With an aim to conquer the final frontier, world No. Test team India are currently on the tour to Australia for the four-match Test series. The visitors started on in an emphatic fashion by winning the first Test of the series in Adelaide, however, they failed to continue the momentum and lost the second Test in Perth. The longest format of the gentlemen’s game is always considered as the real test of skills, ability and character of ever cricketer. Despite the advent of shorters versions of the game, Test cricket still holds enough significance in the hearts of every cricket purist and fans. 2018 was another year where we witnessed some thrilling battles in whites which added to a lot of on-field and off-field drama. It all began in January when top-ranked India were thrashed by the hosts South Africa in the three-match series. After India, the kangaroos toured to the same country and that series saw the darkest side of the gentlemen’s game, ‘The Sandpaper Gate’. That ball-tampering saga pushed the most dominant side towards the isolation in the cricketing world, from banning of former Australia captain Steve Smith, and vice-captain David Warner. The controversy left a huge impact on the Australian cricket, which indirectly resulted in the team’s performance as Australia kept on losing every Test matches they played.
In July, we saw a neck-to-neck competition between world’s best batsman Virat Kohli and the world’s most thrilling bowler Anderson. Though, India lost the series by 1-4 against England and couldn’t able to finish their drought of winning the series on English soil. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s 2-1 sereis victory against Pakistan in UAE, finished their wait of 49 years to win a series against Pakistan as well as delivered the home side just its second Test series loss. Meanwhile, in the ongoing India-Australia series, Australia have finally broke the deadlock by winning their first ever Test after ball-tampering saga.
Keeping in mind some brilliant performances over the year in Test cricket we pick our best Test XI of 2018:
Sri Lanka’s left-handed opener is the highest run-scoring opener of the 2018 calendar, as he has scored 736 runs in 15 innings of 8 Test Matches at an average of 52.57. In the ongoing test series against New Zealand, his 79-run knock and his partnership with Angelo Mathews helped Sri Lanka to end the 1st Test with a draw.
New Zealand opener seems to be in a good form as he recently beat Alastair Cook’s Test record of 244, in the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka. He scored an unbeaten knock of 264. It was the 56th time in Test cricket that an opening batsman has remained not out after 10 wickets have fallen.
Arguably, the Kiwi captain is the best one-down batsman in the world. in the 2018 calendar, he has scored 601 off 10 innings with an average of 66.77, including 2 centuries and 3 half-centuries. In a recently concluded series against Pakistan, his knocks of 89 and 139 in the deciding match helped New Zealand win the Test sereis for the first time after 49 years against Pakistan.
The Indian one-down batsman is compared to the former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid and he is also as ‘The Wall’, his recent knock against Australia helped India to beat Australia in their home after a decade.
The No.1 Test batsman needs no introduction, he has kept on scoring runs in all the countries. And, hitting a century in Tests has become mandatory for him. Out of 22 innings in 12 matches, he has scored 1240 runs, including 5 hundred and 4 fifties in 2018.
The England wicket-keeper batsman has scored 3696 runs out of 6o Test matches he played and in 2018 he has scored 609 runs off 11 matches. He is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the world. He is a game changer who can solidify any team’s, iddle order.
The 20-year-old made his debut for England against Pakistan, earlier this year. He caught attention during the India series as he single handadly change the momentum of the games and troubled the Indians with is both batting and bowling performance. He has scored 404 runs and has grabbed 14 wickets in 7 Test matches he played.
The indian pace bowling line-up is in his commands and he is one of the best pace bowlers India have ever produced. He also made his debut this year and out of 8 Test matches, he has picked 39 wickets.
Arguably, he is the best swing bowler in the world and has picked 43 wickets off 12 Tests in 2018 and he is the most experienced pace baller in the current line-up of England.
After Shane Warne, he is the best spinner Australia have ever produced. The offie is in red-hot form against India, in the ongoing series he has picked 16 wickets and has grabbed two five wicket-hauls in each conceded two matches.
He is a new pace sensation from Pakistan, out of 12 matches of his ongoing Test career, he has picked 61 wickets for Pakistan. His two five-wicket haul in a single match against Australia earned him a lot of praise. Even, Dale steyn, one of the deadliest bowlers in the world also lavishes praise on Abbas. He tweeted, ‘I see a new number 1 Test bowler coming… Mohammad Abbas’.