The current decade has been a riveting one for India in Test cricket. The decade started with India steamrolling Bangladesh 2-0 in their own backyard with batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar leading from the front with two centuries. The next year 2011, saw probably one of India’s worst performances in Test cricket as they plummeted to an all-time low. Their visits to England and Australia were catastrophic as they were whitewashed 4-0 on both these tours.
India avenged their loss to Australia when the Kangaroos visited the Indian shores in 2013 by beating the Aussies by a 4-0 margin and then trounced the West Indies in November 2013, in what was Sachin Tendulkar's last Test series for India.
In 2014, India's tour to England was a dismal one, as they lost three consecutive Tests after beating the hosts at Lord's. The subsequent Australian tour too, was a riveting one, as Kohli announced himself in style in the Test arena with four centuries during the tour. In 2015, India thrashed Sri Lanka and South Africa and the next-gen Indian cricketers sent a strong message to the world that the young brigade will take the team to greater heights.
In 2016, India thrashed the West Indies 2-0 in their own backyard, with Ravichandran Ashwin spinning a web around the West Indians. New Zealand toured India and were thrashed 3-0. India closed out the year with yet another emphatic 4-0 win over England in the five-match Test series.
The year 2017 saw a closely fought Test series being played between India and Australia, with both the teams sharing the honours. India closed out the year with a 1-0 victory over Sri Lanka at home. India started 2018 with a tough tour of South Africa, with the hosts winning the series by a 2-1 margin. India then created history by beating Australia 2-1 in their own backyard for the first time in Tests.
India then thrashed South Africa 3-0 at home, and the decade ended with India featuring in their first-ever day-night Test at the iconic Eden Gardens. India thrashed Bangladesh in the Test by an innings and 46 runs, thus stamping their authority as the premier Test side in the world.
This decade also saw the retirements of several Indian batting legends including the likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and the incomparable Sachin Tendulkar.
However, the biggest success story of this decade has been the rise of Virat Kohli as a batsman and as the captain of the Indian team. Kohli has scored runs by the bucketful, and has also transformed India into the most dominant Test side in the world today.
In this article, let us look at five Indian batsmen who have scored the most runs in Tests played in this decade.
#5 Sachin Tendulkar
At No.5 comes perhaps the greatest Indian Test batsman ever, Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster holds almost every major batting record in Tests, including that for the most runs(15921), most hundreds(51) and most fifties(68), just to name a few. Tendulkar played 38 Tests for India in this decade and scored 2951 runs, including 8 hundreds and 14 fifties, at an average of 50.01.
The legendary batsman started the decade by scoring two hundreds against Bangladesh and continued his purple patch by scoring two more hundreds in the Test series against South Africa at home. The Little Master then scored a stunning 203 against Sri Lanka at Colombo, and followed it up with another double century against Australia in the subsequent series. He ended 2010 by notching up his historic 50th Test century against South Africa at Centurion.
Tendulkar scored another classic 146 in the subsequent Test, the 51st and the last of his illustrious career. The iconic batsman could not score another Test century until his retirement two years later. Tendulkar retired from Test cricket in November 2013, after playing an unprecedented 200th Test for India. The legendary batsman scored a fluent 74 in his final innings for his side and walked away into the sunset in front of his adoring home fans in Mumbai.
Record this decade: Innings:64 | Runs:2951 | Average:50.01 | 100s:8 | 50s:14
#4 Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay takes the No.4 spot with 3821 runs in Tests played in this decade. The right-handed opening batsman featured in 59 Tests for India in this decade and scored 3821 runs at an average of 37.83, including 12 hundreds and 14 fifties.
Vijay scored the first Test hundred of his career in the year 2010 against Australia at the Chinnaswamy stadium, paving the way for India to beat Australia by 7 wickets. The right-handed batsman had the most fruitful year of his career in the year 2014, when he scored 852 runs, including 2 hundreds and 5 fifties. Vijay scored a magical 146 at Trent Bridge, enabling India to draw the Test. His second hundred of the year 2014 was against Australia at Brisbane. Vijay scored a valiant 144, propelling Indian to a first innings total of 408. However, the Australians romped home by 4 wickets.
Vijay also scored as many as three Test hundreds in the year 2017. His first century of the year was a classic 107 against Bangladesh. He then followed this up with two back to back hundreds against Sri Lanka at Home. Vijay’s final Test of the decade was in December 2018 against Australia, where he scored a duck and 20 runs.
Record this decade: Innings:102 | Runs:3821 | Average:37.83 | 100s:12 | 50s:14
#3 Ajinkya Rahane
Edging past Vijay and bagging the third place is the current vice-captain of the Indian Test side, Ajinkya Rahane. The Mumbai batsman has featured in 63 Tests for India in this decade and scored 4084 runs at an average of 43.91. Rahane has scored 11 hundreds and 21 fifties in this decade in white flannels.
