Gayle, Strauss, Sehwag in contention
The countdown to the ESPNCricinfo Awards begins, with Ashes hundreds from Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Virender Sehwag's thrill-a-ball 293 against Sri Lanka, Chris Gayle's mature and match-saving 165 against Australia and Umar Akmal's hundred on debut making up the final contenders for the Best Test Batting performance of 2009.
The top five were drawn on basis of votes from a 14-member jury that includes some of the leading cricket experts in the world and Cricinfo's senior editors.
Strauss's 161 on day one of the Lord's Test last summer, Trott's century on debut in the Ashes decider at The Oval, Sehwag's 293 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, Gayle's unbeaten 165* against Australia, and Akmal's 129 in Dunedin in his first Test innings edged out major innings from Ramnaresh Sarwan, Phillip Hughes, Daniel Vettori, Gautam Gambhir, Mohammad Yousuf, Fawad Alam, and Rahul Dravid.
A departure from the usual year-end awards looking at overall performances, ESPNCricinfo's honours are in two categories: a jury-based award looking at the year's best batting and bowling performances and a stats-based award using numbers from Cricinfo's extensive database.
The winners for all the awards will be announced on February 19.