Test batting nominees January 10, 2013

The Kevin and Hashim Show

One man looms large over the Test batting shortlist, which also features two triple-hundreds, and plenty of battles against spin
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Michael Clarke
329 not out v India

second Test, Sydney
In the first week of 2012, Clarke was still, by own admission, a man looking to earn the respect of his country. Three days into the SCG Test, with a mammoth 329 not out, full of fluency and resolve, he first his got side out of trouble (37 for 3) put them in the lead, and then streaked away from India to invite the possibility of an innings victory. As his score grew and grew, surpassing milestones this way and that, Clarke's eyes were less on the record books than on the scorecard and the Members Pavilion clock. He wanted as much time as his team could get to try to bowl India out on a surface that had been anaesthetised of the life it had early on day one. As it turned out, with the innings victory wrapped up on day four, Clarke may as well have batted on for the records, but as the rest of the year showed, he is not one man to regret missing them.

Hashim Amla
311 not out v England

first Test, The Oval
"To score runs like that you need attitude, you need good technique, you need knowledge and you need spot-on concentration," said Graham Gooch, the batting coach of Hashim Amla's opposition at The Oval. For more than 13 hours and the equivalent of about 88 overs faced by him alone, Amla showed all that and then some. He starred in two back-to-back partnerships of over 200 runs, became the first South African to score a triple-century, and batted England out of the contest for the Test No. 1 ranking.

Hashim Amla
196 v Australia

third Test, Perth
Another contest for No. 1 and another gem from Hashim Amla. In a Test that had featured two team innings of 225 and 163, Amla produced an audacious counterattacking 196 off just 221 balls, knocking the wind out of Australia. He often toyed with the bowling and field placings by moving across the crease with impunity to flick to the leg side or drive handsomely through the off. He gave South Africa enough time to bowl Australia out and to become the first team since West Indies in the early '90s to beat Australia in consecutive series in Australia.

Kevin Pietersen
186 v India

second Test, Mumbai
On a pitch offering substantial assistance to the spinners and on which other batsmen struggled for fluency, Pietersen created the illusion that he was operating on a batting paradise. Only when others, some of whom are considered experts in such conditions, prodded and struggled was the true nature of the wicket exposed. This was also an innings that came after England had conceded 327 - which seemed 50 too many on that pitch - in a Test that could have been England's sixth loss in seven Tests in Asia. Also, Pietersen was coming back from his controversial exile from the England team, and had in the previous Test got out to ridiculous shots to left-arm spin.

Mahela Jayawardene
180 v England

first Test, Galle
To understand the significance of this knock, look no further than the next best score in the innings: 27. Jayawardene was at the crease in the third over, after James Anderson struck twice in two balls, and he was the last man out, after Sri Lanka had posted 318 on a difficult pitch. With his patience, shot selection, concentration and technique, he provided the perfect example for his team-mates to follow. What stood out was the counter-attack amid falling wickets. Three times he came down the wicket to thump sixes over long-on - once off Anderson and twice off Graeme Swann - though generally he was content to waiting for the poor ball, which he put away with clinical precision.

Azhar Ali
157 v England

third Test, Dubai
This was an innings Pakistan needed after having been bowled out for 99 in the first dig. They went on to lose two second-innings wickets before drawing level, but Azhar Ali then laboured for nearly nine hours over his highest first-class score, facing 442 balls - more than any England batsman had faced in the entire series until then - and striking only ten of them to the boundary and one of them over it. While Younis Khan, timing the ball with a grace given to few, rose above the sluggish surface, every other batsman had to slave over every run. Azhar showed that with a decent technique, patience and discipline, runs could be scored in great quantity. It was an immensely valuable contribution to the Pakistan cause.

Kevin Pietersen
151 v Sri Lanka

second Test, P Sara Oval
England had lost four straight Tests in Asia and were running out of time in the fifth with the No. 1 ranking slipping out of their grip when Kevin Pietersen produced an innings of bravado, genius and theatre. His 151 came from 165 balls with 16 fours and six sixes, and was a flamboyant contradiction of the attritional cricket that had gone before. As he struck 88 runs between lunch and tea to transform the game, he batted pretty much as he pleased. On a dead pitch that experts galore had agreed made strokeplay almost impossible, Pietersen batted as if such limitations were intended for lesser men, banishing the memories of a demoralising winter. England went on to win, the No. 1 ranking was retained, and the foundation had been laid for future success in Asia.

