The Roar
The Roar


Pick The Roar's greatest Ashes XI of all time: James Anderson vs Mitchell Johnson

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18th April, 2020

We’re finally down to the last spot in our greatest Ashes XI of all time, and it’s two modern-day quicks who’ll face off for the remaining place in the side.

In the first round of voting, James Anderson received a fairly surprising amount of support considering his record against Australia – more on that shortly. The Englishman was picked by 24 per cent of Roarers to take the third pace-bowling seed.

Mitchell Johnson finished on 19.4 per cent, a mere single vote ahead of Terry Alderman enough to push him into fourth spot and so avoid a match-up against his former mentor Dennis Lillee, and instead go up against an opponent from his playing days.

While a menace in English and other swing-friendly conditions, Anderson doesn’t boast the most impressive of Ashes resumes. Taking 104 wickets is no mean feat, but his average (34.56) and strike-rate (67.7) across 32 matches suggests Test cricket’s leading pace-bowling wicket-taker hasn’t been able to always find his best against Australia.

That’s not to say ‘bowl to the left, bowl to the right’ Johnson was always the most consistent of Ashes performers, but no one will forget his unbelievable efforts in the 2013-14 series, when he took 37 wickets to help Australia to a 5-0 sweep.

His overall career against England was obviously not quite as impressive, but Johnson still retired with a strong Ashes record: 87 wickets in 19 Tests at an average of 25.81. More eye-opening is his strike-rate which, at 43.1, is the best of anyone to take as many Ashes scalps as him.

So, which of these two great modern fast bowlers will take the final place in our Ashes XI: James Anderson or Mitchell Johnson?