Team India have been the dominant side in Test matches, having gone through the year unbeaten. They are on top of the ICC World Test championship table by some distance. A lot of Indians thus find themselves in the Test XI of the year. Apart from Indians, Australians also came up with some fabulous performances during the course of the year. New Zealand and England did reasonably well while Pakistan have been disastrous. Here’s a look at Cricket Today’s Test XI of 2019.
Openers: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma
Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma have had a sensational year for India, and they thus make it to the Test XI as well. After a memorable start to his Test career Down Under last year, Agarwal has done even better this year. In eight Tests, he has 754 runs at an average of 68.54 with three hundreds, two of them being double centuries. He scored 215 against South Africa, and registered his best of 243 against Bangladesh.
Rohit, on the other hand, resurrected his Test career as opener, with 556 runs in five Tests at an average of 92.66. He scored twin hundreds on debut as opener against South Africa at Visakhapatnam, and then smashed 212 against the same opponents at Ranchi.
Middle-order: Steve Smith, Virat Kohli (captain), Marnus Labuschagne
Steve Smith made a sensational return to Test cricket, with 774 runs in four Ashes Tests at an average of 110.57. The stupendous run included three centuries, including a double hundred — 211 in the fourth Test at Old Trafford. In seven Tests in 2019, Smith has put together 873 runs at an average of 79.36.
For Indian skipper Virat Kohli, it was business as usual. In 8 Tests, he scored 612 runs at an average of 68.00 with two hundreds and as many fifties. He registered a new career-best — 254 not against South Africa at Pune, and also became the first Indian to hit a century in a Day-Night Test. He is the captain of the Test XI as well.
When Marnus Labuschagne replaced Smith as concussion substitute at Lord’s, little did he know that he would also overtake Smith as the top run-getter of the year. With 1,022 runs from 10 Tests, Labuschagne sits at the top of the leading run-scorers table for 2019. He has notched up three hundred and six fifties. Labuschagne’s last four scores read 185 and 162 (vs Pakistan), and 143 and 50 (vs New Zealand).
All-rounder: Ben Stokes
England’s World Cup hero Ben Stokes had a memorable year in Tests as well. In 10 Tests, he compiled 772 runs at an average of 48.25, with two hundreds and four fifties. One of the tons was the miraculous 135 not out at Headingley, which followed his unbeaten century at Lord’s. With the ball, he chipped in with 20 wickets at an average of 37.90.
Wicket-keeper: BJ Watling
Kiwi BJ Watling will take the wicket-keeper duties. In seven Tests this year, he has 530 runs at an average of 66.25. Watling scored a memorable 205 against England at Mount Maunganui, which was preceded by an unbeaten 105 versus Sri Lanka at Colombo.
Bowlers: Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Lyon, Ishant Sharma
With 54 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 20.61, Pat Cummins is the leading wicket-taker of the year. He finished with incredible match figures of 10 for 62 against Sri Lanka at Brisbane, and has been among the wickets right through the year. He leads the Text XI attack as well.
Indian speedster Mohammed Shami joins Cummins in the pace attack. Shami has 33 wickets in eight Tests at an average of 16.66. His best of 5 for 35 came against South Africa at Visakhapatnam, as he blew the Proteas away. Shami troubled most opponents he played against.
Aussie off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked up 41 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 33.68, with two five-wicket hauls. He claimed 6 for 49 at Birmingham, and 5 for 69 versus Pakistan at Adelaide. He keeps impressing with significant performances under tough circumstances.
Ishant Sharma played six Tests in the year, and claimed 25 wickets at an average of 15.56. He had two five-fors in the year — 5 for 43 against West Indies, and 5 for 22 against Bangladesh.
12th man David Warner/ Mitchell Starc
Despite scores of 154 and 335 not out against Pakistan, David Warner misses out to Indian openers owing to a horror Ashes run, which included three consecutive ducks. Among bowlers, Mitchell Starc was highly impressive with 40 wickets in seven Tests, and narrowly missed out to Ishant and Shami.