Kevin Pietersen
149 v South Africa

second Test, Headingley
All sorts of things were going on with Pietersen off the field when he pulled out this bundle of brashness and brilliance. It was not so much the number of runs he scored - impressive though that was - as the manner in which he scored them. In circumstances where his colleagues prodded and poked, Pietersen thrashed high-quality bowling around the ground as if practising against a village team. Even a bowler as skilled as Dale Steyn was pummelled. As Allan Donald, South Africa's bowling coach and one of Pietersen's childhood heroes, said afterwards: "It reminded me of when I ran into Brian Lara. It was in the category of a genius."

Ross Taylor
142 v Sri Lanka

second Test, P Sara Oval
Before the start of the series Taylor had been told by his coach that he was no good as Test captain. He had then led his side in a defeat in Galle, and nobody would have shed tears for him had New Zealand been blanked by Sri Lanka. The captain had other ideas. It is often said of batsmen who defy difficult conditions that they appear to be playing on a different pitch from their peers, but the temperament and tone of Taylor's partnership with Kane Williamson made it seem like New Zealand were batting in a different universe from their incompetence in Galle. Taylor had spoken of being positive against spin bowling ahead of the series - a feat he achieved in this match, yet he hit no fours off the spinners, not even off part-timer Tillakaratne Dilshan. It is a statistic that spoke of the will of a man who wished to make a break from a bleak past.

Alastair Cook
176 v India

first Test, Ahmedabad
It was widely believed that the rest of the England side would need a special innings from Kevin Pietersen to assure them that spin in India is not unplayable, but it was Cook who showed them the way this time. England needed all the showing they could get after they had been bowled out for 191 on a flat, low and slow pitch. Cook scored his third century in as many Tests as captain - an amazing display of patience, concentration and stamina that lasted 556 minutes. England lost the Test by nine wickets but now knew there were no monster spinners in India. They went on to win the series and Cook capped it off with centuries in the next two Tests.

Faf du Plessis
110 not out v Australia

second Test, Adelaide
Until Adelaide happened, du Plessis was just a T20 star who couldn't even find a place in the South African T20I side. Until Adelaide happened, he was just an AB de Villiers clone. Until Adelaide happened, South Africa were an uncertain No. 1 in Tests, having conceded 482 runs on the first day of this Test. After Adelaide happened, du Plessis was a bonafide Test star. In the second innings, to fight out a draw that would keep South Africa alive, he played 376 balls - each almost worth a figurative run - batted for close to eight hours, and helped South Africa escape with two wickets standing. After Adelaide happened, the opposition bowlers were so exhausted that two of them didn't recover in time for the next, series-deciding, Test, which South Africa won.

Kane Williamson
102 not out v South Africa

third Test, Wellington
Hampered by the loss of Ross Taylor, New Zealand had only nine wickets to play with for a draw on the final day at the Basin Reserve. Conceding just 23 runs, Morne Morkel reduced nine to three. One of those three was Kane Williamson, who held New Zealand together after they had fallen to such scores as 1 for 2, 32 for 3 and 83 for 5. Not having to contend with hooping outswing or biting turn, Williamson tuned his mind solely to blunting South Africa's favourite weapon in the Test: bounce. Picking the lifters early, he ducked everything South Africa pitched in their own half. If the balls were fuller - just short of a length - he'd climb on tip-toe, elbows always high, and punch it down into the off side. Yorkers came into vogue later in the day, but having seen Morkel unleash hell with those at the other end, Williamson was prepared, digging them out dutifully, turning down runs into the outfield to keep himself on strike.

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Pick your favourite performance here

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on January 10, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    My criteria are strength of opposition, where the game was played and what contribution the innings made to winning the match or series. Then comes the nature of the innings itself- fluency and attractiveness of strokeplay. Based on those factors, the best innings for me was Amla's 311* against England. It was away from home, England were #1 test team at the time, it set SA up to win both the match and the series and it was a lovely innings to watch, as all Amla's are.

    I think Clarke was undoubtedly batsman of the year, but I'd actually put his two double centuries against SA ahead of his 329*. That was a brilliant innings, but it was against a rather weak bowling side at home and India was no match for Australia.

    KP's innings were all great, Mahela's 180 was outstanding and Faf's 110* probably had the biggest single innings impact on any series, but it wasn't a pretty innings to watch.

  • Trickstar on January 10, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    I've thought about this for a bit and I have a hard time separating KP's two against SA and India, both ridiculous in their own right. The way he attacked the SA's bowlers is something i haven't seen since Viv and was a sight to behold. Most KP fans will probably pick the one in India, just for the fact it was foreign soil on a absolute bunsen. Again I can't remember the last time someone has attacked the bowlers so ferociously on such a turning tricky pitch and also a chance-less innings.

