Top 5 most runs in test matches for England

Joe Root and Alastair Cook bathe in champagne. Most runs in test for England as of 2020.

Who has scored the most runs in test matches for England?

Surely Joe Root makes the list?  Surely, in most runs in test matches? Right?

Joe Root has amassed tons of runs for England since his debut in 2012. He is currently England’s premier batsman along with Ben Stokes.

Joe Root has scored over 7500 test match runs until date.

However, England first played a test match in 1877 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Since then, England has played the most number of test matches in test history, with Australia in second place.

So, in a time span of 143 years of cricket, who are England’s greatest test run scorers of all time? Does Joe Root make the list?


Alastair Cook – #1 most runs in test matches for England

Alastair Cook has scored the most test runs for England in their history
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 27: Alastair Cook of England celebrates making his century during day two of the Fourth Test Match in the 2017/18 Ashes series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The genius opener.

Alastair Cook was born on the 25th of December 1984. To date, he remains England’s highest run-scorer by some distance. He also remains the highest run-scorer for any opening batsman in test match history. Cook ended his test career the same way he began it – with a test century against India.

Top 2 Innings

Alastair Cook’s 235 at Brisbane surely has to rank as his best ever test innings. He batted for 428 deliveries to ensure that England would draw the test match – despite trailing heavily from the first innings. He went on to record two further centuries that tour but more importantly, the marathon innings “took the winds out of Australia’s sail”. Lastly, it set up England for a famous 3-1 series win down under – their first since 1986/87.

Alastair Cook’s 122 at Mumbai also set up a famous series win for England in India in 2012/13. He batted marvellously along with Kevin Pietersen, on a pitch that was described by some critics as a “bunsen burner” because of the sharp spin and bounce. Throughout his career, he remained an excellent player of spin and a result scored heavily on the subcontinent.

Arguably England’s best ever batsman.


Graham Gooch

Graham Gooch scored over 8000 runs in tests for England between 1976 and 1995.
England captain Graham Gooch batting as England follow on in the 4th Test match between England and Australia at Headingley, Leeds, 25th July 1993. The wicketkeeper for Australia is Ian Healy. Australia won the match by an innings and 148 runs. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Perhaps the greatest England player of pace bowling.

Graham Gooch was born in 1953 in Essex. He was England’s highest run-scorer until he was overtaken by Cook in 2016. His international career lasted nearly two decades and he even performed better as he became more experienced. Captaincy bought the best out of Graham Gooch – who had a fairytale finish to his career in test cricket.

Top 2 Innings

Graham Gooch’s 154 at Headingley is arguably the greatest innings played of all-time. On a difficult pitch which had seam, swing and bounce he scored over 60% of England’s runs in their second innings. This carried England to a famous victory against the West Indies. The bowling attack was a lethal one – with Malcolm Marshall, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh all featuring.

Graham Gooch also scored a fabulous 333 versus India and followed up with a century in the second innings of that same game. This remains the highest score by an individual player at Lords. His strike rate was nearly 70 – an amazing feat for batting in the time that Gooch was playing.

Also, Read – Top 3 West Indies Cricket Players to watch out for


Alec Stewart

Alec Stewart amassed over 8000 test runs for England and played until the age of 40.
Alec Stewart of England leaves the field after his last batting innings during the 5th Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval, London, 6th September 2003. England won the match by 9 wickets. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

England’s most reliable batsman of the 1990s

Alec Stewart scored the most Test runs by any batsman in the 1990s. He was a dominant batsman and wicketkeeper. In fact, he was always assured of his place in an England side struggling for consistency. He retired from test cricket at the age of 40 in 2003. He was a versatile batsman who could bat in the lower order or open the innings.

Top 2 Innings

The twin centuries at the Kensington Oval is perhaps what Alec Stewart will forever be remembered for. On a poor tour for England in 1994, Alec Stewart helped his country to victory in the fourth test match by scoring a century in each innings. This was against a fearsome bowling attacking, which included Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and the two Benjamins.

Both the 107 and the 50 that he scored at the Melbourne Cricket Ground resulted in a famous win for England down under in 1998/99. They lost the series 3-1 and this game was their only bright spot. His 107 and 50 paved the way for England to win the game by 12 runs. This game is perhaps better remembered for Dean Headley’s six wickets in Australia’s second innings.


David Gower
David Gower was perhaps England's most elegant test batsman.
David Gower batting for England during his innings of 157 not out in the 3rd Test match between England and India at The Oval, London, 28th August 1990. The wicketkeeper for India is Kiran More. The match ended in a draw. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The elegant batsman

David Gower was born on 1 April 1957. He was one of the most elegant batsmen of his time and perhaps one of England’s best ever captains. He scored over 8000 runs for England at an average of 44.25. Gower captained England to their successful 1985 Ashes series win.

Top 2 Innings

The 215 Gower scored at Edgbaston in the 1985 Ashes helped England to win The Ashes. He combined in huge stands with both Tim Robinson and Mike Gatting to help England score over 500. England won the test series 3-1 and Gower’s innings helped to win the series.

He also scored a fantastic 106 vs Australia at Lords in 1989 when England was struggling in that series and that game. Gower often played his best cricket against Australia. He played a staggering 42 games against Australia and scored over 3000 runs – putting him top 5 on the list of highest Ashes run scorers. He also scored those runs at a healthy average of 44.78.


Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen was England's most flamboyant test batsman. His test runs were mostly in match-winning causes.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 26: Kevin Pietersen of England hits the ball during day one of the Fourth Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

England’s best batsman of the modern era.

Kevin Pietersen scored 8181 test match runs at an average of 47.28 in 104 test matches for England.

Kevin Pietersen was wrongly axed from the England team after the disastrous 2013/14 Ashes series – despite being their highest runscorer. He often had a lack of trust with some players from his own team and management. However, this did not stop him from being England’s greatest batsmen ever perhaps. A player who was equally adept to playing both pace and spin.

Top 2 Innings

186 at Mumbai. Unarguably the greatest innings by a visiting batsman in Asia in the modern era. He combined with Alastair Cook to demolish India’s spinners and pave the way for a famous victory in both the test and the series. He batted with dominance. Pietersen drove and pulled the spinners for boundaries at will.

227 at Adelaide. Despite struggling previously for form, he played a magnificent innings at Adelaide in the 2010/11 Ashes to help England win down under for the first time since 1986/87. His authority meant that no Australian bowler could get on top of him. Graham Ford, his mentor had helped him with his technique prior to this series. He managed to align his head position perfectly while batting in this innings.

Alastair Cook, Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, David Gower and Kevin Pietersen have scored the most runs in test matches for England.

The Past and the Future

Joe Root has been a fantastic batsman for England since 2012. There is no doubt that he will surpass most of the batsmen on the list. It is also very likely that he will surpass Alastair Cook and become England Cricket’s top run-scorer of all-time. He is only 29 years of age and still has at least five years of cricket left.

Opinion – I watched both Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen throughout their careers. They were two of the greatest and most elegant batsmen that I have ever seen. Both contributed heavily to some of England Cricket’s greatest ever test and series victories. The series wins down under in 2010/11 and in India in 2012/13 were perhaps two of English Cricket’s finest ever wins.

Both played huge parts in those wins and therefore both Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen will remain two of England’s best ever batsmen. Pietersen’s bravery and tenacity are likely to be unmatched in future batsmen. He had such an immense self-belief in his own ability. Alastair Cook was England’s rock at the top of the order. He could bat for prolonged periods of time and set up a foundation for the “stroke players” to weave their magic.

Two of England’s Greats.



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