England's best cricket Test XI: Fans vote for their favourite ever side ahead of 1000th Test

England fans voted for their best ever Test team
England fans voted for their best ever Test team

England fans have voted for the nation's best ever Test XI, with current stars Joe Root, Alastair Cook and James Anderson all making the cut alongside favourite faces from the past.

A survey completed by 6,108 supporters ahead of this week's historic 1,000th Test for the England men's team came up with the side, which was drawn from a shortlist of more than 100 options.

As England's record run scorer, most prolific century-maker and most capped Test cricketer Cook earned his place alongside Yorkshire great Sir Leonard Hutton, while Anderson's status as the country's leading wicket-taker guaranteed him a place in a lethal pace attack.

He joins Fred Trueman and Bob Willis, supplemented by Sir Ian Botham - whose status as England's greatest all-rounder remains unchallenged.

David Gower and Kevin Pietersen took numbers three and four in the batting line-up, Alan Knott won the battle for the wicketkeeping gloves and Graeme Swann saw off all-comers among spin bowlers.

Great players who failed to gain selection

As ever, though, most fierce debate might concern those who did not get the call.

W.G. Grace only played 22 Tests, the last of which in 1899, but is one of the sport's most influential figures, while Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart occupy numbers two and three on England's run-scoring charts.

Scroll down for more unlucky greats

Geoffrey Boycott, Wally Hammond, Sir Jack Hobbs, Denis Compton and Ken Barrington are among the undisputed batting greats to miss out, while the likes of Jim Laker, Derek Underwood, Sydney Barnes and Stuart Broad all had compelling cases.

A celebration of the team will take place on Friday at Edgbaston, the third day of the first Specsavers Test against India.



Current England captain Joe Root said: "To be selected in the best ever England men's Test XI side by cricket fans across the country is incredibly humbling.

"When I think of some of the incredible players who haven't made the cut, legends of the game such as Denis Compton and Wally Hammond, I'm not sure I would have voted for myself, but I certainly want to thank the fans for thinking of me.

"It's great to see my current team-mates Alastair Cook and James Anderson be recognised for their contributions to England Test cricket too."

England's milestones and facts ahead of 1,000th Test

England's first Test against India will be their 1,000th in all since facing Australia in the first ever Test in 1877.

The Three Lions have 357 wins to their name in that time, with 297 defeats and 345 draws.

Opposition

England have played Tests against nine different opponents - Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Their best winning records, perhaps unsurprisingly, have come against Bangladesh (nine out of 10) and Zimbabwe (played six, won three and drawn three).

The next best is against New Zealand (46.6 per cent) while their 36.8 per cent win rate against upcoming opponents India is in the middle of the pack, just ahead of their 31.2 per cent against old foes Australia.

Pakistan have proved England's toughest opponents, with just 25 wins in 81 meetings (30.1 per cent).

Era

England's win percentage dropped from 41.2 in 243 Tests before the second World War to 34 per cent in 756 post-war matches.

In an encouraging return to form, the 2000s was their best decade by winning percentage (42.6) since the 1950s (47 per cent), and they have surpassed that mark again since 2010 with a 43.4 per cent win rate up to the start of the India series.

England's most successful decade ever was the 1910s, when they won two thirds of their 21 Tests.

Captains

Alastair Cook captained England in more Tests than any other player, 59, with Michael Atherton, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss also reaching 50 games in charge.

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook has captained England more times than any other player

Vaughan had the best win rate of the quartet at 51 per cent, including leading England to their memorable 2005 Ashes win over Australia.

Five men managed a win rate of 50 per cent or better in at least 10 Tests as skipper, with the best mark belonging to WG Grace at 61.5 per cent (eight out of 13).

Batting

Cook's record 12,145 Test runs for England is more than 3,000 clear of second-placed Graham Gooch (8,900), and he also has comfortably the most Test centuries - nine clear on 32.

Twenty-two players have scored over 5,000 Test runs for England while 48 have averaged 40 or above, with nine breaking the 50 barrier.

England batsmen have made 856 centuries, including 57 double-hundreds and five triples - Len Hutton against Australia in 1938, Wally Hammond against New Zealand in 1933, Gooch against India in 1990, Andy Sandham against the West Indies in 1930 and John Edrich against New Zealand in 1965.

