Indian captain Virat Kohli had an unforgettable match at Pune against South Africa in the second Test. He scored a quite magnificent 254 not out as India posted a mammoth 601 for 5 declared batting first. The match featured 33 fours and two sixes, as Kohli scored his runs at a quite impressive strike rate of 75.60. India went on to win the Test by an innings and 137 runs, and Kohli was declared man of the match for his superb knock.
Following his innings of 254 not out, Kohli’s Test career average now stands at 55.10. After 81 Tests, Kohli has 7054 runs to his name with 26 hundreds and 22 fifties. If he continues in this vein, Kohli might soon touch the 60 average mark in Test, which would be a massive achievement since very few have reached that high.
In his feature, we take a look at six batsmen with an average over 60 in Tests.
#6. Herbert Sutcliffe
England legend Herbert Sutcliffe is regarded among the greatest batsmen to have played the game. Sutcliffe featured in 54 Tests from 1924 to 1935 and ended up scoring 4,555 runs at an average of 60.73. In an illustrious career, Sutcliffe hit 16 hundreds and 23 fifties with a best of 194. His opening partnership with Sir Jack Hobbs, a great in his own sense, was legendary. The duo totalled 3,249 runs in 38 innings at a sensational average of 87.81
After debuting with 64 against South Africa at Birmingham, Sutcliffe got a hundred in his very next Test, at Lord’s against the same opponent. During the 1925 tour of Australia, he hit 176 and 127 in a Test at Melbourne and then made 143 against the same opponent at the same venue a month later. His Test best of 194 also came against Australia at Sydney in December 1932, a game which England won by 10 wickets.
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#5. George Headley
A West Indies cricket legend, George Headley managed to play only 22 Tests in a career interrupted by the second World War. Even in a Test career that did not last long, Headley did enough to place his name among the greats of world cricket. Headley’s short but successful career saw his scoring 2,190 runs at an average of 60.83, with 10 hundreds and five fifties. He made his debut in 1930 and played his last Test in 1954, but played most of his matches before the war.
Headley scored a century in each innings in his very third Test, when he made 114 and 112 against England at Georgetown in February 1930. He was also the first batsman to score a hundred in each innings at Lord’s, when he made 106 and 107 in June 1939. Headley’s Test best of 270 not out also came against his favourite opponent, England, at Kingston in March 1935.
Headley is widely regarded as the first great batsman from West Indies.
#4. Graeme Pollock
If Headley’s career was interrupted by the World War II, Graeme Pollock had to suffer the consequences of South Africa’s isolation from world cricket owing to their policy of apartheid. In a Test career that lasted from 1963 to 1970, Pollock featured in 23 matches and scored 2,256 runs at an average of 60.97, with 7 hundreds and 11 fifties.
Pollock was only 19 when he posted his first Test hundred in his third match, against Australia at Sydney in January 1964, when he made 122 in South Africa’s first innings. In the very next Test against Australia at Adelaide, he slammed 175. After scoring his first double hundred, 209, also against the Aussies at Cape Town in December 1966, Pollock went on to make that famous 274 against Australia at Durban in February 1970. This was the highest Test score by a South African until Daryll Cullinan scored 275 not out against England in 1999.
Apart from being a cricketing legend, Pollock is the brother of Peter Pollock and uncle of Shaun Pollock.
#3. Adam Voges
Aussie Adam Voges is an aberration of sorts here for he is not a legend in any sense. But, Voges makes it to the list on the back of some sensational performances in a small but enterprising Test career. In 20 Tests from June 2015 to November 2016, Voges scored 1,485 runs at an average of 61.87, with five hundreds and four fifties.
At 35 years and 243 days, Voges became the oldest to hit a century on Test debut. He achieved the feat against West Indies at Roseau in June 2015. After a poor Ashes, in which he managed only two fifties, and that too in his last two innings of the series, Voges smashed his Test best of 269 not out against West Indies at Hobart in December 2015. He made a second double hundred when he hit 239 against New Zealand at Wellington in February 2016.
Despite only managing a highest score of 47 in his last five Tests, Voges still finished his Test career with an average slightly better than Pollock and Headley.
#2. Steve Smith
Whether Steve Smith finishes with an average of above 60 in Test cricket, only time will tell. Statistically though, at present, he is at number two when it comes to highest averages in Test cricket. After 68 Tests, Smith has 6,973 runs to his name at an average of 64.56 with 26 hundreds and 27 fifties. Smith would have played a few more Tests had he not been banned for his involvement in ball-tampering.
Controversy apart, Smith is already a legend of the game. He recently amassed 774 runs in seven innings in Ashes 2019 at a mind-boggling average of 110.57. During the course of the series, he scored one double hundred, two centuries and 3 fifties -- all this in his first Test series since returning from the ban. The performance led to widespread debate over whether Smith is greater than Kohli.
Smith loves facing the Indians as was evident in the 2014/15 series played Down Under where he amassed 769 runs in four Tests at an average of 128.16 with four hundreds and two fifties.
#1. Don Bradman
When it comes to statistics, Sir Donald George Bradman is in a league of his own. Widely considered the greatest batsman ever to grace the game, Bradman plundered 6996 runs in 52 Tests at a now legendary average of 99.94, with 29 hundreds and 13 fifties. He needed only four runs to finish with a perfect Test average of 100 in his final match. Instead, he was bowled second ball by Eric Hollies, and his last innings failure stands testimony to the fact that the Don was, after all, human.
Until that point though, he was like a run machine whose engine just refused to fall off. In 1930, he scored 974 runs in the series against England, with a triple century at Headingley -- his Test best of 334. Bradman’s scores in that series read 8, 131, 254, 1, 334, 14 and 232. With Bradman in the team, Australia lost the Ashes only once, when Douglas Jardine devised Bodyline in 1932-33. The Don still ended up averaging 56.
Bradman also registered double centuries against West Indies, South Africa and India. He was famously unbeaten on 299 as Australia were all out for 513 in the Test against South Africa played at Adelaide from January 29-February 2, 1932. There never was and will never be another like the Don.