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2013 in review: Tests

The past year gave fans enough reasons to feel secure about the future of cricket’s oldest format
With 43 matches having taken place, 2013 was a reasonably busy year as far as Test cricket is concerned. There were continued talks of the format’s future being in jeopardy, and various ideas aimed at ensuring it continues to flourish were mooted, including trials with pink balls and day/night Test matches.
However, the past year gave fans enough reasons to feel secure about the future of cricket’s oldest format. There were historic occasions galore, from India’s 4-0 sweep of Australia at home at the start of the year, to the amazing turnaround the Australians experienced while regaining the coveted Ashes urn at the end of the year. The Wanderers Test between India and South Africa was a match for the ages, containing every element needed to classify it as an all-time classic.
Thanks in part to the back-to-back Ashes series, Australia and England played more than two-thirds of the Test matches in the year, with 14 each. Its loss against India and the 0-3 defeat in the Ashes in England, however, meant that Australia suffered the most defeats in the year, losing seven matches.
South Africa, who is on top of the ICC rankings for Test teams since August 2012, had a very successful year. It won seven matches, the most by any team. In second place on the rankings table and most victories in the year was India, who won six matches.
In total, 44,338 runs were scored from 84695 balls for 1389 wickets lost. The extras column was filled with 605 byes, 908 leg-byes, 268 wides and 244 no-balls. There were also 5051 fours and 330 sixes hit, an average of more than 117 fours and 7 sixes per Test match.  
On the individual front, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Michael Clarke were the men who led the ICC Test Batting Rankings. The bowling chart was headed by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, while Jacques Kallis, who retired at the end of the year, Shakib Al Hasan and R Ashwin topped the ICC Test All-Rounder Rankings. A total of 89 centuries, 193 fifties and 172 ducks were scored.

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