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Best Test opener of the 21st Century?

Out of this quartet of prolific openers, who was the best?


  • Total voters
    55

Coronis

International Vice-Captain
Smith Hayden Sehwag. 2 home track bullies and an away track bully. Hard to split. Cook well below em.
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
So people are going to point out that Hayden did poorly in the dozen matches he played in the 90s. However, this is best of them out of 21st century. In that period, Hayden is averaging about 54, with Smith and Sehwag coming in at about 48 and 49 respectively.

5-6 runs is an absolute gulf if you're trying to justify the lower scoring one is somehow better. I don't think there's a real adequate argument here, even given away record as there's no reason that Smith should have averaged 41.5 at home, if he's that ****ing class to play in all conditions, as opposed to the alternative, in there being a bit of noise in the home-away splits.
 

BazBall21

State Vice-Captain
So people are going to point out that Hayden did poorly in the dozen matches he played in the 90s. However, this is best of them out of 21st century. In that period, Hayden is averaging about 54, with Smith and Sehwag coming in at about 48 and 49 respectively.

5-6 runs is an absolute gulf if you're trying to justify the lower scoring one is somehow better. I don't think there's a real adequate argument here, even given away record as there's no reason that Smith should have averaged 41.5 at home, if he's that ****ing class to play in all conditions, as opposed to there being a bit of noise in the home-away splits.
Sorry but I just mean who is the best opener between them, not specifically who did the best in the 2000s, I used the 21st century to club them together as Hayden played nearly all of his Tests in the 2000s anyway.
 

shortpitched713

International Regular
Sorry but I just mean who is the best opener between them, not specifically who did the best in the 2000s, I used the 21st century to club them together as Hayden played nearly all of his Tests in the 2000s anyway.
Okay, I still go Hayden then, but it is a bit closer with the others in that case.
 

BazBall21

State Vice-Captain
Answer is probably Hayden for me.

Cook is some way off the other three. His record against quality pace is yikes.
Sehwag averages below 30 in three countries. That is hard to look past in a batting era.
Smith averages 34 at home against top six opponents. The other three being minnow bowling teams. That is too low imo.
 

subshakerz

International Captain
It's really between Hayden and Smith. I will go for Smith. I think averaging 41 as opener at home is fine, it's the hardest job in cricket. Unlike the others, he wasn't as bad in swinging conditions, which for an opener seeing off the swinging new ball is half your job.

Smith also has 4 matchwinning fourth innings knocks and never lost a match when he scored a ton. Champion.
 

subshakerz

International Captain
Answer is probably Hayden for me.

Cook is some way off the other three. His record against quality pace is yikes.
Sehwag averages below 30 in three countries. That is hard to look past in a batting era.
Smith averages 34 at home against top six opponents. The other three being minnow bowling teams. That is too low imo.
Hayden averaged 35, 34 and 28 in Eng, SA and NZ, which seems worse to me than Smith not doing well as opener in SA. In fact, I am pretty sure Hayden played that long in SA his record would be worse than Smith's.
 

BazBall21

State Vice-Captain
Hayden averaged 35, 34 and 28 in Eng, SA and NZ, which seems worse to me than Smith not doing well as opener in SA. In fact, I am pretty sure Hayden played that long in SA his record would be worse than Smith's.
Not Hayden’s biggest fan but his average in SA is quite unlucky. In two of his tours there he contributed significantly in the first two tests, both in series-clinching causes, then failed in the third Test, both times after the result was secured. Think he was probably better than Smith in SA tbh. Smith better in England.
 

subshakerz

International Captain
My general sense is that Smith faced a lot more pressure as both captain and opening bat to do well than Sehwag and Hayden who were given more of a free hand by their teams to play loosely as they liked.

Hence they could tolerate them sucking when the ball swung as they were the first line of attack, while Smith felt like the first line of defense opposition needed to go through to beat SA.

Imagine if you had a weak middle order? Hayden and Sehwag would be much more of liabilities then.
 

BazBall21

State Vice-Captain
My general sense is that Smith faced a lot more pressure as both captain and opening bat to do well than Sehwag and Hayden who were given more of a free hand by their teams to play loosely as they liked.

Hence they could tolerate them sucking when the ball swung as they were the first line of attack, while Smith felt like the first line of defense opposition needed to go through to beat SA.

Imagine if you had a weak middle order? Hayden and Sehwag would be much more of liabilities then.
Yeah Smith vs Hayden is close. Both definitely ahead of the other two. Smith did very well in England/NZ but struggled at times against swing at home.
 

Migara

Cricketer Of The Year
Can we throw Gautham Gambhir in? Averages 42, but has only two countries (Aus and Eng) where he performed badly. In all other conditions he averages 39+

Hard to believe such a quality opener was dropped at his 33rd birthday.
 

h_hurricane

International Vice-Captain
Smith is clearly the best of the quartet. He could be relied to perform across a wider variety of conditions compared to others. Cook clearly the 4th.

Between Sehwag and Hayden, the Indian opener was an asian track bully, but hardly a minnow basher. Hayden was both a home track bully as well as a minnow basher. I would go with Sehwag for the 2nd position.

So Smith > Sehwag > Hayden > Cook imo.
 

OverratedSanity

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I'd go Smith > Sehwag ~ Hayden > Cook. All very good but Smith had the best overall package. Runs across conditions, a number of iconic innings and consistency over a number of years. I don't really know how exactly to even evaluate sehwag in such comparisons, the guy was such a freak that it makes no sense to evaluate him by normal parameters.
 

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