I think Barry Richards is most probably the second greatest batsman of all time. But 4 tests isn't enough.
Sutcliffe by all accounts 'nudged' his runs, albeit a lot of them. On-the-other-hand Bradman himself, Hobbs. Sobers, Pollock, Richards, Lara throttled the attack, and scored to all points of the ground.
In other words, truly great batsman are aggressive, attacking, and have a wide range of shots by definition (IMO).
Viv was one of the most aggressive batsmen we've ever seen, but he did decline quite a bit towards the end of his career. It has to be Sobers for me.
In others words, we can observe a batsman in action and conclude that his technique, skill, and ability is superb, and therefore one of the best in his trade. However, until he performs over a wide range of Test match conditions we can never say that he is great.
Sorry for being pedantic over the definition of best and greatest, but its always bugged me.
Abul Hasan...Averaging 82+ with the bat batting at no 9 position.
Garfield Sobers' six sixes in an over, Glam. v Notts., Swansea, 1968 - YouTube
This man is my vote. Also I played against Malcolm Nash years later and you simply did not discuss "the over" with him. Yet the incident defined his life and that was how he was known in our league.
I'd go with Tendi due to his great record and the amount he has played. Plus he has played against all the top bowling in the 90s and 00s. Can't say the same for others (Viv never got to compete against his own quicks, Ponting against Warne and McGrath, Lara against Ambrose, etc).
He also played on the most placid home tracks and the most of any of those listed againts minnows. It balances out.
Also the 70's and 80's had other great bowlers other than the W.I attack and similarily for the 90's and the Australian duo and Ambrose.
Was split between Hobbs and Sobers but I went for Sobers but only just.
Hobbs scored runs everywhere and on all kinds of pitches for donkey's years so I'd in all honesty probably put them as equal.
I still believe that you can compare Bradman and Grace, but this is not the time to pick over that one again.
As to the best Watson makes a valid point - having seen him a few times in action, and rather more often on TV, I can't believe there has ever been a better batsman than Barry Richards
But ignoring Grace who is the second greatest? I'd go for Len Hutton just, from Garry Sobers