Jacques Kallis has the highest Test average at No.4 and the best ODI average at No.5 © Getty Images

It's common knowledge that Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes are Test cricket's most prolific opening combination, but do you know who have the highest averages as openers? And which current player has the highest one-day average while batting at No.3? That answer could surprise you as much as the fact Elton Chigumbara has a better average batting at No. 7 in ODIs than Adbul Razzaq or Chris Harris. Read on to find out who has the highest averages at each batting position.

England's Herbert Sutcliffe is the only batsman to average above 60 as opener. Sutcliffe opened in 83 out of 84 innings, the lone exception being when he batted at No.6 because England reversed their batting order to avoid losing top-order wickets late in the day. Don Bradman leads a list of heavy-weight batsmen for the No.3 spot. His average of 103.63 outstrips Ken Barrington , Wally Hammond and George Headley all of whom average in the 70s while batting at No.3.

Garry Sobers is the only player to average above 50 from positions three to seven for a minimum of ten innings at each position. However, he doesn't occupy the top spot at any of those slots. The highest average for No.6, where Sobers had batted the most, belongs to Shivnarine Chanderpaul who's scored 2006 runs at 62.68.

Best Test batting average by position (minimum 20 innings)
Position Player Span Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50
1 H Sutcliffe (Eng) 1924-1935 83 4522 194 61.10 16 23
2 B Mitchell (SAf) 1929-1949 48 2390 189* 56.90 7 12
3 DG Bradman (Aust) 1930-1948 56 5078 334 103.63 20 10
4 JH Kallis (SAf) 2000-2006 77 4437 177 70.42 15 23
5 FMM Worrell (WI) 1948-1962 23 1189 197* 59.45 3 9
6 S Chanderpaul (WI) 1994-2006 39 2006 140 62.68 6 14
7 BM McMillan (SAf) 1992-1998 23 1051 113 58.38 1 10
8 DL Vettori (NZ) 1997-2006 27 833 127 36.21 1 5
9 SM Pollock (SAf) 1995-2005 20 534 111 41.07 2 1
10 PM Pollock (SAf) 1964-1970 20 292 41 22.46 0 0
11 DL Underwood (Eng) 1966-1981 27 182 45* 18.19 0 0

  • Click here for a list of five highest averages at each position
  • Virender Sehwag and Matthew Hayden have the highest averages - 54.01 and 53.08 respectively - as openers among current batsmen while occupying ranks seven and nine on the all-time list. Rahul Dravid misses out to Ricky Ponting for the No.3 spot. Dravid's average at that position is 61.41 but Ponting's phenomenal form since the 2005 Ashes boosted his average to 66.25.

    Mohammad Yousuf is closing in fast on Jacques Kallis's average of 70.42 at No.4. Before the start of the 2005-06 season Yousuf averaged only 45 at number four. However after a couple of prolific seasons during which he scored 1449 in 18 innings , his average has soared to 67.06. During the same period, Sachin Tendulkar dropped from 60.10 to 57.20 and he stands tenth among the highest averages at No.4.

    Best Test batting average by position - current players (minimum 20 innings)
    Position Player Span Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50
    1 V Sehwag (ICC/India) 2002-2006 72 3727 309 54.01 11 10
    2 ML Hayden (Aust) 1994-2006 150 7326 380 53.08 26 26
    3 RT Ponting (Aust) 1996-2006 111 6294 257 66.25 24 21
    4 JH Kallis (SAf) 2000-2006 77 4437 177 70.42 15 23
    5 Inzamum-ul-Haq (Pak) 1993-2006 40 1933 119 56.85 6 13
    6 S Chanderpaul (WI) 1994-2006 39 2006 140 62.68 6 14
    7 AC Gilchrist (Aust) 1999-2006 87 3503 204* 47.33 11 14
    8 DL Vettori (NZ) 1997-2006 27 833 127 36.21 1 5
    9 SM Pollock (SAf) 1995-2005 20 534 111 41.07 2 1
    10 SK Warne (Aust) 1992-1998 21 303 37 18.93 0 0
    11 M Muralitharan (ICC/SL) 1992-2006 85 574 43 12.47 0 0

