The test format is the most difficult format for each player. Be it a batter or a bowler, the different venues challenge the players with different conditions. The extra bounce in Australia, the pace and swing in nations like South Africa, England, and New Zealand, and at last, the turn and bounce in the subcontinent, highly challenges the batters. The format is played over a period of five days and it makes it even more challenging. Great batters like Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, and Graeme Smith have faced the challenge of the new ball in various conditions. As an opener in the longest format, the batter is given the responsibility to give a formidable start to his team, and here are the top 10 openers with the most test runs.

1. Alastair Cook

Known as ‘Sir Alastair Cook,’ the former English batter was arguably his nation’s best opening batter. To be able to pay that freely in English conditions where the ball doesn’t stop doing much was in itself an achievement. The left-handed batter played his shots with “class” written on them. His gift of timing the ball alongside his calmness made him one of the best test batters to ever grace the sport of cricket. Also, a former skipper for England across formats, Cook led his nation to many famous victories. He scored 11845 runs which is the most by any test opener.

2. Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar was one of the best Indian openers. Originally known as the “little master,’ Gavaskar was a former right-handed opening batter for India. He made his Test debut against the mighty West Indies in 1971 and proved his mettle as an opening batter. A daring batter who defined grit and determination was India’s best asset in the early 1970s. Batting without a helmet against the best bowling attack of the West Indies was something to admire. He was a difficult batter to dismiss and priced his wicket immensely unlike many others. Gavaskar made 9607 runs as an opener including 33 out of the total 34 centuries he scored.

3. Graeme Smith

One of the finest left-handed batters to play for South Africa, Graeme Smith, was a former player and skipper for his nation. His batting master class was just too much for the bowlers of the opposition. To be an opening batter in South Africa is not as easy as Smith made it look like. As a captain, his decision to play an aggressive brand of cricket repaid fortunes. Smith made his test debut against Australia in 2002 at home. He established himself as a young prodigy in the team and continues making runs consistently. Smith played 12 years for his nation in the longest format and made 9030 runs as an opener.

4. Matthew Hayden

To play with an attacking approach irrespective of the format, made Matthew Hayden, one of the most feared batters in world cricket.  Hayden was a former Australian batter who played at many positions for his team including the opening position as well. His bat swing with minimal foot movement helped him whack many bowlers around the world. He made his test debut against South Africa in 1994. The fearless batter had the reputation of charging down at the fast bowlers and smashing them everywhere. He scored 8625 runs as an opener in test cricket.

5. David Warner

Another solid opener for Australia, David Warner, is one of the best batters in world cricket across formats. His ability to adapt to situations quickly and score big runs consistently has made him one of the finest of this generation. The Southpaw made his test debut against New Zealand at the Gabba in 2011 and looked a promising young player. Warner has made immense contributions to his nation over the years. Also, a gun fielder, he plays with full commitment and passion. He has scored 8448 runs as an opener in the test format.

6. Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag was a former opener for India across formats. The dynamic right-handed batter was the first Indian to score 300 in a test innings. He achieved this feat against the arch-rivals Pakistan. The batter used to give tremendous starts to the team and played with an attacking mindset. He notched up 8297 runs as an opener in the longest format of the game.

7. Geoff Boycott

One of the most renowned cricketers in England, Sir Geoffery Boycott, was a former right-handed batter for his nation. He made his test debut against Australia in 1974 at the Trent Bridge. Boycott scored 22 hundreds in his test career and all came while opening the innings in the longest format. He also made 8091 runs as an opener.

8. Graham Gooch

Another fine English cricketer who represented his nation for 20-long-years, Graham Gooch, was a former right-handed batter for his team. He made his test debut against the arch-rivals Australia in 1975 at the Edgbaston. He held the record of scoring a hundred first-class centuries. The batter was a true gem and a prolific run scorer for England in tests. He scored 7811 runs as an opener for England.

9. Mark Taylor

The former left-handed batter from New South Wales was the epitome of mental stamina and determination. The gritty batter made his Test debut against the West Indies in 1989 at the SCG. Taylor carried forward the Aussie legacy and established Australia among the greatest of teams. He scored 7525 runs and nineteen 100s as an opener in the longest format.

10. Gordon Greenidge

Gordon Greenidge was the most formidable opener for the West Indies in both formats of the game. He made his test debut against India in 1974 at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru. He formed the best opening pair with Desmond Haynes and both whacked many world-class bowlers. He scored a century on his test debut against India and helped his team win by a big margin of 267 runs. Greenidge made 7488 runs as an opener in the test format.