    Aussies will no doubt moan that Clarke's 2 knocks against SA weren't picked and with good reason, both were awesome innings. Maybe the reason they weren't picked is that there was a fair number of centuries scored by both sides in both test matches, 5 tons in each test match and the 1st test pitch was pancake flat. I actually think his second test 230 was his best of the year, even better than the one against India who's bowling attack abroad is pretty poor tbf,

  • RandyOZ on January 13, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    @landl47 - Amlas 311? I thought you said you criteria was strength of opposition?

  • on January 12, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    tino best's 90 odd vs the then #1 1 side on their home turf. it dont get much better than a tailender battering the #1 team on their home turf

  • shrey123 on January 12, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    My only criteria is the circumstances in which the knock was played.So for me it had to be Faf's knock of110, Ross' knock of142 or Virat's knock of 109. Virat didn't make the cut and Faf wasn't exactly fluent. So my vote goes to........... Roos Taylor

  • THE_MIZ on January 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    @Soso_killer, I agree with what you say, and we have to remember that in Amla's 194, he actually went at 7,5 an over up until his hundred! Only after that did he slow down to consolidate the position of dominance. In terms of importance, that certainly was the Knockout punch of the Year by crushing any OZ hopes of No.1 ranking. A brutal innings that oozed class.

  • on January 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    Both Kevin and Hashim from KwaZulu,, they must be getting something right.

  • Soso_killer on January 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    It also has to be taken into context that Amla's mammoth scores came away from home in different conditions. And had a significant impact in all matches.

    The fact that Faf's 110 of 378 balls innings was man of the match instead of Clarke's 230 sums Michael Clarke's innings for me.

    When the pitch was juicy Clarke was nowhere to be found in final test. Guess what Amla did? He made 194 at almost a run a ball and SA won by 300+ runs.

    KP's innings in Headingly comes 3rd (after Amla's 311*, 194), to those that say KP' innings was "chanceless" i'm sorry to burst your bubble but he was dropped by Amla at short leg in his 20's, Smith also did not review a plumb LBW against Clarke in his 40's and he went on to make 230.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "CHANCELESS" INNINGS.

  • Romanticstud on January 11, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    If you take all these key milestones and put them into an analyzer ... You will find that Hashim's 311 would rate up there as it was against the previous No.1 side in the world ... Another good performance was Faf's 110 when Australia could've changed the course of the series ... KP's counter attack was really England's only real attempt to salvage the series ... My prize has to go for the record breaking Amla ... it was also South Africa's first 300+ score ... Pity History took out Pollock(Greame) and Richards(Barry) ...

  • Soso_killer on January 11, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Amla played more significant innings than any other player in 2012, with all due respect to Clarke he scored meaningless runs on flat pancakes. Apart for the 329* that was the only big innings that yielded results (albeit against a poor bowling attack).

    As for Amla 311, 194 and 120 @lords all yielded positive results.

  • landl47 on January 10, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    My criteria are strength of opposition, where the game was played and what contribution the innings made to winning the match or series. Then comes the nature of the innings itself- fluency and attractiveness of strokeplay. Based on those factors, the best innings for me was Amla's 311* against England. It was away from home, England were #1 test team at the time, it set SA up to win both the match and the series and it was a lovely innings to watch, as all Amla's are.

    I think Clarke was undoubtedly batsman of the year, but I'd actually put his two double centuries against SA ahead of his 329*. That was a brilliant innings, but it was against a rather weak bowling side at home and India was no match for Australia.

    KP's innings were all great, Mahela's 180 was outstanding and Faf's 110* probably had the biggest single innings impact on any series, but it wasn't a pretty innings to watch.

  • Trickstar on January 10, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    I've thought about this for a bit and I have a hard time separating KP's two against SA and India, both ridiculous in their own right. The way he attacked the SA's bowlers is something i haven't seen since Viv and was a sight to behold. Most KP fans will probably pick the one in India, just for the fact it was foreign soil on a absolute bunsen. Again I can't remember the last time someone has attacked the bowlers so ferociously on such a turning tricky pitch and also a chance-less innings.

    Aussies will no doubt moan that Clarke's 2 knocks against SA weren't picked and with good reason, both were awesome innings. Maybe the reason they weren't picked is that there was a fair number of centuries scored by both sides in both test matches, 5 tons in each test match and the 1st test pitch was pancake flat. I actually think his second test 230 was his best of the year, even better than the one against India who's bowling attack abroad is pretty poor tbf,

  • RandyOZ on January 13, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    @landl47 - Amlas 311? I thought you said you criteria was strength of opposition?

