2017-18 Ashes set to break 32-all historical deadlock

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By , Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert


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    Much has been written on the Ashes, with the next instalment coming up in the Australian summer. But did you know that the Ashes wins are currently tied 32-all?

    Of the 69 Ashes series, Australia has won 32 times, England 32 times with five series drawn. So the 2017-18 series starting in Brisbane in November will decide the winner.

    Although England holds the Ashes, having won 3-2 in England in 2015, Australia had whitewashed them 5-0 in Australia in 2013-14. Australia has won significantly more Tests in Australia and England marginally more in England.

    Australia has won 91 Tests in Australia, lost 57 with 27 drawn. England has won 51 Tests in England, lost 49 with 66 drawn.

    » 2017 Ashes Fixtures

    In all, Australia leads England having won 140 Tests, lost 108 and drawn 93 of the 341 played since 1876-77.

    These statistics include 15 Tests where Ashes were not at stake. The legend of Ashes was born after the August 1882 Test at The Oval in London.

    Nine Tests played before 1882 were not played for the Ashes. This includes the inaugural Test in Melbourne in March 1877 which Australia had won by 45 runs.

    The following six Tests between Australia and England after 1882 were not played for Ashes:

    • The Centenary Test played in Melbourne in March 1977 which coincidentally Australia also won by 45 runs.
    • The three 1979-80 Tests in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne which Australia won by 138 runs, six wickets and eight wickets, respectively. The Ashes were not at stake because the series consisted of only three Tests.
    • The drawn Centenary Test at Lord’s in 1980 and
    • The drawn Bicentenary1987-88 Test in Sydney to celebrate 200 years of Australian white settlement.

    Below are the records in Tests between Australia and England.

    Sir Donald Bradman is the el supremo having scored most runs (5028) in 37 Tests at the highest average (89.78) and hitting most centuries (19) with the highest score (HS) of 334 at Leeds in 1930.

    Only England’s opener Len Hutton had registered a higher individual score in the Ashes, 364 at The Oval in 1938.

    Bradman is the only one to hit two triple centuries, 304 also at Leeds in 1934. The other two triple centurions are from Australia: Bob Simpson, 311 at Manchester in 1964 and Bob Cowper, 307 at Melbourne in 1965-66.

    The others to aggregate over 3000 runs are:
    • England’s Sir Jack Hobbs (3636 runs at 54.26 in 41 Tests with 12 centuries, HS 187),
    • Australia’s Allan Border (3548 runs at 56.31 in 47 Tests with eight centuries, HS 200 not out),
    • England’s David Gower (3269 runs at 44.78 in 42 Tests with nine centuries, HS 215) and
    • Australia’s Steve Waugh (3200 runs at 58.18 in 46 Tests with 10 centuries, HS 177 not out).

    Among current cricketers England’s Alastair Cook is the only one to aggregate over 2000 runs, 2117 at 39.20 in 30 Tests with four centuries, HS 235 not out.

    The current England Test captain Joe Root needs nine runs to reach 1000 runs in Ashes. So far he has scored 991 runs at 41.29 in 14 Tests with three centuries, HS 180.

    For Australia Steve Smith and David Warner are the only current batsmen to total over 1000 runs; Smith (1339 runs at 43.19 in 18 Tests with five centuries, HS 215) and Warner (1079 at 44.95 in 13 Tests with two centuries, HS 124.)

    Australia's David Warner and Steve Smith


    Only three bowlers have taken more than 150 wickets in Ashes, and all three are Australians:

    • Shane Warne (195 wickets at 23.25 in 36 Tests with 5 wickets in an innings [5w/i] 11 times, best 8-71 and 10 wickets in a Test [10w/T] four times, best 12-246),
    • Dennis Lillee (167 wickets at 21.00 in 29 Tests with 5w/i 11 times, best 7-89 and 10w/T four times, best 11-138) and
    • Glenn McGrath (157 wickets at 20.92 in 30 Tests, 5w/i 10 times, best 8-38). His best figures in a Test, 9-82).

    The most wickets taken by an Englishman is by Ian Botham, 148 wickets at 27.65 in 36 Tests, 5w/i nine times, best 6-78 and 10/T twice, best 11-176.

    He is also the outstanding Ashes all-rounder having scored 1673 runs at 29.35 with four centuries, HS 149 not out.

    Among current cricketers England’s fast bowler James Anderson leads: 87 wickets at 35.87 in 26 Tests, 5w/i four times, best 6-47 and 10w/T once, 10-158. Next is England’s another fast bowler Stuart Broad; 84 wickets at 27.69 in 22 Tests, 5w/i six times, best 8-15 and 10w/T once, 11-121.

    The best figures for current Australians are by fast-medium Peter Siddle 73 wickets at 28.63 in 21 Tests, 5w/i 4 times, best 6-54. Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon comes next, 44 wickets at 29.84 in 13 Tests, 5w/i once (5-50).

    Fielding dismissals
    Six Australian and four England wicketkeepers have made over 75 dismissals in Ashes.

    Australia’s Rod Marsh is the leader with 148 dismissals (141 caught + 7 stumped) in 42 Tests. He is followed by Australia’s Ian Healy 135 (123+12) in 33 Tests,
    England’s Alan Knott 105 (97+8) in 34,
    Australia’s Adam Gilchrist 96 (89+7) in 20,
    Australia’s Bert Oldfield 90 (59+31) in 38,
    England’s Arthur ‘Dick’ Lilley 84 (65+19) in 32,
    England’s Alec Stewart 84 (82+2) in 33,
    Australia’s Brad Haddin 80 (79+1) in 20,
    England’s Godfrey Evans 76 (64+12) in 31 and
    Australia’s Wally Grout 76 (69+7) in 22.

    Oldfield is the only one to effect more than 25 stumpings (31).

    Who is the best among current Australian wicketkeepers? I don’t know. Nor do the selectors!

    Let 2017-18 roll on to break the 32-all Ashes victory tie as stated at the beginning.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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