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NZ Test

Three each from New Zealand, India in ICC Test Team of the Year

2018 awards

India's Virat Kohli, the leading run-scorer in Tests in 2018, was named captain of the ICC Test Team of the Year, which comprised three players from New Zealand and India, and one player each from Sri Lanka, the Windies, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

It won't be an overstatement to say that 2018 was the year in which Test cricket took steps towards inclusiveness and teams took to the format with a refurbished sense of vigour and hunger for success, both of which were evident when Afghanistan and Ireland played their first Tests.

There was also plenty of history created – England won a series in Sri Lanka, New Zealand triumphed in the United Arab Emirates, and India ended a 71-year wait for a series win in Australia (the result was confirmed in early 2019).

Of all 12 Test-playing nations, New Zealand finished with the highest win-loss ratio of 4.00. They are well-represented in the ICC Test Team of the Year. 

Tom Latham (New Zealand)

Latham registered the highest score by a New Zealand batsman carrying his bat
Latham registered the highest score by a New Zealand batsman carrying his bat

It was a year to remember for the New Zealand opening batsman – he accumulated 658 runs (his joint-highest in a calendar year) from seven Tests with two centuries and two half-centuries, including a career-best 264* in the first Test against Sri Lanka in December.

This was also the highest score by a Test batsman while carrying his bat, and the highest individual score by any batsman in Tests in 2018.

But Latham wasn't done, not yet. He followed it up with a magnificent 176 in the second innings of the second Test against Sri Lanka, setting up a record 423-run win and a 1-0 series win.

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)

Karunaratne finished as the top scorer for Sri Lanka in 2018
Karunaratne finished as the top scorer for Sri Lanka in 2018

The Sri Lanka opener scored 743 runs from nine Tests, with a century and seven half-centuries in 17 innings. His average of 46.43 was the best for him in any calendar year since his debut in 2012.

An unbeaten 158 against South Africa on a turning track in Galle contributed immensely to Sri Lanka's first-innings total of 287, and their 278-run victory, and three consecutive half-centuries following that hundred. It helped him win the Player of the Series award as Sri Lanka secured it 2-0.

Three more fifties at home against England and another one against New Zealand in Wellington helped him finish the year as Sri Lanka's top-scorer in Tests.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

Kane Williamson struck a match-winning hundred against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi
Kane Williamson struck a match-winning hundred against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi

The New Zealand captain led the side to a historic 2-1 series win against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, where his knocks of 89 and 139 in the decider in Abu Dhabi helped conjure a miraculous victory after having conceded a first-innings lead of 74 runs.

Williamson's year began with a century, a 102 against England in March 2018, and although he had one half-century in six innings between that century and the Abu Dhabi Test, the year ended on a good note with a 91 in Wellington and a 48 in Christchurch against Sri Lanka.

Virat Kohli (c) (India)

Kohli finished as the top scorer in Tests in 2018 and India's top scorer in Tests against South Africa and England
Kohli finished as the top scorer in Tests in 2018 and India's top scorer in Tests against South Africa and England

Arguably the best active batsman in the game, Virat Kohli finished as the highest scorer in Tests in 2018 with a mind-boggling 1322 runs from 13 Tests at 55.08. It came via five centuries and five half-centuries. Incredibly, this is the third consecutive year since 2016 that Kohli has accumulated more than 1000 runs in a calendar year.

He was the highest scorer in India's Test series against South Africa and England, and scored 200 runs in a Test match twice during the five-Test series in England. India won a Test on each of these tours but lost the series.

The results for Kohli the captain came towards the end of the year when India won a Test series in Australia for the first time in history. Kohli scored a century in Perth, and ensured at least a century on each of these tours.

Henry Nicholls (New Zealand)

Henry Nicholls starred in a match-winning partnership with Williamson in the third Test against Pakistan
Henry Nicholls starred in a match-winning partnership with Williamson in the third Test against Pakistan

There have been many heroes of New Zealand's successful run in Tests, and one of them has been Nicholls, who accumulated 658 runs from seven Tests at 73.11 with three centuries and three half-centuries. 