  • on January 12, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    tino best's 90 odd vs the then #1 1 side on their home turf. it dont get much better than a tailender battering the #1 team on their home turf

  • shrey123 on January 12, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    My only criteria is the circumstances in which the knock was played.So for me it had to be Faf's knock of110, Ross' knock of142 or Virat's knock of 109. Virat didn't make the cut and Faf wasn't exactly fluent. So my vote goes to........... Roos Taylor

  • THE_MIZ on January 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    @Soso_killer, I agree with what you say, and we have to remember that in Amla's 194, he actually went at 7,5 an over up until his hundred! Only after that did he slow down to consolidate the position of dominance. In terms of importance, that certainly was the Knockout punch of the Year by crushing any OZ hopes of No.1 ranking. A brutal innings that oozed class.

  • on January 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    Both Kevin and Hashim from KwaZulu,, they must be getting something right.

  • Soso_killer on January 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    It also has to be taken into context that Amla's mammoth scores came away from home in different conditions. And had a significant impact in all matches.

    The fact that Faf's 110 of 378 balls innings was man of the match instead of Clarke's 230 sums Michael Clarke's innings for me.

    When the pitch was juicy Clarke was nowhere to be found in final test. Guess what Amla did? He made 194 at almost a run a ball and SA won by 300+ runs.

    KP's innings in Headingly comes 3rd (after Amla's 311*, 194), to those that say KP' innings was "chanceless" i'm sorry to burst your bubble but he was dropped by Amla at short leg in his 20's, Smith also did not review a plumb LBW against Clarke in his 40's and he went on to make 230.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "CHANCELESS" INNINGS.

  • Romanticstud on January 11, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    If you take all these key milestones and put them into an analyzer ... You will find that Hashim's 311 would rate up there as it was against the previous No.1 side in the world ... Another good performance was Faf's 110 when Australia could've changed the course of the series ... KP's counter attack was really England's only real attempt to salvage the series ... My prize has to go for the record breaking Amla ... it was also South Africa's first 300+ score ... Pity History took out Pollock(Greame) and Richards(Barry) ...

  • Soso_killer on January 11, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Amla played more significant innings than any other player in 2012, with all due respect to Clarke he scored meaningless runs on flat pancakes. Apart for the 329* that was the only big innings that yielded results (albeit against a poor bowling attack).

    As for Amla 311, 194 and 120 @lords all yielded positive results.

  • AnImpatientFan on January 11, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Dave Warner 180? Century off less than 70 balls?

    Michael Clarke double century. Especially the one in Adelaide where Australia piled on 470 in a single day.

    So many KP innings.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 11, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Pieterson's 186 should be first followed by his 156 in Sri Lanka. Faf Du Plessis's innings was one of the gutsiest innings I have seen in my life and deserves an award on its own. Allastair Cook's innings in India should also be close and Hashim Amla's 300 was amazing. Overall, it was a good balanced year of Test Batting and Bowling. Test Cricket is on the rise

  • sanman12 on January 11, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    In terms of series defining. Fafs two inning in the second test against Australia was what test cricket was all about. Remember he was a debutant at test level and the impact he had on the series with those two innings helped SA achieve something few teams ever achieve. Two back to back series defeats Agaianst Australia. Pretty cricket it wasnt but defining in every sense of the word it was. AB Devilliers 13 in that match also spoke volumes about the team effort. Typifies what a test series is all about. Not just winning battles but ultimately winning the war by landing the killer blow and SA took many heavy body blows in that seriies. So my test innings of the year goes to Faf becos he was a debutant and he came into a pressure situation. In both innings he was the star batsman for the SA team. His innings kept the series alive, deflated aussies and left SA no 1 team for the year. No more choking I suppose, which is the first word that wud have been said had SA lost series

  • 2nd_Slip on January 11, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    amla's 311* is by far the pick of the lot he personified dominance, elegance,grace and master stroke play against what was then the #1 test side and probably the more fancied bowling attack. Clarke's knock was against a very weak India so Amla was by far the best

  • on January 11, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    kp's 149 the way he palyed the inning the six above the styen's head best inning kp <3

  • warnerbasher on January 11, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Clarke's innings on the first day of the Adelaide test ties with Amla's at Perth for me. Great batting by 2 superb players. Pietersens innings against South Africa was a brilliant one as well. I don't rate any innings played against the current crop of Indian bowlers

  • on January 11, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    where is Pujara's 206 against Eng @ 1st Test, Ahmedabad?

  • NikhilNair on January 10, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    I personally think Amala deserves it. Clarke for the Cricketer of the Year :D

    And the fact that none of the Indian batsman made it to the nominees, and 3/12 nominated innings were against India reflects the Great Indian Slide. There will be more opportunities this year... and hopefully we won't let it go!

