Test batting nominees January 8, 2016

Daddy doubles, and a debut ton at 35

The best Test batting in 2015 featured some heroic second-innings rescue efforts

Dinesh Chandimal turned the Galle Test Sri Lanka's way with some audacious hitting © AFP

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Kane Williamson
242* v Sri Lanka
second Test, Wellington

A year after Brendon McCullum's record-breaking 302 at the same venue, Kane Williamson played an epic of his own. New Zealand were in trouble at 159 for 5 with a lead of only 24 in the second innings when BJ Watling joined Williamson. The pair was not separated, adding a world-record 365 for the sixth wicket. Williamson batted for more than 10 hours, hit 18 fours and in the process became the fastest New Zealander to 3000 Test runs (71 innings; two fewer than Martin Crowe took). New Zealand stretched the lead to 389, and found enough time to squeeze in a win.

Jason Holder
103* v England
first Test, North Sound

Jason Holder's maiden first-class century was a match-saving one under pressure. Chasing an improbable 438, West Indies had their backs to the wall at 189 for 6 on the final day. Holder walked in at No. 8 and stalled England's push for victory, hitting 15 fours in his 149-ball knock. The challenge got tougher for Holder in the final hour, by when West Indies had lost their seventh wicket. His maturity stood out when he saw through that tense passage of play with Kemar Roach and denied the visitors a victory.

Basin Reserve Jailbreak II: Kane Williamson's 242 helped turn the tables on Sri Lanka © Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal
206 v Pakistan
first Test, Khulna

Bangladesh were up against a deficit of 296 when they began their second innings. Tamim Iqbal wiped away two-thirds of that on his own and in the process broke the record for the highest Test score by a Bangladesh batsman. That apart, his stand of 312 with Imrul Kayes set a record for the highest opening stand in the second innings of a Test. It was a typically aggressive knock from Tamim, who struck 24 boundaries, including seven sixes, in his 278-ball innings. The manner in which he and Kayes took the attack to Pakistan spoke of the progress Bangladesh had made as an international team in 2015.

Ben Stokes
101 v New Zealand
first Test, Lord's

Stokes followed up his brisk first-innings 92 with a faster 101 in the second. England had a shortfall of 134 to erase, and when Stokes walked in, were effectively 98 for 4. His counterattack gave his side the belief that they could still push for a win. His 85-ball century was the second fastest by an England batsman and the fastest at Lord's. Seventy-eight of his runs came in boundaries alone. Thanks to Stokes, the momentum swung towards England, and they never let it go.

Adam Voges
130* v West Indies
first Test, Dominica

Adam Voges had to wait till he was nearly 35 for his Test debut, and he cashed in when he finally did. In response to West Indies' 148, Australia were in trouble at 126 for 6 before Voges took control and shepherded the tail brilliantly. He shared stands of 52 and 43 with Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon respectively, and rubbed it in further by putting on 97 with Josh Hazlewood. Voges became the oldest man to score a century on Test debut and he capped it off by staying unbeaten. A first-innings lead of 170 knocked the stuffing out of the hosts.

Tamim Iqbal: owner of the Bangladesh Test record for the highest score © AFP

Younis Khan
171* v Sri Lanka
third Test, Pallekele

Younis Khan's epic unbeaten 171 helped Pakistan to their highest successful chase, the second highest in Asia for any side, and the sixth highest in all Test cricket. Set 377, Pakistan wobbled at 13 for 2 before Younis and Shan Masood (125) bedded in for a match-turning stand of 242. Younis attacked the fast bowlers on the fourth day and his positive approach deflated the Sri Lankans, ensuring the momentum stayed with Pakistan on the fifth day. With the experienced Misbah-ul-Haq for company, Younis sealed a series win for Pakistan, and also finished with the fifth-highest score in a chase.

Joe Root
134 v Australia
first Test, Cardiff

When England were 43 for 3 on the first morning of the 2015 Ashes, it seemed like an extension of their 5-0 drubbing in 2013-14 in Australia. Root ensured the nightmare didn't continue for England with an attacking 134 off only 166 balls. He was let off on zero when Brad Haddin spilled a catch, and it was a drop Australia would regret. With good support from Ben Stokes, Root helped England set a platform and eventually finish on 430 - the kind of series-opening statement they needed.

Steven Smith
215 v England
second Test, Lord's

After a hammering in the first Test in Cardiff, Australia levelled the series in the second at Lord's, thanks to the rousing start provided by Smith and Chris Rogers. Smith, Australia's captain in waiting, went on to record his highest Test score, adding 284 with Rogers. He became the first Australian to score a double-hundred at Lord's since Don Bradman in 1938. There were 25 fours and a six in his knock, and Australia got to an imposing 566.

Cheteshwar Pujara carried his bat for 145 on a seaming track at the SSC © Associated Press

Dinesh Chandimal
162* v India
first Test, Galle

An innings that scripted a massive turnaround and one of Sri Lanka's most memorable wins. Chandimal came in with Sri Lanka shaky at 92 for 4 (after having been 5 for 3), and with a first-innings deficit of 192. With a series of sweeps, regular and reverse, Chandimal threw the Indian spinners off balance, hitting 19 fours and four sixes in his 169-ball innings. He shepherded the lower order well to stretch his team's lead to 175, and it turned out to be a match-winning one.

Cheteshwar Pujara
145* v Sri Lanka
third Test, Colombo (SSC)

Promoted to open the batting from his usual No. 3 position, Pujara scored his first Test hundred in nearly two years to give India the initiative in the deciding Test. On a seaming pitch - rare for the SSC - Pujara stood out with his patience and technique, while none of the other specialist batsmen made more than 26. His eighth-wicket stand with Amit Mishra (59) took India to 312, a score Sri Lanka fell well short of in their first innings. Pujara carried his bat, having spent over seven hours at the crease.

Alastair Cook
263 v Pakistan
first Test, Abu Dhabi

Having withstood Pakistan's 523 in the heat of Abu Dhabi, Cook barely had time to cool off before it was his turn to bat… and bat. He outclassed Shoaib Malik's 245 with 263, spread over just under 14 hours. It was the longest innings in England's Test history and the third longest of all time. That an England batsman hung around for so long was a turnaround from their batting horrors the last time they were in the UAE for a Test series, which they lost 3-0. Pakistan's weary batsmen collapsed on the fifth day, giving England the chance to pull off an unlikely win, which they nearly did.

Ross Taylor
290 v Australia
second Test, Perth

David Warner's ballistic 253 had demoralised New Zealand's bowlers, and when New Zealand's turn came, Taylor not only returned the favour but also surpassed Warner's score. Taylor, who had last scored a century a year before, made good use of the WACA featherbed, staying in for nearly 10 hours, adding 265 with Kane Williamson. Taylor's score was the highest by a New Zealander against Australia, beating Martin Crowe's 188 at the Gabba in 1985, and it marked a welcome return to form for him.

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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