Azhar Ali: Pakistan's Most Prolific Top-Three Batter

Over the course of his 12-year Test career for Pakistan, Azhar Ali has established himself as one of the most prolific top-order batters in the history of Pakistan cricket. Let's delve into the key statistics and milestones that define his remarkable journey.

Azhar Ali’s batting consistency has seen him accumulate more Test runs than all but four other Pakistan batters.

A Test of Patience 

One of Azhar Ali's defining traits is his ability to occupy the crease with remarkable patience. An astonishing 34.4% of his Test innings have seen him face 100 or more balls, the highest percentage by any batter since his debut. In a total of 63 innings, Azhar's tenacity and focus have shone through, putting him second on the list for most such innings, just behind Joe Root.

Azhar Ali Batting: A Prolific Run-Scorer 

Azhar Ali's run tally in Test cricket stands at an impressive 7079 runs, making him one of the select few to breach the 7000-run mark for Pakistan in this format. His 19 centuries also place him fifth on the list of Pakistan's highest century-makers in Test cricket.

The Record-Breaker 

In 2016, Azhar Ali made history with a monumental 302* against the West Indies, becoming one of only four Pakistani batters to score a Test triple century and achieving the second-highest individual score in a pink-ball Test.

Dismissal Ratio Excellence 

The resilience of Azhar Ali’s batting and his ability to stay at the crease is reflected in his balls-per-dismissal ratio, which stands at a commendable 101.6 in Test cricket. This figure ranks fourth among all batters with 100 or more innings since his debut, with only Younis Khan boasting a better ratio during this period for Pakistan.

A Memorable Year 

In 2016, Azhar Ali’s batting was particularly productive as he amassed 1198 Test runs, the second-highest by anyone for Pakistan in a calendar year, trailing only Mohammad Yousuf's exceptional 1788 runs in 2006. Azhar Ali faced a staggering 2569 balls during this year, the second-highest for Pakistan in a single year, second only to Yousuf's 2854 in 2006.

A Three-Year Purple Patch 

Between October 2014 and September 2017, Azhar Ali enjoyed a batting average of 57.25 in Test cricket. In 52 innings, he notched up nine centuries and 11 fifties. Only three players managed to score 1500-plus runs at a better batting average during this three-year span.

Consistency Personified 

Azhar Ali’s batting has been a remarkably reliable presence for Pakistan. Since his debut in July 2010, he has missed just six Test matches, showcasing his commitment and durability. Only one player with 50 or more Test caps for Pakistan, Hanif Mohammad, missed fewer Tests during his 17-year career.

From No. 3 to Opening 

Azhar Ali’s batting versatility is evident in his 37 innings as an opener, comprising 20.8% of his Test appearances, a feat surpassed by only two others, David Boon and Alec Stewart, among players batting at No. 3 or lower at least 100 times in Test cricket.

Embracing the Opening Role 

In November 2015, during the Test series against England, Azhar Ali embraced opening despite limited Test experience, performing well with an average of 59.08 between 2015 and 2017, ranking second among openers with 500+ runs.

A Top-Order Giant 

The prominence of Azhar Ali’s batting in the top three positions while batting in Test cricket is unparalleled. His 6853 runs in these positions are the highest by any batter for Pakistan, significantly surpassing the next highest, Younis Khan, by 2798 runs. Azhar's 5297 runs at No. 3 alone place him seventh on the list of the highest run-scorers in that position in Test cricket.

In summary, the illustrious Test career of Azhar Ali is a testament to his skill, consistency, and adaptability. He has not only been a cornerstone of Pakistan's batting lineup but has also left an indelible mark on the history of Test cricket, both as a run-scorer and an opening batsman.

What is Azhar Ali's highest Test score?
Azhar Ali has scored 302* against West Indies, which is his highest yet. 
How often does Azhar Ali face 100-plus balls in Test innings?
In Test Cricket, Azhar Ali has faced 100-plus balls in an innings 34.4% of the time.
How many Test centuries does Azhar Ali have?
Azhar Ali has scored 19 centuries in Test cricket so far.