  • on January 10, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    I am wondering wheres Pujara's 200 ??

  • on January 10, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    id have to go with hashim amlas triple century in england best of the year i thought virat kohlis century against australia was also good in the 4th test match in january when all the other indian batsmen folded in all test matches

  • SDHM on January 10, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    For me, if I had to choose only one of these to watch for the rest of my days, I'd take KP's 149. The 151 in Colombo & 186 in Mumbai were more important to England and made on slower wickets where England had been struggling, but no other innings on this list left me genuinely agog like the one at Headingley did. With the ball hooping round corners he smashed it; when Morkel started bombing him he smashed it, all while shepherding James Taylor in a partnership to get England back in the match and at a time when the dressing room was falling apart. The straight 6 against Steyn was the shot of the year, bar none. Audacious and ridiculous. Amla's 196 is the one that comes closest to it for me - his 311 was made on a flatter wicket against a flatter attack, whilst the Perth track was lively - but my loyalties lie with KP!

  • Dannov747 on January 10, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    Amla, Pieterson and Clarke were all brilliant. But the best I watched was Mahela's 180. And Taylor's fight till the end century against Sri Lanka wasn't all that bad either.

  • king78787 on January 10, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    clarke's and amla's innings while big have support from teammates clarke- pointing, hussey amla- kallis, smith. Jayawardena made his 180 against a world#1 attack with NO support

  • blink182alex on January 10, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    Some very good 100's in there, but i don't know how Clarke's 230 at Adelaide v South Africa isn't in there, yes it was a flat track, but that was the purest, classiest century of the year, remember the 5 boundaries off one Morkel over? Or the absolute masterclass in batting footwork against spin, he was on a complete different level against the best bowling attack in the world.

  • Al_Bundy1 on January 10, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    There are no Indians in this list - that explains the decline of Indian cricket. But then, these things don't matter to fanboys of Tendulkar, Sehwag, and Gambhir. To them Tendulkar, Sehwag, and Gambir are undroppable, when in fact India should have dropped these 3 non-performers long time ago. Strangely enough, Indian selectors care more about fanboys than Indian cricket. I guess that's what happens when you appoint fanboys as selectors - you get what you deserve.

  • C.A-SA1987 on January 10, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    South African objective opinion: Cook's innings (any one of them) in India surely deserve mention?!?!

    Azhar Ali also deserves mention for showing maturity and patience under difficult conditions.

    Huge Amla fan, but you cant mention Clarke, Amla and KP without mentioning Cook.

    Having said the above, my feeling is that Hash Amla is the most versatile batsman playing cricket today - just have a look at his "outlier" ODI stats (average just under 60 with a very good strike rate at the top of the innings) and the fastest to 3000 runs (significantly faster than anyone, including Viv).

    The Silent Warrior is only going to get better I feel.

  • CorneredTiger92-09 on January 10, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Its got to be between Clarke's 329, Amla's 311 or Pietersen's 186 in my view. All excellent innings done in a winning cause but I think Amla's 311 will win cos he did it against England in England

  • ExplicitPlatinum on January 10, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    I don't know why nobody is talking about Azhar Ali. His technique is superb. You don't really need talent to succeed but your hard work and determination is what brings the best out of you. His innings was also a match winning innings and he has the potential to be the leading Pakistan Test run scorer. I really admire players such as KP, Clarke, Amla, Du Plessis and Cook, but Azhar is one of the biggest upcoming Test players in the world. He was also in the top 10 batting rankings but dropped down a few places due to excellent performances by the names I mentioned earlier. England have a fantastic fast/spin bowling attack and Azhar has succeeded in batting against tough opponents.

  • Jay.Raj on January 10, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    I really feel Clarke is slightly a better batsman than Amla because when you look at Clarke's big innings he never gives chances to the opponent but Amla, I noticed that he gets lucky sometimes. Not to take away any of his records, he is also great but clarke is slightly better.

  • on January 10, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Kane Williamson is a batsman with good composure and i feel NewZealand needs these kinds of stars now more than ever. The impressive trait of Kane is that he was performing strongly under pressure. With Ross Taylor firing the cylinders whenever possible, they can form a formidable pair.

  • on January 10, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    All Alistair Cook's innings against India in India should win!! 3 100s in consecutive games. He was the reason England won in India.

  • AllroundCricketFan on January 10, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    Without a shadow of a doubt Amla deserves this and a few other awards. The innings against Aus takes it for me. His 196 to take the test and the series away from Australia was no mean feat. The game was evenly poised and Amla literally tore the aussie attack apart. At the strike-rate he was going, it was simply a pleasure to watch a master tactician at work. His 311* comes a close second, this innings against the then Number 1 team showed what this guy can do. He batted and batted the entire summer through. Clarkes innings comes a distant 3rd with his batting prowess.

