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Top 10 Leading run-scorers in Tests in 2016

Steve Smith of Australia
Steve Smith of Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The leading run-scorers stat in the Test format for 2016 has seen major changes with the emergence of new achievers to the list. Comparing the 2015 season with just concluded 2016 season, we can notice drastic changes. For the record only, three batsmen from the previous list have managed to maintain their superiority while seven others, all highly talented individuals occupy various spots in the list.

Technically, England’s future leader Joe Root happens to be the only batsman who actually rose from the 2nd spot in 2015 to end the year as the highest run-getter of the year, leapfrogging the likes of Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steven Smith by a huge margin. The surprise entrants in the list have proved to the game changers for their team. Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali happen to be the biggest example of it. Pakistan’s Azhar Ali also is one of them.

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To summarize, the rising names, the one marked as the future of the Test format continued their dominance while others transformed them from just being promising players to achieve something noteworthy.

10. Kane Williamson – 753 runs:

New Zealand
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson (L) and Tom Latham during day four.(Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Kane Williamson played the limited number of Tests this year. To be fair it was a silent year for him. But, he wasn’t disappointing, he failed to create the same impact which he made last year. He ends the year with 753 runs in 10 Tests at a decent average of 47.03 with the help of 6 fifties and one century.

New Zealand was out of their home a lot this season and challenging times met him in India where his team was drubbed 4-0. However, he accumulated a good amount of runs against Australia in the homes series and against Zimbabwe in the two-Test series in the African nation. In all, it was a mediocre 2016 for him, at least going by the high standards he has set for himself.

9. Cheteshwar Pujara – 836 runs:

Cheteshwar Pujara India
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Cheteshwar Pujara, arguably the only Test specialist in Team India at the moment, had a productive year thus far. Apart from the tour of West Indies, he did not have a single series where he failed in particular. He accumulated runs in each series he participated and cemented his position as the new wall of the Indian Test team.

He began the year on a slow note, managing just 62-run during the West Indies tour. However, as soon as Indian began its long home season, Pujara was back in for and plundered runs in heaps. Beginning with New Zealand and ending with England, the right-hander made 836 runs at 55.73 with 3 centuries and 4 half centuries.

8. Ben Stokes – 904 runs:

(Photo Source: BCCI)
(Photo Source: BCCI)

Ben Stokes is easily England’s most valuable player at the moment. The mercurial all-rounder has a habit of troubling the opposition with is unfriendly behaviours sometimes. And, to add more frustration in the minds of the competitor, Stokes accumulated crucial runs and played sturdy knocks in the middle order.

He flourished under pressure. Whenever the opposition triggered a top-order collapse and thought that they had gotten better of the England batting order, Stokes along with his mate Jonny Bairstow would walk in and put them back in the driver’s seat. Statistically speaking, Stokes’ superb form saw him amass 904 runs in 12 Tests with the help of 2 tons and 3 fifties. He scored all these runs at an average of 45.20.

7. Steve Smith – 914 runs:

Steve Smith of Australia walks from the ground at stumps
Steve Smith of Australia walks from the ground at stumps on 110 not out during day one. (Photo by Ryan Pierse – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Steve Smith, the apex run getter in 2015, saw a slump this year. He faced a tough tour of Sri Lanka and unsuccessful homes series against South Africa can easily be called as his greatest low as captain. This brought him a lot of scrutiny but as far as performing with the bat was concerned, Smith did not disappoint despite plunging to 7th position from the being at the top last year. He played 11 Tests to score 914 runs at an average of 60.93 compiled with three hundreds and five half centuries.

The year began on a bright note for him as he smashed a fifty and century to start off the year 2016. Later, after struggling a bit he came up with another satisfying knock, a 138 against New Zealand at Christchurch. He did not fail to perform against Sri Lanka in their own backyard as well and played supportive knocks against South Africa in the miserable home series. But, despite all the ups and down, he ended the year on a high smashing 130 in the first Test against Pakistan at Gabba in Brisbane.

