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Touring giants: an XI of visiting players who have dominated in England this century

England XI Visiting Players
by Wisden Staff 15 minute read

We’ve put together an XI of players based on performances against England in the United Kingdom this century.

Representatives from South Africa, India, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan make up the side, with all of these players having made a strong impression on the Test scene in England.

Statistics are for Test matches against England in the United Kingdom in the 21st century:

Graeme Smith (c) – South Africa

12 Tests, 1,355 runs @ 67.75, 5 100s

Smith rocked up to England in the summer of 2003 as a 22-year-old skipper and was simply sublime in the opening exchanges. Across his first three innings of a five-match series, he accumulated 621 runs, with a knock of 85 sandwiched between two double-centuries. He led the Proteas to series wins in England in 2008 and 2012, celebrating his final victory in the country with the ICC Test mace in his hands.

Rahul Dravid – India

11 Tests, 1,189 runs @ 69.94, 6 100s

While Dravid led India to a 1-0 series win in England in 2007, he thrived as a batsman in 2002 and 2011. The Wall averaged 100.33 in India’s first Test visit to England this century and emerged with enormous credit nine years later, as his teammates faltered in a 4-0 series defeat. As an opener in that 2011 series, Dravid averaged 79.50, hitting two hundreds and carrying his bat with an unbeaten 146 at The Oval.

Hashim Amla – South Africa

11 Tests, 1,086 runs @ 60.33, 3 100s

Amla took a particular liking to Lord’s during his Test tours of England, twice putting his name on the Honours Board at HQ. But his finest moment came south of the river, when he crushed the hosts with an unbeaten 529-ball 311 at The Oval in 2012. It remains the highest score by a South African in Test cricket.

Steve Smith – Australia

14 Tests, 1,627 runs @ 65.08, 6 100s

England has seen various iterations of Smith. In 2010, he took on Pakistan as a fresh-faced leg-spinning all-rounder, but returned three years later as an up-and-coming specialist batsman who registered his maiden Test century at The Oval. Establishing himself as one of the best batsmen in the world, he registered two centuries – and four consecutive single-figure scores – at the 2015 Ashes. Four years later, back from his sandpaper gate ban, he was sublime, registering 774 runs across six innings and failing to go past fifty in just one of them.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul – West Indies

13 Tests, 1,296 runs @ 68.21, 3 100s

In a struggling side, Chanderpaul stood a class apart. At Lord’s in 2004, he put up 225 runs across two innings without being dismissed, and three years later he reached 50 in all five of his innings in the series as West Indies crumbled to a 3-0 defeat. Thirty-seven years young, he had room for one more fine showing at Lord’s in 2012, following up an unbeaten 87 in the first innings with a 250-ball 91 in his second.

Mohammad Yousuf – Pakistan

8 Tests, 815 runs @ 54.33, 3 100s

Yousuf struggled for runs in 2001 and 2010, but his returns in-between were monstrous. In 2006, when he broke the record for the most Test runs in a calendar year, he contributed 631 across four Tests in England, beginning his series with a double-century at Lord’s and closing it with a knock of 128 at The Oval.

AB de Villiers (wk) – South Africa

7 Tests, 545 runs @ 54.50, 1 100 | 9 dismissals

Though he starred as a specialist batsman in 2008  – after a match-winning 174 at Headingley he fell three runs short of a century at The Oval – de Villiers kept wicket for the Proteas when they climbed to the top of the world rankings in the summer of 2012. In the opening match of the series, he pouched eight catches in a thumping innings victory, while contributing handy cameos with the bat followed in a 2-0 win.

Shane Warne – Australia

10 Tests, 71 wickets @ 19.39, 6 5-fors

The game’s finest leg-spinner spun Australia to a series win in 2001 but was arguably better in a losing cause four years later, delivering 40 wickets in a 2-1 series defeat. No-one has more wickets against England in England this century.

Mohammad Amir – Pakistan

10 Tests, 38 wickets @ 26.50, 2 5-fors

A teenage wunderkind, the moment that changed Amir’s life forever came at Lord’s in 2010, when he overstepped the line – literally – and was subsequently banned for spot-fixing. Still, he was able to muster fond memories of the country during his international career, taking the winning wicket at St John’s Wood in 2016 and five scalps when Pakistan secured another victory at the same ground two years later.

Glenn McGrath – Australia

8 Tests, 51 wickets @ 19.25, 6 5-fors

A master of the Lord’s slope, McGrath was exceptional on the opening day of the 2005 Ashes, taking the first five English wickets of the series with a seam-bowling masterclass. It simply followed up on his exploits in 2001, when his 32 wickets in the series came at a lowly average of 16.93.

Courtney Walsh – West Indies

5 Tests, 34 wickets @ 12.82, 2 5-fors

Closing in on the end of an illustrious career, Walsh had time for a phenomenal final show in England. Across five Tests in the summer of 2000, he collected 34 wickets at an astonishing average of 12.82, with his economy rate below two. Though West Indies succumbed to a 3-1 series defeat, Walsh masterminded their solitary win, taking eight wickets for the cost of just 58 runs.

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