  • arun141 on January 10, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    I think that this would have been after a long time that no Indian is in this type of batting list.

  • on January 10, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    DU PLESIS match saving innings was superb...should be ranked at no 1

  • letsgoproteas on January 10, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Amla has been pure class this whole year. He scores runs under any circumstance in any condition against every opposition... his technique is absolutely beautiful to watch and the guy alone should be a great ambassador for the game. And the key to Amlas success is his consistency in scoring runs. Not many of those other batsmen can claim that. He goes out there, does the job, doesn't revel in the glory and there is no drama surrounding him. Every cricketing fan around the world respects the guy. That says something.

    Clark - again what a champion. Not only his he leading from the front but he is dominating!

    If Amla or Clark aren't given the crown then I don't know.

  • DeckChairand6pack on January 10, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Reading the article bring brack great memories of these batting performances, all gems. I would agree with landl47 that Michael Clarke was the batsmen of the year without question, and that Hashim's 311 was the knock of the year. It was away from home and in front of the home fans. I was at the Oval on the Saturday he got his triple and had the sun burn to prove it. As he got towards 300 he played a few streaky shots and I heard someone in the crowd say, 'he's in the nervous 290's !'

    After they had been talking themselves up all summer you could gradually see the realisation in England they were in a far bigger scrap than they had bargained for. Test batting of the highest order.

    All of the others were brilliant in their own right.

  • Selassie-I on January 10, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    O-Bomb, I agree, added to my KP at Leeds, the Amla at the Oval really blunted us and basically gave the the series straight off, although I think he was dropped a couple of times early on and KPs was chanceless.

  • on January 10, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    kevin pietersen's all three innings were GEMS.

  • on January 10, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    I think Hashim and KP all did well. But we have see the what was the opposition, How strong the opposition bowling, Pitch behavior at that time and whether in that situation batsman innings save, draw or win the match for his team. If i put that criteria then surely i will go with Mr Azhar Ali. He scored 157 against no 1 team in ranking, every batsman struggling on pitch,England one of best bowling line up and finally it's innings help Pakistan to win that match

  • ZiggyMarley on January 10, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Amla's 196 was the most fluent innings I have ever seen.

  • dusey456 on January 10, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Clarke's 230 against South Africa at Adelaide was easily the best innings I have seen this year. Getting 230 at a strike rate of 90 against the best bowling line up in the world (and Tahir) while also getting his side out of trouble coming in at 3/55. If not the best innings of the year it should certainly be in the top 10 and is certainly better than his 329* against India.

  • Marktc on January 10, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    As a South African I was thrilled to see Amla with his wonderful contributions. He really did well and showed his wonderful talent. Having said that, it pains me to say, Clarke was the batsman of the year. He had pressure on him, had to prove his captaincy and yet shone. And did it in style and with aggression.

  • Selassie-I on January 10, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Hashim for me has to be the test batsman of the year. Unfortunatley I didn't see his 196 innings against australia so I can't judge on it.

    For me it would have to be KP at Headingly, probably beacuse I was in the ground to be honest. It was amazing, he was playing such audacious shots that you thought he would be getting out at any moment, but he just kept on middling them, he scored the runs with such fluency, aggression and ease that it completley let the pressure off the debutant, Taylor, and allowed him just to stay in to support KP and no doubt filled the lad with confidence for the rest of his career. Then over the next few days we came to hear that it may have been his last! What drama, as always with KP!

  • on January 10, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    It should go to FAF DU Plesis for the match saving innings on his debut. Kevin Pietersen's 186 is also good enough to make a mark but there was Cook with him who has also made a mark.

  • Toxicbite on January 10, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @o-bomb, fully agree. Clarke's 2nd double century against Saf should've made the cut.

  • FieryFerg on January 10, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    'Fraid it can't be Williamson as he was caught by Alviro in the gully! Only a blind third umpire allowed him to play any sort of innings.

  • JesseV on January 10, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Not having seen many of these innings, only the ones in Australia, just reading about most of them and dreaming about doing something similar in my local club cricket, i think Amla's 196 in Perth was amazing! He absolutely toyed with the bowlers at a S/R of 90. And Clarke's 2 doubles against SAf were also incredible, as he was in 'God' mode through most of the year. And Faf's was an innings of frustration, envy and great respect to watch. All worthy on the list.

