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

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert


26 Have your say

    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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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • Roar Pro

      October 16th 2017 @ 6:20am
      Adam Hayward said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      You need to edit your title to 2017-18.

      I think if Stokes doesn’t play, Australia should win easily. Our batsmen are flat track bullies and all they have is Cook and Root. The rest of their batting line up will look pretty ordinary

      • October 16th 2017 @ 8:16am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        Adam, the title was given by the editor. On my request it has been corrected now. Thank you for pointing it out.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Perthstayer said | October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        These career average stats are not “pretty ordinary”……

        Moen 34.66
        Bairstow 39.77
        Woakes 32.14
        Broad 21.04 (not good, but not in Anderson territory!)
        Ballance 37.45

        • October 17th 2017 @ 5:52pm
          BurgyGreen said | October 17th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

          37.45 is definitely pretty ordinary for a top-order bat.

          • October 17th 2017 @ 9:00pm
            Perthstayer said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

            It’s still one more than Renshaw.

            The other guys I mentioned are pretty tidy. Moen in particular is at a peak.

            Stokes is a massive loss, to any team. But these events can ignite a team. And they’d be helped if the players agree with many journalists that his absence will make victory very likely.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 7:43am
      Alex L said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      No doubt the next series in England will even it back up.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 4:06pm
        matth said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        Well some doubt, but not a lot of doubt, given recent history between the two countries.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 7:56am
      Carl said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Thanks for the statistics. Cricket used to be the major statistic intensive (popular) sport in Australia in the 20th century. Now a lot of sports have statistics about statistics in the 21st century. How times change society.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 8:12am
      Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      IF the Aussie selectors pick Wade it will be

      England 33
      Australia 32


      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 9:03am
        spruce moose said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        For all the considerable lack of talent Wade possess with bat and gloves, he is much better than any of the batsman in the top six without the surnames Cook, Root and Bairstow.

        The England batting line up is worse than the ones they used to rollout in the 90’s.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 10:14am
        Jake said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Yes chicken little. The sky will fall in and we’ll get thrashed if they pick Wade.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Jeffrey Dun said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Many thanks for the summary Kersi – it’s a very interesting read.

      The Ashes stats overall makes the contest appear a little more even than the more recent reality.

      England dominated Ashes cricket in the 19th century. I understand that there were 14 test series commencing in 1886-87. By the close of the 19th century, England had won 11 series and Australia 3.

      Australia’s record subsequently is superior.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 11:50am
        James said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        And Englands recent record is superior to Australias, and before that Australias was superior, and before that England was and before that there were alot of draws actually which is quite interesting. I dont understand how you can say the stats make the contest appear more even, stats are perfect for looking at wins and losses which is the only barometer of evenness and the stats say its all even.

        • October 18th 2017 @ 10:43am
          Jeffrey Dun said | October 18th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          It is not a difficult conclusion to draw James.

          I chose to look at the record from the turn of the 20th century because prior to that Australia was a collection of colonies with a very small population. Moreover, cricket has changed greatly from the early days of test matches.

          Since 1900 there have been 55 test series played, of which Australia has won 29 and England 21. In other words Australia has won 38% more test series.

          If we look at test matches contested since 1900, Australia has won 116 to England’s 82. That is, Australia has won 41% more test matches.

          That’s why I say that, over the past 115 years, the Ashes contest has not been as close as Kersi’s stats suggest.

          • October 18th 2017 @ 12:30pm
            Pope Paul VII said | October 18th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

            Indeed but English cricket has been no less complicated.

            The English had the amateurs and the professionals class system up until at least WW2 if not beyond. And odd policies regarding the host county selecting the test team.

            English cricket suffered far more than Australia because of the two world wars.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      Thank you, Jeffrey.
      You are correct. From 1882-83 to 1890 England held the Ashes 8 times in a row. Australia won the Ashes for the first time in1891-92. Then England won three times from 1893 to 1896 before Australia won back in 1897-98 and retained it for four Ashes till 1902.
      Up and down, up and down!
      And after 135 years it is 32-all.