Bowling

James Anderson and Stuart Broad lead the way in terms of wickets for England with 540 and 417 respectively.

Ian Botham (383), Bob Willis (325) and Fred Trueman (307) are the other players to break the 300 barrier with England's all-time leading spinner, Derek Underwood, just outside at 297. Fifteen players in all have taken 200 or more, with 46 reaching three figures.

James Anderson: England's leading Test wicket taker
James Anderson: England's leading Test wicket taker

With a cut-off of at least 2,000 balls bowled, 24 players have bowling averages under 25 and eight have broken under 20, led by George Lohmann with 112 wickets at 10.75 between 1886 and 1896. Anderson's 27.23 is the best average in the current squad.

Six of England's iconic Tests

It's almost impossible to pick the most memorable Tests from 999 and many fans will have totally different selections. But here's six which are in some ways more notable than others.

1882 - v Australia at The Oval, lost by seven runs

Where it all began... incongruous perhaps to start with a first ever home defeat, but Australia's shock two-day victory was the birth of the Ashes. Even WG Grace could not defy the demon Fred Spofforth, with his 14 wickets in the match - and as the satirists published their mock obituary for English cricket, history was made.

1902 - v Australia at The Oval, won by one wicket

England had dominated the early Ashes series. But by the time they reached this fifth Test, the urn was already back in Australia's possession. The tourists had Victor Trumper at the top of their batting order, but England held the ace with the big-hitting Gilbert Jessop down at number seven. His century rescued their run chase from 48 for five - and Yorkshire pair George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes famously did the rest... 'nobbut just', though.

1938 - v Australia at The Oval, won by an innings and 579 runs

Same time, late August, same place - 36 years on - step forward another Yorkshireman. Len Hutton, however, was not just another but first among equals, as his world-record innings of 364 was about to prove. The opener faced 847 balls and batted for 797 minutes before he was finally sixth out in a mammoth 903 for seven declared. It took almost 60 years for any Test team to make more, and it was 20 before Garfield Sobers usurped Hutton with his unbeaten 365. England's huge margin of victory still stands alone.

1981 - v Australia at Headingley, won by 18 runs

England were 500/1 to beat Australia at Headingly in 1981!
England were 500/1 to beat Australia at Headingly in 1981!

The daddy of them all. Botham's Ashes did not get started until the third Test of six in Leeds - although what preceded the match is all part of the legend. After a torrid winter in the West Indies, defeat at Trent Bridge and then Ian Botham's pair in a Lord's draw, Mike Brearley took over as captain. All went pretty badly for three and a half days - until, in trouble again following on, Botham took over with his unbeaten 149 and Bob Willis capped the most astounding comeback win by taking eight for 43 on the final day.

England memorable defeated Australia at Headingly in 1981!
England memorable defeated Australia at Headingly in 1981!

2005 - v Australia at Edgbaston, won by two runs

Another Ashes epic for the ages, kick-starting a riveting summer which saw Michael Vaughan's England win back the urn after 18 years. Modern enthusiasts will know all about this one, Andrew Flintoff with his consoling hand on a stooped Brett Lee's shoulder as the Australian came to terms with his fellow tailender Michael Kasprowicz's dismissal caught-behind down the leg-side off Steve Harmison. England were level, by very nearly the narrowest of margins, after Australia's resilience fell short at the last despite putting on 104 runs for their last two wickets.

Andrew Flintoff sportingly consoles Brett Lee in 2005
Andrew Flintoff sportingly consoles Brett Lee in 2005

2012 - v India in Mumbai, won by 10 wickets

Against this summer's opponents, it was the mercurial Kevin Pietersen and England's all-time record run-scorer Alastair Cook who both batted brilliantly at the Wankhede Stadium to set up a highly improbable win. England had lost the first Test of four in Ahmedabad by nine wickets, despite a fine Cook rearguard in the second innings. This time, he and Pietersen did the business at their first attempt. In a double-century third-wicket stand, Pietersen especially played one of his greatest innings - reward for Cook's pragmatic decision to ensure his recall after a vexed summer. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann then spun India out a second time, precursor to England's first series win in India since 1984-85.

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