  • o-bomb on January 10, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    For me the way Hashim Amla ground our bowlers down at the Oval and made something of a mockery of all the hype surrounding the start of the series is deserving of the award. Of course I didn't see all of these innings, but I'd struggle to imagine any of those I didn't see lived up to Amla's. It was true genius at work and set up the series for South Africa. Perhaps this is a shame for KP as I think his 186 at Mumbai was the best innings he's ever played. The situation England was in (1 down in the series, India on top in the match) demanded something more mature than KP had produced before and his innings turned the series. I'm a little surprised to see only 1 of Michael Clarke's innings listed here.

  • Toxicbite on January 10, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @Jabulani, I 2nd that! Tried 3 times and still nothing.

  • Harlequin. on January 10, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    My tuppence: I am going to write off the innings' against India as their bowling performances, turning pitch or not, has been woeful this year. I will also discount #im's innings against England for the same reason, as well as a number of dropped catches. Taylor's & KP's against the Sri Lankans are tempting, but my choice comes down to KP vs SA, an innings which seemed to define everything about the man, and Faf vs Aus, an innings which seems to be the making of a man. Two utterly different innings, but as a big fan of stubbornness I am going with Fafs.

  • Jabulani on January 10, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    I declare the voting NULL and VOID! The system will not accept a vote for either Faf or Hashim. Before I go to the next level and suggest a rigged vote I request that the system administrators correct his post-haste.

  • tambolisamir on January 10, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Hashim Amlas 196 v Australia in third Test, Perth is the best batting i have seen ever..not only he scored runs in difficult conditions but these runs came with run a ball..great batting Hashim!!!

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 10, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    KP is the best , no questions about it , and Allan Donald summarized it beautifully when he said 'it was in the category of genius'..not to mention his batting on Indian and sri lankan pitches .. there is a certain arrogance about his stroke play that just stands out - from an Indian fan

  • highveldhillbilly on January 10, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    There is an issue with the test batting voting. Couldn't vote for Faf's inning or Amla's 196.

  • on January 10, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    Well i would love to give it to either Clarke or Du plessis.Clarke cause he played some Awesome strokes and was Hameering the Indian bowling whereas Du plessis played under immense pressure and helpeD South AFrica win the series!

  • SamRoy on January 10, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    SA remained unbeaten throughout the year though for that their batsman deserve more credit than their bowlers. Their bowlers were brilliant for 2/3rd of the time and god-awful the remaining 1/3rd. In the 2nd test against England when SA bowlers were close to their best, the innings played by KP tops the list for me. Against SL there was only Herath threat, and against India it was only personal demons against left-arm spin as both Ojha and Ashwin are quite inexperienced. I think Mahela's 180 was the second best innings of the year and Pujara's 130-odd the third best innings of the year (made in the same test where Peterson made 180-odd). The reason I don't include Clarke's or Amla's several innings is simple: the opposition bowling wasnt all that good on those days.

  • Trickstar on January 10, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @ landl47 Personally couldn't pick Amla's against us, mainly because we bowled as bad as I've ever seen our attack bowl, also another main reason is we dropped him on a number of occasions during that innings, absolute dollies as well. I agree it's hard to argue against Clarke being the best batsman of the year, he's put up some freaky stats that's for sure.

  • yoogi on January 10, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    I think Pujaras double century is worth a mention here, again that stood out compared to other indian batters and delivered their only Test win against a better oppooent in nearly two years!

  • highveldhillbilly on January 10, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    KP or Faf. KP because he completely owned the bowling in both innings where other batsmen struggled. Faf because he single-handedly change the course of a test and a series. So probably Faf's innings by a whisker.

  • neo-galactico on January 10, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Clarke was probably the best batsman of 2012 but none of his knocks were as some by Amla and Pietersen. The 149 against SA was brilliant in its audacity (although he was dropped) and destroying the best in the world Steyn like that was a joy to watch. And his 186 against on a minefield was equally good. He was playing on a different pitch to everyone else. But my vote goes to Hash, he more subtle in destroying bowling attacks than the brute force of KP. And thus his 196 is the best knock of the year on a pitch that offered something to the bowlers. And is there a better cover drive in the world. A joy behold, all hail Lord Hash.

  • venbas on January 10, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Why not Sachins hundred against Bangladesh even though it came in a different type of game :)

  • TATTUs on January 10, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Its KPs vs SA VS Amla vs AUS. Clarkes innings against South Africa also deserves a mention here.

  • on January 10, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Please fix the voting screen - I am unable to vote for Faf du Plessis.

  • KishorKumar25 on January 10, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    CRICINFO should conduct voting for Cricketer (Batsman/bowler) of the year - people choice, by letting us, readers to vote for the best players of the year.

