Most runs as an opener in tests for Australia: Is David Warner the greatest Australian test opener?

David Warner, who retired recently during the Australia vs Pakistan Test series, accumulated 8747 runs as an opener in Test Cricket for Australia.

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Koushik Biswas
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Most runs as an opener in tests for Australia: Is David Warner the greatest Australian test opener?

David Warner scored the most runs as an opener in tests for Australia before retiring against Pakistan in Sydney. Image | Getty Images

Is David Warner the greatest Australian opener in test cricket? Well, there might be some comparisons made with players like Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Mark Taylor and others. However, statistically, no other Australian batter has scored more runs than David Warner at the top of the order in test cricket for their country. As David Warner called it a day after the 3-0 win over Pakistan, we present the 5 batters with most runs as an opener in test cricket for Australia.

Bil Lawry pulling one through the leg side.  Image | The Cricketer International
Bil Lawry pulling one through the leg side. Image | The Cricketer International

William Morris Lawry or Bil Lawry was one of the fierce competitors of the game and hated to lose. Just like he hated losing the matches, he also hated losing his wicket as well. Standing nearly 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a long nose and sharp jaw, Bill Lawry was like a "Corpse with pads on", as described by Ian Wooldridge, an English journalist.

Lawry started his career under Richie Benaud in the 1961 Ashes Tour to England. In a famous game for "The Battle of the Ridge", Lwary stood tall among the Australian batters and scored a resounding 130 out of 237 to announce himself at the big stage in his second test.

Though Lawry was a strokemaker during his younger days, he became an ultra-defensive batter who as described by John Snow,  was "full of caution in a low-key style and unwilling to take the slightest risk."

Lawry was not popular among the crowd. They booed him to the extent that when hit two consecutive boundaries, a spectator exclaimed "lightning does strike twice!"

Bil Lawry played 67 test matches for Australia as an opener and scored 5234 runs on his own terms with an average of 47.15. He also scored 13 hundreds for Australia, batting at the top of the order.

Also Read: Most runs for Australia in international cricket

Micheal Slater was one of the most dashing and stylish openers during the late 1990s.  Image | Getty Images
Micheal Slater was one of the most dashing and stylish openers during the late 1990s. Image | Getty Images

Debuted in 1993 during the Ashes Series in England, Slater established himself in the Australian batting lineup within his first two years in international cricket.

Slater averaged nearly 50 in his first three years of test cricket. He averaged 50.20 in 1993, 50.88 in 1994 and 48.78 in 1995, making him one of the best openers during that time.

Slater has the record for getting out on nineties 9 times in his test career; fourth highest in test history.

However, soon, he was hit by a bad patch and it continued till the 1998 season. Slater then make a comeback into the Australian squad and after a decent 1999 and 2000 season, he played his last test for Australia in 2001.

The right handed opener scored 5312 runs as an opener and averaged 42.83 in the 74 test matches he played for Australia. Slater scored 14 test hundreds for Australia during his time.

"I would travel the other side of the world to watch Michael Slater play," Sir Viv Richards said on Micheal Slater.

Mark Taylor during his record-breaking unbeaten 334 against Pakistan in 1998.  Image | Scroll.in
Mark Taylor during his record-breaking unbeaten 334 against Pakistan in 1998. Image | Scroll.in

Mark Taylor, famously known for his captaincy and retiring out on 334 in Paksitan after equaling Don Bradman's highest test score in an inning, was a terrific scorer at the top of the order.

Taylor debuted in the 1989 home series against West Indies and made his mark on his first Ashes series later that year. He scored 839 Test runs in his first Ashes series and remained a constant at the top of the order since then for the rest of his career.

Mark Taylor has the record of scoring second most runs in a test match (426) against Pakistan in 1998 in Peshawar.

Taylor took over the captaincy from Allan Border in 1994-95 and captained Australia in 50 test matches before calling it a day in 1999. He is the player with third most runs as an opener in tests for Australia with 7525 runs at an average of 43.49 and also scored 19 test centuries for his country.

Also Read: Top 5 Shortest Completed Test Matches in the Cricket History

Matthew Hayden during his record breaking 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003.  Image | Wisden
Matthew Hayden during his record breaking 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. Image | Wisden

A fisherman, a surfer, and a powerful batter at the top of the order; Hayden was all of that. Tall, strong and full of mental and physical power; Hayden was first told he won't be suited for test cricket since he used to play around his front pad, quite often that not.

But, his ability to shrug off any criticism and bat for a long period, helped him become the second most successful Australian opener in the history of test cricket.

Hayden debuted against South Africa in an away series in 1994 and did not get much opportunity till he announced himself in the India tour in 2000-01. Hayden scored 549 runs in that series, an Australian record for a three-Test series.

Post that, Hayden formed a solid partnership with Justin Langer and became of the best openers in both formats of the game (tests and ODIs).

Hayden broke the record for the most runs made by an Aussie batter when the went past Don Bradman and Mark Taylor's record of 334 and scored 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth in 20023; which is also the highest run made by an opener in tests.

Hayden called it a day after consecutive series defeats; first against India and then South Africa in the 2008-09 season. Hayden scored 8625 runs in tests with an average of 50.73 and scored a record 30 test tons during his time.

Also Read: Most International Hundreds as an Opener across all formats

David Warner walking back to the dressing room after his final test against Pakistan.  Image | Getty Images
David Warner walking back to the dressing room after his final test against Pakistan. Image | Getty Images

Keeping aside his controveries, David Warner at the top of the order is a modern day great in any format of the game. After showing his skills at the top of order, David Warner was given the test cap in the 2011 home series against New Zealand when Australia desperately was looking for a opener after the retirement of Hayden and Langer.

Warner made his mark in his debut match, carrying the bat (unbeaten123) in Brisbane, a feat that was never made by either Langer or Hayden. Soon, Warner made himself set at the top of the order for Australia and 2014 and 2015 became one of his most successful years.

In 2014 he scored 1136 runs with 6 tons while in 2015 he scored 1317 runs with 6 tons. In both occasions, Warner scored runs with a strike-rate of more than 80 runs per hundred balls.

Warner scored 8747 runs at the top of the order for Australia in 112 tests with an average of 45.08 and also scored 26 tons which makes him one of the modern day greats. He is the played with most runs as an opener in test for Australia.

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