These runs included a match-winning 126* in Abu Dhabi in the third Test against Pakistan where he, along with Williamson, countered a first-innings deficit to win New Zealand the series.

An unbeaten 162 against Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test helped him end the year on a high after he had begun it on a similar note with a 145* against England in March 2018.

Rishabh Pant (wk, India)

Pant struck a century in his maiden Test series, against England at The Oval
Pant struck a century in his maiden Test series, against England at The Oval

It was a breakout year for the 21-year-old Rishabh Pant. Not only did he make his Test debut and cement his position as India's new first-choice wicket-keeper in the format, his maiden Test ton in a fourth-innings chase at the Oval against England established him as a reliable lower-order batsman.

When India then travelled to Australia late in the year, he scored a century in Sydney (it came just after the turn of the year), and became the only Indian wicket-keeper to score a Test ton in England and Australia.

He scored 537 runs from eight Tests in the year at 38.35, while batting mostly at No.7 – these were more than decent numbers. Pant's flamboyant batting – he likes clearing the ropes and taking on bowlers – established him as a dangerous proposition for any opposition.

Jason Holder (Windies)

Jason Holder was excellent with the bat and ball for the Windies in 2018
Jason Holder was excellent with the bat and ball for the Windies in 2018

Holder, the Test and ODI captain of the Windies, enjoyed a good run at home with the Test side, drawing a three-match series against Sri Lanka 1-1 and sweeping Bangladesh 2-0. In both the series, Holder was adjudged the Player of the Series for his all-round performance.

He scored 336 runs from six Tests with two fifties while batting lower down the order and 33 wickets at 12.39 with four five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul to make him the No.1 choice for the all-rounder's spot in this team.

Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)

Rabada emerged as  the leader of the South African pace attack
Rabada emerged as the leader of the South African pace attack

The 23-year-old South African speedster, and the No.1 ranked bowler on the MRF Tyes ICC Test Rankings, emerged as the leader of the team's pace attack in Dale Steyn's absence and the retirement of Morne Morkel's early in the year.

He claimed 52 wickets from 10 Tests at 20.07, with two five-wicket hauls and a 10-wicket match-haul, and it helped Rabada and South Africa register comprehensive series wins at home over India, the No.1-ranked Test team, and old rivals Australia. They then beat Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test towards the end of the year.

Nathan Lyon (Australia)

Lyon has been hailed as the best spinner in the world by Australia coach Justin Langer
Lyon has been hailed as the best spinner in the world by Australia coach Justin Langer

Australia coach Justin Langer has repeatedly labelled Lyon the best spinner in the world. And Langer has plenty of reasons to justify his claim – Lyon became the fourth-highest Test wicket-taker for Australia in Tests, going past Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson in 2018.

He picked up 49 wickets from 10 Tests including 17 from three Tests against India at home towards the end of the year. Over 21 innings, he went without a wicket only twice.

Jasprit Bumrah (India)

Bumrah picked up 49 wickets from 10 Tests in 2018
Bumrah picked up 49 wickets from 10 Tests in 2018

Quite possibly the find of the year for India in Tests. Jasprit Bumrah turned his debut year in Tests into the one in which he became an all-conditions, all-formats bowler. He took 48 wickets from 10 Tests at 21.02 and played crucial roles in the four away Test wins for India in 2018.

Five-wicket hauls in Johannesburg and Trent Bridge were followed late in the year with another five-for in Melbourne. The victory at the MCG put India on the brink of winning their first-ever Test series on Australian soil, which they duly completed in the first week of 2019.

Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan)

Abbas enjoyed a good home series against Australia last year
Abbas enjoyed a good home series against Australia last year

Another fast bowler who became irreplaceable for his side was Mohammad Abbas, who turned the batting friendly surfaces of the UAE into landmines for batsmen, scalping 17 wickets in the two-Test series against Australia after having picked up 19 wickets in England and Ireland earlier in the year.

Overall, Abbas finished 2018 with 38 wickets from seven Tests at 13.76, with three five-wicket hauls and a 10-wicket match haul.

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