Rahane scored 3 Test hundreds in 2014, all of them in away Tests. He first scored a fast-paced 118 off just 158 balls against New Zealand at Wellington and the match ended in a draw. His second hundred of the year was at the iconic Lord's, where he scored a fighting 103 in the first innings that enabled India to trump the hosts by 95 runs. He also scored a splendid 147 at the MCG, which helped India to draw the Test.
In the year 2015, Rahane ticked off an important milestone in his career by scoring two hundreds in the same Test against South Africa in Delhi. He scored 127 in the first innings and followed that up with another 100* in the second to help India thrash South Africa by 337 runs. In 2016, the middle-order batsman scored a career-best 188 against New Zealand at Indore, as India pummelled the visitors by 321 runs.
In 2017, Rahane scored a solitary hundred against a hapless Sri Lankan bowling attack at Colombo, as India steamrolled the hosts by an innings and 53 runs. Rahane scored 644 runs in 2018, and has now ended 2019 with 642 runs. His final Test in this decade was the historic pink-ball Test against Bangladesh, and the Indian vice-captain scored a half-century, helping India to trounce Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs.
Record this decade: Innings:105 | Runs:4084 | Average:43.91 | 100s:11 | 50s:21
#2 Cheteshwar Pujara
At No.2 comes Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara has played 75 matches for India this decade in the whites and scored 5740 runs at an average of 49.48, including 18 hundreds and 24 fifties. Pujara has made the No.3 spot in the Indian batting line up his own with some stellar performances this decade.
Pujara scored his first hundred of the decade in the year 2012, courtesy a patient 159, allowing India to thrash New Zealand by an innings and 115 runs. He then notched up his highest Test score in the subsequent series against England when he scored 206* off 389 balls, allowing India to beat the visitors by 9 wickets at Ahmedabad. Pujara scored another hundred at Mumbai, but his effort went in vain as England beat India by 10 wickets.
Pujara scored 829 runs in the year 2013, at an average of 75.36, with a magical 204 against Australia at Hyderabad being the standout performance. The year 2014 was not a successful one for Pujara as he could not notch up even a single hundred and averaged just 24.15 throughout the year. In 2015, Pujara scored a solitary hundred against Sri Lanka at Colombo, helping India to beat the hosts by 117 runs. In 2016, Pujara notched up 3 centuries in three consecutive Test matches at home.
2017 was Pujara’s most fruitful in terms of runs, as he scored 1140 runs, including 4 hundreds and 5 fifties. Pujara scored a flawless 202 against Australia at Ranchi in a drawn Test, and then scored three hundreds, all against Sri Lanka, and each of them resulted in an Indian win.
In 2018, Pujara played a pivotal role by scoring hundreds at both Adelaide and Melbourne, as India scripted history by beating Australia in a Test series for the first time in their own backyard. Pujara’s solitary hundred in the year 2019 came against Australia at Sydney. His 193 allowed India to comfortably draw the Test and enabled them to clinch the series 2-1.
Pujara’s final Test of the decade was the pink ball Test against Bangladesh at Kolkata where he scored 55 runs.
Record this decade: Innings:124 | Runs:5740 | Average:49.48 | 100s:18 | 50s:24
#1 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has emerged as the undisputed monarch of all that he has surveyed in this decade. Hailed as the heir apparent to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli has been pummelling opponents with disdain and has flattened several bowling attacks with ease.
The batting maestro has played 84 Tests for India in this decade and scored a whopping 7202 runs. He averages 57.81 in Tests played in this decade and has raked in the runs at will. Kohli has scored as many as 27 hundreds in this decade in Tests, and no batsman has scored more centuries than the Indian skipper this decade. To add to that, Kohli has scored a staggering 7 double hundreds in Tests played in this decade.
Kohli’s stand out performances in this decade were the twin hundreds he hit in Adelaide against Australia, almost taking India to the finish line, his magical 235 in the sapping Wankhede humidity against England in the year 2016, a whirlwind 243 off just 287 balls against Sri Lanka in Delhi and a career-best 254 against South Africa in the year 2019.
In the year 2018, Kohli overcame his personal demons, erasing the nightmares of the 2014 England tour by scoring a staggering 593 runs when India toured England with Kohli as the skipper, including two hundreds. The batting colossus also scored a splendid 123 runs at Perth in a losing cause when India toured Australia in late 2018.
The last Test match that Kohli played in this decade was the historic day-night Test against Bangladesh. Kohli added another feather to his cap by becoming the first Indian batsman to score a hundred in a day-night Test, when he scored a flawless 136 at the Eden Gardens.
Kohli is just 31 years old and has plenty of cricket left in him. An if he can continue in the same vein, he can rule the coming decade as well.
Record this decade: Innings:141 | Runs:7202 | Average:57.81 | 100s:27 | 50s:22