Top 10 Test bastmen in 2011: Dravid No 1
Though One-day Internationals have taken the thrill out of Test matches and Twenty20 just pulled the rug from under Test cricket's feet, for the connoisseurs of the game, still, it is Tests that rule. Thus, the year's leading performers in Tests, definitely deserve a standing ovation, as they have not only withstood the threatening bouncers that come with the longest version of the game, but also strived to stay fit and play consistently.
While 2011 certainly belongs to England -- they have the top billing in Tests and, rightfully, lead the charts too -- the cherry on the cake is none other than Rahul Dravid.
Though the battle is not yet over, with India's sojourn to Australia coming up late next month, it is 'The Wall' who is the No. 1 batsmen.
The 38-year-old performed consistently all year round, his highest score of 146 not out coming against England, in the fourth Test at The Oval. Where rest of the Indian batsmen failed, it was only 'The Wall' who withstood a testing time in the away series.
In 10 Test matches, the top-order batsman from Karnataka garnered 952 runs to emerge atop the table, with an average of 59.52. He also notched five centuries and two fifties.
Rajneesh Gupta presents the leading batsmen in Tests this year.
1 R Dravid (India)
Image: Rahul Dravid
Bell surpasses his best
Ian Bell comes a close second, amassing 950 runs in eight Tests with an average of 118.75. The high point of 2011 for him was his 235 -- his maiden double ton -- against India in the fourth Test at The Oval. He recorded his career-best knock in Tests, surpassing the 199 against South Africa at Lord's in July 2008.
Bell made the year memorable for himself, scoring five tons and two half centuries.
He also attained another landmark -- of 5, 000 Test runs, as England won the Oval Test by an innings and eight runs and swept the series 4-0, their first over India in 37 years, since winning 3-0 in 1974.
2 IR Bell (England)
Image: Ian Bell
Cook plays spoilsport for India in England
Alastair Cook is third on the table, with 927 runs to his name at an average of 84.27.
In eight Test matches, Cook scored four centuries and two fifties.
The left-hand opening batsman enjoyed a phenomenal year as he became the sixth highest scorer for England with his 294 against India in the third Test in England.
3 AN Cook (England)
Image: Alastair Cook
Sri Lanka's 'Wall' stands firm
Known as 'Sri Lanka's Wall', Kumar Sangakkara finds himself in fourth spot with 923 runs.
He piled on the runs in nine Test matches, for an average of 54.29.
His highest of the year - 211 - helped Sri Lanka draw the first of three Tests against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. It was a match-saving innings as he went on to compile his eighth Test double hundred.
Sangakkara also has three centuries and four half centuries to his name.
4 KC Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
Image: Kumar Sangakkara
Impressive Bravo gets double ton against India
Darren Bravo's record in Tests this year is quite impressive: 735 runs in nine Tests at an average of 43.23, including two centuries and three half centuries-- the highest by a West Indian in Tests in 2011.
He registered his second Test hundred (195) -- his first against India.
5 DM Bravo (West Indies)
Image: Darren Bravo
KP too 'Lord's' the top performers' list
Kevin Pietersen comes a close sixth, with 731 runs, at an average of 73.10.
His spectacular unbeaten double hundred (202 not out) helped England post a formidable total in the opening Test against India at Lord's.
It was a historic Test -- the 2,000th and 100th between the nations involved -- and Pietersen ensured it will be a memorable one. It was his third double-century in Tests.
In eight Tests, he scored two centuries and four half centuries in the year.
6 KP Pietersen (England)
Image: Kevin Pietersen
Very Very Special Laxman prowls at Eden Gardens
VVS Laxman appears on the top 10 Test performers' list after his formidable 176 not out against the West Indies in the second Test of the ongoing series, in Kolkata.
Eden Gardens continues to be his favourite hunting ground; he got his first Test hundred in 2011 and his fifth at the venue.
He was rightfully named the man-of-the-match for his innings as India took an assailable 2-0 lead in the series.
In 10 Tests, this very special batsman amassed 707 runs, at an average of 47.13.
The 37-year-old scored six half centuries in the year.
7 VVS Laxman (India)
Image: VVS Laxman
Misbah solid and sure
With Pakistan battling the spot-fixing crisis, captain Misbah-ul Haq finds himself at eight spot, with 669 runs in eight Tests, at an average of 74.33.
He led the side with an examplary showing with his highest of 102 not out against the West Indies in May. He also has six half centuries to his name.
8 Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan)
Image: Misbah-ul Haq
Chanderpaul torments India
He is always at his best against India.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2012 runs at an average of 67.06 in 23 Tests) became the fourth batsman to aggregate 2,000 runs or more against India in Test cricket.
The Left-hand batsman scored 118 against India in the first Test at the Ferozshah Kotla.
In eight Tests this year, the 37-year-old has 646 runs under his belt.
9 S Chanderpaul (West Indies)
Image: Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Comeback man Umar powers himself to top-10
Comeback man Taufeeq Umar of Pakistan also finds his name among the top ten Test performers.
The 30-year-old performed magnificently with the bat against Sri Lanka and registered his first double ton (236) in the opening Test and guided his team to a mammoth total of 511 single-handedly.
He is the country's second highest run-maker (637) in the ongoing calendar year after captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
10 Taufeeq Umar (Pakistan)
Image: Taufeeq Umar