Commentary Box Sports’ brand new ‘Daily Top 5’ segment kicks off with Australia’s top five Test run-scorers of the past 10 years, a tumultuous period that has seen them regain their long-held status as the world’s preeminent cricketing nation – and lose it again – on multiple occasions.
AUSTRALIA’S TOP 5 TEST RUNSCORERS – October 20, 2005 to October 20, 2015
5. David Warner – 3,649 runs
The explosive and combative firebrand opener has become entrenched at the top of the order since debuting against New Zealand in late-2011, and was at the forefront as Australia regained Test supremacy over the last two summers. The stocky powerhouse has climbed to No.26 on Australia’s all-time list of Test run-scorers in just 43 Tests, averaging 46.78 at an unsurprisingly brisk strike-rate of 74.39, scoring 12 centuries and 19 fifties along the way.
4. Shane Watson – 3,666 runs
The all-rounder is destined to go down as one of Australia’s great unfulfilled talents, enduring more injury setbacks and form lapses than he did sparkling centuries. But the maligned Watson nevertheless scored 3,731 runs in 59 match at 35.19 after debuting in the ’05 New Years Test. ‘Watto’s’ dreadful conversion rate summed up his career at the crease, scoring 24 half-centuries just four hundreds. In contrast, he hammered nine ODI centuries and 20 tons at first-class level.
3. Ricky Ponting – 5,969 runs
Australia’s greatest ever run-scorer with 13,378 in 168 matches at 51.85 in a career spanning almost 17 years, Ponting still averaged 47 from 2005 until his retirement in 2012 despite a late-career slump. He managed 14 of his 41 centuries during his last 74 Tests – including two double-tons – and was regarded as one of the world’s best for the majority of that period.
2. Michael Hussey – 6,235 runs
‘Mr Cricket’ was 30 when he debuted for Australia, but Hussey made up for lost time by becoming one of his country’s all-time greats in the course of a seven-year, 79-Test career. Dogged or exhilarating, depending on the requirements of the situation, Hussey averaged 51.52 in the Australian middle order, blasting 19 centuries and 29 half-centuries. Rarely less than outstanding for any length of time, he scored three hundreds in his first five Tests and another three in his last six appearances, finishing 12th on Australia’s run-scorers list – with an average inferior to only Bradman, Ponting and Greg Chappell of those above him.
1. Michael Clarke – 7,576 runs
Michael Clarke’s place in the pantheon of Australia’s greatest batsmen will always be accompanied by debate and a metaphorical asterisk, with his feats often overshadowed by criticism of his traits off the pitch by an army of detractors. But his class at the crease and his stats will outlast any memories of such petty evaluations. Fourth on Australia’s all-time list after Ponting, Border and Waugh with 8,643 runs (he debuted in 2004), Clarke notched 26 of his 28 centuries between December 2006 and December 2014, before retiring in August amid a dismal Ashes series in England. ‘Pup’s’ 2012 calendar year shines like a beacon in the annals of Test history, starting with a career-best 329 not out at the SCG and scoring a further three double-centuries in a period of extraordinary achievement after assuming the captaincy from Ponting. Clarke’s batting woes in his final series saw his career average slip just under the magical 50 mark.