Cricket.com.au's best Test XI of 2017

We've selected our best side from the calendar year with Smith, Warner and Lyon all featuring

Louis Cameron

31 December 2017, 05:48 PM

1. Dean Elgar (SAF)

Inn: 21 | R: 1,128 | Ave: 53.71 | HS: 199 | 100s: 5 | 50s: 4

Elgar has been a rock at the top of the order this year, notching centuries in each of the four Test series South Africa has played. His 199 against a hapless Bangladesh outfit at home in September was his high watermark of 2017 but the left-hander would likely have been most proud of his fourth-innings 136 against England at The Oval in July. A reliable and dogged opening batsman who filled in as the Proteas captain in Faf du Plessis' absence in the UK, Elgar's five centuries makes him a solid option to take on the new ball in our team of the year.

2.David Warner (AUS)

Inn: 21 | R: 997 | Ave: 49.85 | HS: 123 | 100s: 4 | 50s: 4

Warner's breakthrough Asian ton guides Australia

It will go down as the year Warner finally conquered his subcontinental demons. The opener had previously thrived all round the world but in August, he played what he described as the knock of his career in the second innings of Australia's defeat to Bangladesh on a spicy Dhaka pitch. After backing it up with another ton in Chittagong, Warner capped off his 2017 with an Ashes ton in Melbourne, finishing three short of 1,000 runs for the year.

3. Chesteshwar Pujara (IND)

Inn: 16 | R: 1,059 | Ave: 75.64 | HS: 243 | 100s: 5 | 50s: 1

Pujara's epic 202 flattens Australia

If he hadn't already, Pujara elevated himself into the upper echelon of Test batsmen in 2017. The right-hander struck a marathon 525-ball double century against Australia in Ranchi and in August passed 4,000 career runs with his 13th Test hundred. The Indian struck four tons all up and was a picture of consistency across the year, passing 50 in all but three of his 11 Tests.

4. Steve Smith (AUS)

Inn: 20 | R: 1,305 | Ave: 76.76 | HS: 239 | 100s: 6 | 50s: 3

Extended highlights of Steve Smith's 239

Australia's captain continued to rewrite the record books, becoming the second batsman in history (after Matthew Hayden) to score more than 1,000 runs in a calendar year four years in a row. A bumper tour of India yielded three tons and nearly 500 runs in four Tests and while he had a quiet tour of Bangladesh, he reaffirmed his status as one of the game's greats in Australia's Magellan Ashes triumph. The first two Tests of that series brought Smith a ton and double ton, before reaching triple digits yet again in Melbourne, and is an undisputed inclusion at four in this side.

5. Virat Kohli (IND) (c)

Inn: 18 | R: 1140 | Ave: 67.05 | HS: 202 | 100s: 4 | 50s: 5

Kohli hundred buries Sri Lanka

Unlike his counterpart Smith, Kohli struggled during the four-Test bout against Australia with 46 runs in five hits. Outside of that rare blip, the Indian maestro had another phenomenal year in the longest format. He reached triple figures on five occasions, including three double-centuries, all the while leading the No.1 ranked Test side in the world. The fact India remain atop the International Cricket Council's Test rankings sees Kohli named captain of our 2017 team of the year.

6. Shakib al Hasan (BAN)

Inn: 14 | R: 665 | Ave: 47.50 | HS: 217 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 3

Shakib joins legends, rolls Aussies

One of the finest allrounders the game has produced took a sabbatical from the longest format late in the year but nonetheless made his mark in seven Tests in 2017 to claim the No.6 berth in our side. Shakib was instrumental in Bangladesh's historic victory over Australia in August, claiming 10 wickets for the match and posting 84. It followed on from his 217 against New Zealand in January, the highest total ever made by a Bangladeshi in Test history while he also struck a century in his side's win over Sri Lanka in March. In a bumper year for spin bowlers, Shakib is a more than handy fifth bowler in this side.

7. Mushfiqur Rahim (BAN)

Inn: 16 | R: 776 | Ave: 54.71 | HS: 159 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 3

Mushfiqur's stunner boosts Tigers

It was a big year for Bangladesh and their recently-ousted captain Mushfiqur Rahim is a deserved inclusion for the keeping position. While Quinton de Kock led all comers on the dismissals front (50 in 12 matches), Mushfiqur's return of 766 runs at 55 was comfortably the best effort by a wicketkeeper in run-scoring terms in 2017 (Sri Lanka Niroshan Dickwella aside, who managed seven more runs albeit at a reduced average of 39). The diminutive Mushfiqur scored tons in his first two Tests of the year and led his country to memorable wins over Sri Lanka and Australia.

8. Ravindra Jadeja (IND)

M: 10 | W: 54 | Ave: 23.05  | BB: 6-63 | 5w: 3 | 10w: 0

Inn: 14 | R: 328 | Ave: 41.00 | HS: 70* | 100s: 0 | 50s:4

Jadeja takes six as Aussies collapse

Averages of 23 with the ball and 41 with the bat speak for themselves, really. Jadeja narrowly edges out his partner-in-crime Ravi Ashwin (56 scalps at 28, 239 runs at 17) for the second spinning spot having picked up his wickets at a better clip while also having a markedly better year with the bat. The fact he spins it the opposite way to the other specialist spinner in this attack doesn't hurt either. Jadeja played all 10 of his Tests on the subcontinent this year and his method of spearing the ball in quickly on dry surfaces has proved deadly. The left-armer took four wickets in all but one Test this year and struck four half-centuries (three of them unbeaten), becoming a genuine threat in both disciplines.

9. Kagiso Rabada (SAF)

M: 11 | W: 57 | Ave: 20.28 | BB: 6-55 | 5w: 3 | 10w: 2

Rabada makes his point heard with celebration

There can be few doubts over Rabada's standing as the most promising young quick on the planet and he could well claim to be the outright best fast bowler in the world given he outdid the likes of England's Jimmy Anderson (55 wickets), Proteas teammate Morne Morkel (39 wickets) and Australia's Josh Hazlewood (34 wickets) in 2017. Two 10-wicket match hauls, against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, were backed up 16 wickets in three Tests in England and he could have had more if it weren't for his controversial suspension for the Trent Bridge Test. Rabada was a shining light for South Africa in the longest format. 

10. Nathan Lyon (AUS)

M: 11 | W: 63 | Ave: 23.55 | BB: 8-50 | 5w: 5 | 10w: 1

Lyon bags four more to continue dream 2017

A breakout 12 months for Lyon sees him become the first Australian to top a calendar year's Test wicket-taking charts since Mitchell Johnson claimed 63 scalps in 2009. Having finally perfected his method for success on the subcontinent after previously been found wanting, Lyon starred on tours of India and Bangladesh, with his 22 victims in the latter series eclipsing a 130-year Australian record for the most wickets in a two-Test series. An integral part of Australia's Ashes triumph, Lyon has been the standout bowler of the year.

11. Jimmy Anderson (ENG)

M: 11 | W: 55 | Ave: 17.58 | BB: 7-42 | 5w: 4 | 10w: 0

Anderson claims maiden five-wicket haul in Australia

England's best performer with the ball through the first four Magellan Ashes Tests with 16 wickets at 26, Anderson has had another stellar year, his best since collecting 57 scalps in 2010. The right-armer ran rampant during the northern summer with 39 wickets in seven Tests against South Africa and West Indies, while England's tour of Australia might have been truly disastrous without the efforts of their most experienced paceman. Despite his advancing years (he turned 35 in July), England's all-time leading wicket-taker remains a force in Test cricket.

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test Australia won by an innings and 41 runs. Scorecard

Fourth Test Match drawn. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Scorecard

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21