  • Click here for a list of five highest averages at each position
  • Michael Bevan is the only player to be highest at two positions in one-day internationals - he averages 59.60 at number four and 56.71 at number six. Yousuf springs a surprise again by having the second-best average - 55.22 - at No.3, higher than Sourav Ganguly, Brian Lara, Kallis or Ponting.

    The biggest surprise undoubtedly is Chigumbara who pips Razzaq for first place at No.7 though he will be a distant second once Michael Hussey plays one more innings to make our cut-off of 20 innings. Hussey has batted 19 times at No.7 and averages a whopping 138.60 with 14 not-outs. In fact, even in Tests Hussey averages 91.75 at No.5 but has played just 11 innings in that position.

    Best ODI batting average by position (minimum 20 innings)
    Position Player Span Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50
    1 HH Dippenaar (Afr/SAf) 1999-2006 40 1736 125* 51.05 4 13
    2 GM Turner (NZ) 1973-1983 29 1197 171* 49.87 3 7
    3 IVA Richards (WI) 1976-1986 51 2418 153* 57.57 5 15
    4 MG Bevan (Aust) 1994-2004 53 2265 108* 59.60 3 17
    5 JH Kallis (SAf) 1996-2006 23 830 113* 48.82 2 7
    6 MG Bevan (Aust) 1994-2004 87 3006 102* 56.71 1 23
    7 E Chigumbura (Zimb) 2004-2006 20 541 77 33.81 0 4
    8 L Klusener (SAf) 1997-2004 36 1056 83 58.66 0 7
    9 SM Pollock (ICC/SAf) 1999-2006 20 249 46 27.66 0 0
    10 Z Khan (India) 2000-2006 26 253 33* 19.46 0 0
    11 M Ntini (ICC/SAf) 1998-2006 20 94 42* 15.66 0 0

  • Click here for a list of five highest averages at each position
  • Michael Clarke takes Bevan's spot for the best average at No.6 among current batsmen while Boeta Dippenaar occupies top spot for an opener and No.4. In due time, Kevin Pietersen may take Kallis's place at No.5. At present he averages 116.20 with three centuries and two fifties in just ten innings at No.5

    Best ODI batting average by position - current players (minimum 20 innings)
    Position Player Span Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50
    1 HH Dippenaar (Afr/SAf) 1999-2006 40 1736 125* 51.05 4 13
    2 SR Tendulkar (India) 1994-2006 256 11565 186* 48.79 37 55
    3 Mohammad Yousuf (Asia/Pak) 2000-2005 43 1988 141* 55.22 5 13
    4 HH Dippenaar (SAf) 2000-2004 20 866 89 57.73 0 8
    5 JH Kallis (SAf) 1996-2006 23 830 113* 48.82 2 7
    6 MJ Clarke (Aust) 2003-2006 28 873 82* 48.50 0 7
    7 E Chigumbura (Zimb) 2004-2006 20 541 77 33.81 0 4
    8 Abdul Razzaq (Pak) 1999-2006 24 528 76* 33.00 0 4
    9 SM Pollock (ICC/SAf) 1999-2006 20 249 46 27.66 0 0
    10 Z Khan (India) 2000-2006 26 253 33* 19.46 0 0
    11 M Ntini (ICC/SAf) 1998-2006 20 94 42* 15.66 0 0

  • Click here for a list of five highest averages at each position
  • PS: The List turns one year old tomorrow and it asks its readers to join the celebrations and, for once at least, prefer a Pietersen over a Kallis where shot measure is concerned. Cheers!

    George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo. For the stats he was helped by Tobian Clayton who works for Cricinfo in Australia.