Babar Azam
World Test Championship

Top five run-scorers in the current World Test Championship

World Test Championship

By Amarnath Devaji

Hit For Six!

With the league stage of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 wrapped up and just the WTC final to come, we look at the highest run-scorers in the current cycle.

The second edition of the ICC World Test Championship has lived up to the top billing with all-time classic matches, bowlers bagging huge hauls and batters piling up a mountain of runs across the cycle.

Nine batters have compiled more than 1000 runs in this WTC cycle from 2021-23 with just the final between Australia and India at the Oval from 7 June still to play, while only six batters reached four figures in the first edition.

The leading scorers in the 2019-21 cycle - Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root and Steve Smith - were back among the runs this time, while they have been joined near the top by a prolific Pakistan star and a pair of rejuvenated rivals.

We look at the leading run-scorers across the current WTC cycle.

1. Joe Root (England) - 1915 runs

For the second World Test Championship cycle in a row, Root has found himself in the top five run-getters. And unless the Australia opener that is next on the list can play an innings (or two) of a lifetime in the WTC final, it is likely that Root will stay on top of the charts with 1915 runs from 22 Tests.

The former England skipper carried his form from the previous cycle into the current one, starting hot with three centuries and a fifty in the first three matches of against India. Unfortunately, Root found little support from others and England fell behind 2-1 in the series before the last match was postponed.

Video cwc19 21 Jul 22
Ponting goes deep on the ‘Bazball’ phenomenon | ICC Review

The next eight Test matches were a nightmare for Root as a captain and he opted to step down, but he still managed to hold his own with the bat during the torrid times.

In the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, Root was the only English batter in the top five run-scorers with 322 runs. In the series against the West Indies, Root scored two centuries but the team fell to a 1-0 series loss.

As the pressure of captaincy was lifted and the new 'Bazball' era began, Root continued to show his worth as a top red-ball batter.

In the first four matches under Ben Stokes' captaincy, Root accumulated three centuries (two against New Zealand and one against India) and a half-century.

Though he could not quite maintain those high standards at the latter end of the tournament, Root had piled on enough runs to pull away from the rest of the players in the run-scoring charts.

2. Usman Khawaja (Australia) - 1608 runs

Khawaja's return to Test cricket has been one of the most inspirational in recent history, making the most of an unlikely recall at The Ashes to become one of the pillars of Australia in their table-topping effort in 16 matches in the WTC cycle.

It was a dream return for the left-hander in the opening slot as he registered twin centuries (137 and 101*) against England in Sydney.

Khawaja's form carried over to Pakistan where he was the highest run-scorer (397 runs in three matches) by some distance with two centuries and as many fifties to his name.

Video cwc19 01 Apr 22
The ICC Review | Watson hails Khawaja as one of Australia’s ‘highest skilled batters’

Though Khawaja didn't notch up big scores in the next few Test matches but the 36-year-old was a solid presence at the top of the  order.

Khawaja did manage to finish the WTC cycle on a high, with a career-best 195* against South Africa followed by two fifties and a hundred on some challenging tracks in India during the Border-Gavaskar series.

3. Babar Azam (Pakistan) - 1527 runs

Though it might have been a forgetful WTC campaign for Pakistan and their skipper, Babar shone brightly for his team and once again showed the world why he is among the best in the business across 14 Tests in the cycle.

Babar had a relatively quiet start by his own standards, scoring just three fifties in the first five Tests of Pakistan's WTC campaign. But just when Pakistan needed him the most, Babar stepped up to play the best knock of his Test career so far.

Set a target of 506 in the final innings on a challenging Karachi track, Babar  took Pakistan from a likely loss to the verge of an impossible victory before eventually settling for a thrilling draw. Walking out to bat after lunch on day 4, Babar's marathon ran until after tea of day 5 before he agonisingly fell short of a double century on 196, the seventh-highest individual score ever in the fourth innings of a Test match.

Video ICC Review 27 Jan 23
Ricky Ponting places Babar in all-time great discussion | ICC Review

Babar rode the momentum of that knock into the next few matches, notching up seven fifties and two hundreds in his next six Tests. Unfortunately for Pakistan, they had only one win to show in the series against Australia, Sri Lanka and England. 

The top-order star put in yet another stunning performance against New Zealand in Karachi on Boxing Day to rescue Pakistan in the first innings. With Sarfaraz Ahmed and Agha Salman keeping him company, Babar's 161 propelled Pakistan from 110/4 to a total of 438.

4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia) - 1509 runs

Labuschagne is the second batter along with Joe Root to hold onto a spot in the top five run-getters list from the last edition of the World Test Championship, with plenty of runs in 19 Tests in the current cycle.

The energetic Australian started the WTC cycle brightly against familiar foes England, finishing as the second-highest run-getter in the Ashes with 335 runs which included a century in Adelaide as well as two fifties. 

After a relatively quiet tour of Pakistan, Labuschagne went on a dream run against Sri Lanka and the West Indies which included a double hundred and three centuries in three matches.

Labuschagne put his name in the history books in the first Test against the West Indies by becoming only the eighth player in Test cricket to register a double hundred and a century (204 and 104*) in the same Test match.

He followed it up with solid outings in the final Test against South Africa on home soil and the Border-Gavaskar series in India soon after.

The 28-year-old rose to the top of the MRF Tyres Test Batting Rankings after the dream double against West Indies and has held on to the spot ever since.

5. Jonny Bairstow (England) - 1285 runs

Bairstow had a bitter-sweet 15-match campaign, with a troubled start to the WTC cycle that saw the middle-order batter dropped from the Test side before he made a storming comeback. Then Bairstow was in the midst of a dream run when it all came to a screeching halt due to a freak injury.

After returning just one score of 50+ against India, Bairstow was dropped from the first three matches of the Ashes. He roared back in the second game after his return, with a brilliant 113 in the final Test in Sydney.

Video cwc19 30 Jun 22
Watson hails England veteran's transformation | The ICC Review

The emergence of 'Bazball' started a tremendous run in Test cricket, with Bairstow fitting in perfectly with the approach Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes brought to the team.

Bairstow notched up five more centuries from there, which included a five-innings run where he scored four centuries and a fifty against New Zealand and India. 

The 33-year-old was in the form of his life when a freak injury while playing golf in Leeds not only cut short his WTC campaign but also forced the power hitter out of the triumphant team at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand

Watch New Zealand and Sri Lanka in 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is with a Black Caps Pass on (in select regions)


More News