6. Azhar Ali – 950 runs:

Azhar Ali
Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali plays a shot on the third day. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Azhar Ali is the only Asian cricketer apart from Virat Kohli in the list. The reason why emphasis was put on the term Asian was because the same list had three Asians in the top ten. To be fair, Ali wasn’t consistent and performed in patches. But, the amazing part with him is whenever he scores, he made huge scores which helped in aggregating the amount of runs he managed by the end of the year. His most striking performances was the record breaking 302* against West Indies in Pakistan’s inaugural day-night fixture. In all, He scored 950 runs in 10 Tests while averaging around 52.

5. Moeen Ali – 1078 runs:

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Moeen Ali, easily England’s most versatile batsman, flourished with his performances. He solidified his reputation as one of England’s most reliable cricketers with noteworthy performances with the bat as well as a bowler. The left-hander was open to bat at different places in the batting order starting from batted in the top order to as low as No.7 below Bairstow and Stokes. Whatever, the situated demanded he acted accordingly.

In all, his terrific run with the bat saw him gather 1078 runs in 17 Tests at an average of 46.66 pulled together with the help of four centuries and five half centuries. Apart from the figures, the most appreciable aspect of his run getting spree was the reliability factor. Along with Bairstow and Ben Stokes, he formed a trinity in the lower order, rescuing the team on multiple occasions.

4. Virat Kohli – 1215 runs:

Virat Kohli India News
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Indian skipper Virat Kohli had a golden year overall. 2016 will forever be remembered as Virat Kohli’s year just like the Sachin Tendulkar is always remembered for his destruction in 1999. Kohli emerged as a vastly improved player and raised the overall batting standards to greater heights not only in the Test format but in limited overs cricket as well.

He was outstanding in all three formats. The Indian Test skipper amassed 1215 runs at a staggering average of 75.93, the best among any batsman who has played 8 or more Tests this year. His lust for run making also saw him register three double centuries this year apart from two fifties. In fact, all his triple figure score, four to be precise, were 150 plus totals. Virat truly ruled the batting charts this year.

3. Alastair Cook – 1270 runs:

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook of England celebrates scoring a century. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)

The England Test skipper might be facing the heat for his captaincy tactics from the experts and critics but his personal performances with the bat have not experienced any downtime due to the pressure which has surrounded him lately.

The opener, apart from the failures in Bangladesh and India late this year had a terrific season. The home season against Sri Lanka and Pakistan highlight the kind of form Cook carried this year. In all, the left-hander accumulated 1270 runs in 17 Tests at an average of 42.33 with the help of 2 centuries and 7 fifties. 2016 also saw him join the 10,000 and 11,000 club and become the highest run scorer for England.

2. Jonny Bairstow – 1470 runs:

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. (Photo Source: BCCI)

If we talk about the most surprising name to have broken into this list, it surely has to be Jonny Bairstow. Not intending to underrate his batting capabilities, but Bairstow was truly in phenomenal form and was a huge impact-maker for the ‘Three Lions’.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who generally bats in the middle order provided great strength of the team. England thrived on his sensational new habit of rescuing the team from tricky situations batting lower down the order. He promptly indicated the fabulous year which he was going to have ahead with an unbeaten 150* against South Africa at Cape Town.

Playing against Sri Lanka later, Bairstow smashed two more centuries at Leeds and Chester le Street to prove his dominance and competing with his more famed teammate Joe Root for the top spot in the highest run-scorers list. He proved vital with the bat during the year-end tours of Bangladesh and India where he made many pivotal contributions. Overall in the year after batting in 17 matches he scored 1470 runs at 58.80.

1. Joe Root – 1477 runs:

England Joe Root
Joe Root of England raises his bat and celebrates scoring a half century. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)

Joe Root ends officially as the best batsman of the year. There is no doubt about the fact and very few can argue about it. The Yorkshire man may sit below Steven Smith and Virat Kohli in the Test ranking but he has proved his worth by being among the top two run-getters in a calendar year in successive years.

As far as challenges are concerned, Root has had enough of them and on most occasions, he managed to overcome them. Beginning the year with a half-century and century against South Africa in their own backyard and played the role of catalyst in the drawn series which ended with a 1-1 scoreline.

He continued his exploits and smashed his career-best 254* against Pakistan at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’ Lord’s. To top off his superior form, Root amassed 491 runs to end with 1477 runs in 17 matches at an average of close to 50 to leap ahead of Kohli, Bairstow and become the highest run-getter of 2016.

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