It has been an eventful, entertaining year for cricket and its fans. We witnessed some enthralling and brilliant performances by batters and bowlers in Tests throughout the year.
MyTeam11 has studied the stats and considered the finest performances to narrow down the best Test side of 2019, with some honorable mentions as well.
1.) Rory Burns (England)
In 2019: Inngs: 21| Runs: 731| Avg: 34.80| HS: 133
England struggled with a consistent opening batsman for a while after the retirement of Alastair Cook, but it seems England’s opening woes are finally over. Opening the batting in England has never been an easy business, but Rory Burns proved himself as a worthy successor of Cook.
Before the Ashes, cricket pundits were apprehensive about Burns and were not sure if he would survive an Ashes examination. But the opener gave a stern response to his critics with an impressive performance in the Ashes.
He had to contend with a formidable Aussie pace unit but the Englishman still managed to hold his own.
Burns scored 390 runs in the Ashes with an average of nearly 50, The left-hander registered his maiden ton at Edgbaston followed by some well-deserved half-centuries at Lord’s and Old Trafford. Burns was also impressive on the New Zealand tour as he scored his second century and lead the England fightback. All in all, Burn would be pretty satisfied with his performances in 2019.
2.) Mayank Agarwal (India)
In 2019: Inngs: 11| Runs: 754| Avg: 68.54| HS: 243
Mayank was called up as a replacement for the injured Prithvi Shaw during the Australian tour and the youngster didn’t look back since then. He was straightaway into action and scored his maiden fifty in his first innings of the Test.
After a quiet West Indies tour earlier this year, the Karnataka boy roared back in the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh. Mayank Agarwal made the most of the home conditions as the opener scored three centuries in international cricket, two of which were double tons. 2019-20 has been a dream season for Mayank and he will continue to do this in the next season as well.
Honorable mention: Rohit Sharma (India)
3.) Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
In 2019: Inngs: 16| Runs: 1085| Avg: 67.81| HS: 185
Labuschagne was called as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith during the second Test in the Ashes and the rest is history. The flamboyant batsman was up for a fight from ball one as the batsman stroked a gritty fifty to help Australia draw the match. Marnus scored three consecutive centuries against Pakistan and New Zealand and became the third Australian batsman to achieve this milestone after Charles Macartney in 1926 and Don Bradman in 1937-38. He is now the leading run scorer in Tests this year. In total, he scored 1085 runs in 16 innings at an average of 67.81 with three centuries and eight fifties.
Honorable mention: Joe Root (England)
4.) Steve Smith (Australia)
In 2019: Inngs: 12| Runs: 958| Avg: 79.83| HS: 211
The phrases that were used to describe Bradman could equally have applied to Smith last summer. In Tests, there’s Smith and then there’s the rest. This year has been phenomenal for the Aussie batsman. After the ugly ball-tampering scandal, Steve Smith made a stunning comeback into the red ball cricket. Joe Root and his men ran out of ideas when it came to dismissing him during another record-breaking Ashes campaign.
The former Australia captain scored a total of 774 runs in just seven innings and played a key role in Australia’s Ashes triumph. He is the third leading run-scorer in Tests this year with 958 runs in just 12 innings. It includes three centuries and four fifties. One can say, it is a brilliant story of redemption for Steve Smith.
Honorable mention: Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
5.) Virat Kohli (India) (Captain)
In 2019: Inngs: 11| Runs: 612| Avg: 68.00| HS: 254*
Another year that belonged to the ‘King’ Virat Kohli. The master of chase in ODIs was absolutely pre-eminent in the Test format as well. Not only did Kohli score runs consistently, the batting maestro was spot on with his leadership as well. Virat led his side to a series victory down under and completed three series whitewash. His win percentage in Tests is 62.26 this year, the best of any India skipper. All in all, 2019 will remain one of the most cherished years in Virat Kohli’s career as a skipper and as a batsman for sure.
Honorable mention: Ajinkya Rahane (India)
6.) Ben Stokes (England)
In 2019: Inngs: 19| Runs: 772| Avg: 48.25| HS: 135*
2019 was the unearthing of a new Ben Stokes. The all-rounder had a dream run in 2019. The World Cup 2019 hero continued his heroics in the Ashes as well and played one of the best innings in Test cricket history. With Australia one wicket away from retaining the Ashes in England for the first time since 2001, Stokes produced a masterclass that will be remembered for a long time. As England were reduced to 9-286 – still 73 runs adrift of their target – Stokes came into his own. England's talisman thrashed a remarkable 74 runs from 43 balls to secure one of Test cricket's most famous wins.
The Englishman was also awarded with the Sports Personality of the Year trophy. World Cup trophy and a prestigious award, surely the best year for Ben Stokes.
Honorable mention: Travis Head (Australia)
7.) Quinton de Kock (Wicket-Keeper) (South Africa)
In 2019: Inngs: 14| Runs: 679| Avg: 48.5| HS: 129
Although South Africa had a horrendous 2019, the young Quinton de Kock was the only player who was among the runs with the bat. He was the lone warrior in the forgettable series against India. He was good behind the stumps as well. In 14 innings, he scored 679 runs at an average of 48.5. The attacking batsman notched a couple of centuries and four half-centuries for the Proteas and looked much more mature as a player than before.
Honorable mention: BJ Watling
8.) Pat Cummins (Australia)
In 2019: Inngs: 22| Wkts: 55| Avg: 20.3| BBI: 6/23
Pat Cummins had a sensational year in Test cricket. The Australian pacer is the leading wicket taker in Tests this year. Cummins played a pivotal role in Australia’s Ashes retaining. Cummins also showed his worth as an all-rounder this year. He played some crucial knocks during the Ashes with Steve Smith. He is currently the world’s number one bowler in Tests. The sweet year became more sweeter for Cummins as the speedster was bagged by Kolkata in the Indian T20 League auction for a whopping 15.5 Crore.
Honorable mention: Neil Wagner
9) Stuart Broad (England)
In 2019: Inngs: 20| Wkts: 42: Avg: 24.7| BBI: 5/86
The versatile, relentless Englishman had another stunning year. The right-armer is a master of subtle swing and seam movement, who emerged as England’s best bowler in the Ashes. Stuart Broad had David Warner on toast for the whole series. Broad made Warner his scape goat seven times in the series. The Englishman is the second highest-wicket taker in Test this year. While Broad had an enjoyable Ashes, Warner wouldn’t want to remember the series for sure.
Honorable mention: Mitchell Starc
10) Mohammad Shami (India)
In 2019: Inngs: 16| Wkts: 33| Avg: 16.66| BBI: 5/35
The Indian speedster Mohammed Shami had a great 2019 in both ODI’s and Tests. Shami finished the year as the highest wicket-taker in the ODI and Test format of the game for India. Shami alongside Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav wreaked havoc in the opposition camp.
He finished the year with 33 wickets in 16 innings. Shami got the strike rate of 35.3 and leaked runs at an economy rate of 2.85.
Honorable mention: Jasprit Bumrah
11) Nathan Lyon (Australia)
In 2019: Inngs: 22| Wkts: 41| Avg: 33.73| BBI: 6/49
The only spinner who made it to our list. Lyon had an incredible 2019. The off-spinner has become the third highest wicket taker for Australia after Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. In 2019,
Nathan Lyon bagged 41 wickets including a couple of 5-wicket hauls. His best figures in the match was 9/161. Lyon displayed his batting skills with the bat as well and thus, walked easily into our best Test XI of the year.
Honorable mention: Rashid Khan