  • mcsdl on January 10, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    There is no doubt, the award must go to Mahela... Next best in that innings is 27 when he scores 180 in tough conditions against a decent attack...! Just ask Swann and Anderson, and they will tell you what a great innings that was... It was a plessure to watch Mahela play that day.... Absolutely brilliant..!

  • ejsiddiqui on January 10, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Batsmen play long innings when they are going well but for me Faf's innings was amazing. It was an out of character innings. Previously we thought Faf is a T20 player only.

  • rocknrola on January 10, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    KP against world best bowler Steyn. Match turning innings against spin attack on turning pitches in our India. Match turning innings against SL.

    Records are for statistics only. But these innings are great to watch for every cricket fan.

  • on January 10, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    A score of 180 when next best was 27 shows a relative level of class above every other innings listed - even Clarke's triple which I loved. My vote goes to Mahela.

  • Meety on January 10, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    All those innings were great in their own right, but what about Clarke's 259 against the Saffa pace trio???? Came in at 3/40 late in the day (nothing to gain) - & played brilliantly. Batted the whole 4th day & some. Then to top that off, what about Clarke's even better innings the next week? Coming in at 3/55 - he scooted along at about a S/R of 90! Again definately no disrespect to the "Amla & KP show" - but IMO the BEST batsmen in 2012 had to be Clarke!

  • on January 10, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Amla's 311 and Faf's 110 stand out..... they just knocked the wind out of sails of Eng and Aus respectively.

  • wakaPAK on January 10, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    Faf innings was impossible to say the least; he gets my first vote, then Azhar Ali's 157 against England which resulted in Pakistan winning the match after 99 all out in the first innings adn he was facing Swann and Monty, two of the best spinners.

  • on January 10, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    how does clarke only have on innings in the shortlist?

  • 9ST9 on January 10, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Taylors 142 was what gave NZ their first win in SL and the subcontinent for decades and still NZC couldn't negotiate to keep him in the team ... pathetic.

  • Erebus26 on January 10, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Bias and my love for an entertainer has led me to go for KP and his excellent knock against South Africa at Headingley, as it was possibly England's only bright spot of that series and came against the world's best attack. However I loved Amla's knock at Perth and admired Faf Du Plessis's determination at Adelaide too - they were excellent efforts and went a long way to ensure that the Saffers came away from Australia with a positive result.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 10, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    best innings of the year goes to Kevin Pieterson. Playing against spin that freely is just awesome. Shocking innings of the year. Never expected england to win a series in india at all. hates off to KP.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 10, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    best innings of the year goes to Kevin Pieterson. Playing against spin that freely is just awesome. Shocking innings of the year. Never expected england to win a series in india at all. hates off to KP.

  • Erebus26 on January 10, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Bias and my love for an entertainer has led me to go for KP and his excellent knock against South Africa at Headingley, as it was possibly England's only bright spot of that series and came against the world's best attack. However I loved Amla's knock at Perth and admired Faf Du Plessis's determination at Adelaide too - they were excellent efforts and went a long way to ensure that the Saffers came away from Australia with a positive result.

  • 9ST9 on January 10, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Taylors 142 was what gave NZ their first win in SL and the subcontinent for decades and still NZC couldn't negotiate to keep him in the team ... pathetic.

  • on January 10, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    how does clarke only have on innings in the shortlist?

  • wakaPAK on January 10, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    Faf innings was impossible to say the least; he gets my first vote, then Azhar Ali's 157 against England which resulted in Pakistan winning the match after 99 all out in the first innings adn he was facing Swann and Monty, two of the best spinners.

  • on January 10, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Amla's 311 and Faf's 110 stand out..... they just knocked the wind out of sails of Eng and Aus respectively.

  • Meety on January 10, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    All those innings were great in their own right, but what about Clarke's 259 against the Saffa pace trio???? Came in at 3/40 late in the day (nothing to gain) - & played brilliantly. Batted the whole 4th day & some. Then to top that off, what about Clarke's even better innings the next week? Coming in at 3/55 - he scooted along at about a S/R of 90! Again definately no disrespect to the "Amla & KP show" - but IMO the BEST batsmen in 2012 had to be Clarke!

  • on January 10, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    A score of 180 when next best was 27 shows a relative level of class above every other innings listed - even Clarke's triple which I loved. My vote goes to Mahela.

  • rocknrola on January 10, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    KP against world best bowler Steyn. Match turning innings against spin attack on turning pitches in our India. Match turning innings against SL.

    Records are for statistics only. But these innings are great to watch for every cricket fan.

  • ejsiddiqui on January 10, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Batsmen play long innings when they are going well but for me Faf's innings was amazing. It was an out of character innings. Previously we thought Faf is a T20 player only.