Playing spin in India against quality spinners is one of the most difficult arts to master in cricket. On pitches which are rank turners which start turning square from Day one of a Test, the Indian spinners usually bully the opposition batsmen but there were certain class batters like Alastair Cook or Matthew Hayden who have managed to score daddy hundreds on Indian soil.
The players mentioned in this blog were class individuals who had a watertight defence to go along with their flamboyant stroke play. Let’s look at the top five overseas batsmen who have stacked the most runs on Indian soil since the start of the 21st century.
ALASTAIR COOK (England)
Sir Alastair Cook, as we should ideally address him now, has played 13 matches in India which included his debut in Nagpur. His second-innings hundred in that match was the start of a glorious career for Cook who eventually led a series win on Indian soil for the first time in more than 27 years. That series win in 2012 was the last time the Indian team tasted defeat on their home soil.
In the 13 matches he played in India, Cook managed to score 1235 runs at an average of 51.45 which is higher than his career average. The ability to judge length quickly set him apart from the others and the way he played the trio of R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh at the Mumbai Test in 2012 is commendable. Cook scored five centuries in India, the most by any travelling batsman since the beginning of the 21st century.
MATTHEW HAYDEN (Australia)
If you ask Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Murali Karthik – India’s leading spinners during the 2000s, who was the toughest batsman they faced in Indian conditions, then the answer would be a straightforward one – Matthew Hayden. The Australian opening batsman had a solid defence but his ability to put the opposition spinners under pressure with his bullish sweep shots was a delight to watch. He scored 1027 runs in his 11 matches at a fabulous average of 51.35 and was at his lethal best when he played spin in India.
HASHIM AMLA (South Africa)
Hashim Amla was a mainstay in the travelling South African team back in 2008 and 2010. The Indian bowlers saw a lot of Amla during those tours. In 2010, Amla started the tour with an unbeaten 253 at Nagpur and followed that up with back-to-back centuries at Kolkata in the subsequent Test. His 2015 tour wasn’t up to his high standards but to be fair, most batsmen struggled on that tour as the pitches prepared back then were next to impossible to play on. His overall average in India is 62.73 as he managed to score 941 runs in 10 matches.
YOUNIS KHAN (Pakistan)
Younis Khan was easily one of the most reliable batsmen Pakistan has produced over the years. His best usually came against India as in just 6 matches on Indian soil, Younis scored 768 runs at a magnificent average of 76.80. Another player who wasn’t afraid of using his feet while playing spin, Younis also used the sweep shots efficiently.
MICHAEL CLARKE (Australia)
Another player who made his Test debut on Indian soil went on to have an extremely successful career at the highest level and even led his nation to a World Cup trophy. The class of the young boy from New South Wales was apparent right away when he scored 151 on Test debut. Clarke had a unique technique of always stepping out against the spinners even when he wanted to defend the ball. He played 13 matches in India in his glorious career and scored 972 runs in those matches. Easily one of the most pleasing overseas batsmen to play in India over the years.
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