, England, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Dravid sits third on the list of Test run-scorers with – 10524 runs in 219 Test innings at an average of 52.88.

Alastair Cook | 12,472 runs in Test cricket

England’s Alastair Cook, who made his Test debut in 2006, is the fifth most runs in Test cricket. Cook scored 12472 runs in 291 innings at an average of 43.35, including 33 tons and 57 fifties. He became the youngest English player to score 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 6000 Test runs and the youngest player in the world to reach 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000, 10000, 11000 and 12000 Test runs. It can be noted that Cook is the highest run-scorer in Test cricket among left-handers and also among opening batsmen. He scored 11,698 runs as an opening batsman. Former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar has the second-most runs in Tests for an opener with 9,607 runs.

Kumar Sangakkara | 12,400 Test runs

Next after Cook on the list is former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, who represented his country in 134 Test matches from 2000 to 2015. The wicketkeeper batsman was a batting genius at no. 3 – Sangakkara has scored 11,679 runs at No.3 in his Test career, the most by any batsman at that position. Behind him are Rahul Dravid (10,524) and Ricky Ponting (9,904). Additionally, the southpaw also has the most centuries (37) at No. 3. Sangakkara is the only player after Virender Sehwag to score a triple-century with a six. He hit 4, 6, 6 in successive balls off Shakib Al Hasan to register his first and only triple ton.

Brian Lara | 11,953 Test runs

The former West Indies batting legend is the seventh-highest run-scorer in Test cricket history. Lara, who played 131 games in his Test career from 1990 to 2006, scored 11953 runs in 232 innings at an average of 52.88, including 34 centuries and 48 fifties. In April 2004, Lara registered the highest-ever individual score in the history of Test cricket which is yet to be surpassed. He scored an unbeaten 400 against England in the second Test which was laced with 43 fours and four sixes. On the back of Lara’s marathon innings, West Indies went on to post 751/7 in the first innings.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul | 11,867 runs in Test cricket

Another West Indies batsman on the list is Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who played 164 Tests from 1994 to 2015. The southpaw scored 11867 runs in 280 innings at an average of 51.37, which includes 30 centuries and 66 fifties. The 11,867 Test runs are just 87 runs Brian Lara’s total tally. Chanderpaul is the first West Indian captain to score a century on his first Test match as captain, while his unbeaten 239 is the second-highest score by any debutant captain in Test history. After Lara’s retirement, Chanderpaul was often the lone warrior for the West Indies Test team.

Mahela Jayawardene | 11,814 runs in Test cricket

The ninth-most runs in the history of Test cricket have been scored by Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene, who retired in 2014 after playing 149 Tests. The right-hand batsman scored 11814 runs in 252 innings at an average of 49.84, which includes 34 centuries and 50 fifties.  He holds the record for the highest Test score by a Sri Lankan – 374 against South Africa in 2006. Together with Sangakkara, he forged a 624-run partnership, which helped Sri Lanka finish with 756/5 declared and eventually win by an innings and 153 runs.

Allan Border | 11,174 Test runs

The tenth and last name on the list is of Australia batting legend Allan Border. The left-hander, who played Test cricket from 1978 to 1994, scored 11174 runs in 265 innings at an average of 50.56. This includes 27 centuries and 63 fifties. Border, who played the most consecutive Tests as the captain of any team (93), and second-most consecutive Test matches for any team (153), also picked up 39 wickets in the format. He played his last Test against South Africa at the age of 41.

FAQs

Which batsman has scored the most Test runs in a calendar year?

Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf. He scored 1788 runs at an average of 99.33 in 2006.

Who has the most Test runs for India?

Sachin Tendulkar. He scored 15921 runs at an average of 53.78.

Who has scored the most Test runs in 2021?

England’s Joe Root scored the most Test runs in 2021 – 1708 runs 29 innings at an average of 61.

Who has scored the most Test runs for England?

Alastair Cook. He scored 12472 runs at an average of 45.35.

Who has scored the most Test runs for India in 2021?

Rohit Sharma. He scored 906 runs in 2021 at an average of 47.68.

Also read: Who is RCB Captain for IPL 2022? – A Brief History

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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