The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Opinion

The Calendar Ashes: Fifth Test, February

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Roar Rookie
24th May, 2020
15

This Test, between sides of February-born players, will take place at the Adelaide Oval.

The preceding four matches, for players born in October followed by November, December and January, have seen Australia assert its dominance at home. However, any result is possible in a two-horse race and England has had a recent tendency to finish tours strongly with consolation victories.

The Australian team includes one of South Australia’s favourite sons, a record-setting pair of opening batsmen from the 1960s, and an attacking bowling line-up that has taken more than 1000 wickets.

The visitors boast a bowling quintet of match-winning all-time greats, but a top-order inexperienced in Australian conditions.

Given that this fantasy series already brings together 264 players from across 144 years of Test cricket, I’ve again selected one dual international to play against himself.

Adelaide Oval has hosted 78 matches commencing in 1884-85, and 32 of them have involved England. The record to date is 18-9 in favour of the hosts, with a difference in batting average of 37.30 to 32.18, equivalent to 102 runs over the course of a match.

Arguably the ground’s most famous English victory is the Bodyline Test of 1932-33, when mounted police were needed for a crowd of 50,962.

Australia February-born

Bob Simpson (captain)
62 Tests, 1957-78, 4869 runs at 46.81, ten centuries, 71 wickets at 42.26
Simpson was an outstanding opening batsman, very useful leg-spinner, and one of the finest ever slip fieldsmen. Against England, he averaged 50.17. His first Test century was 311 in his 30th match, at Old Trafford in 1964. In that calendar year, he scored 1381 runs. His Test career had two separate phases, firstly during 1957-67 and later in the World Series Cricket era at the age of 41. He made his first-class debut aged 16.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Bill ‘Phantom’ Lawry
67 Tests, 1961-71, 5234 runs at 47.15, 13 centuries
He was a left-handed batsman who formed an outstanding partnership with Bob Simpson to succeed against great fast-bowling pairs. In 29 Ashes matches, he scored 2233 runs at 48.54 including seven centuries. He scored 420 runs at 52.50 in 1961, and 592 runs at 84.57 in 1965-66. In Bridgetown in 1964-65, he and Simpson shared a 382-run opening partnership.

Bill Lawry

(AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Michael Slater
74 Tests, 1993-2001, 5312 runs at 42.83, 14 centuries
Slater combined adventurous stroke play with a textbook technique, and also scored nine 90s. Against England he scored seven centuries in just 20 matches, and 1083 runs at 54.15 at home. His Ashes highlights included 152 at Lord’s in his second match, 176 at the Gabba on the opening day of the 1994-95 series, and a match-winning 123 of a total of 184 at the SCG in 1998-99. When Australia recorded 16 consecutive victories during 1999-2001, he played in every match.

Norm O’Neill
42 Tests, 1958-65, 2779 runs at 45.55, six centuries
O’Neill was a superb stroke-maker and brilliant cover fieldsman. He averaged 56.40 in his first series against England in 1958-59. His first century was 181 against the West Indies at the Gabba in the tied Test of 1960-61. He retired from first-class cricket aged 30, due to recurring knee injuries.

Darren ‘Boof’ Lehmann
27 Tests, 1998-2004, 1798 runs at 44.95, five centuries
Lehmann was a left-handed batsman who deserved to have played many more than 27 matches. His career highlights included two centuries in Sri Lanka in 2003-04, and one each in Cairns, Darwin and Port of Spain. He scored 25,795 first-class runs at 57.83, including the most of any player in the Sheffield Shield.

Darren Lehmann

(Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Albert Trott
Five Tests, 1895-99, 228 runs at 38.00, 26 wickets at 15.00
Incomparable all-rounder Trott was a bowler of varied pace, an outstanding catcher and a hard-hitting batsman. For Australia he scored 38 not out and 72 not out, and took 0-9 and 8-43, at the Adelaide Oval on debut. His overall batting average for Australia is 102.50. In South Africa in 1898-99, he played two Tests for England, and took 17 wickets. For the MCC against Australia at Lord’s in 1899, he hit a ball from Monty Noble completely over the Members’ Pavilion. He ruined his own benefit match for Middlesex in 1907 by taking four wickets in four balls and later a separate hat trick. He took his own life at the age of 41, leaving his will on the back of a laundry ticket.

Don Tallon (wicketkeeper)
21 Tests, 1946-53, 50 catches, eight stumpings
Tallon was Australia’s finest wicketkeeper, whose Test debut was delayed until the age of 30 by World War Two. He kept successfully to some great bowlers. In first-class cricket he stumped 131 of his 433 victims, and scored nine centuries while averaging 29.14 with the bat.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Len Pascoe
14 Tests, 1977-82, 64 wickets at 26.06
Pascoe was an aggressive pace bowler, whose best figures were 5-59 in the Centenary Test at Lord’s in 1980. In six matches against England, he took 29 wickets at 25.37. He would have played far more matches, but for joining World Series Cricket during his debut series, and later suffering a serious knee injury. He and Jeff Thomson opened the bowling together in Sydney for first Punchbowl Boys’ High School, and then grade club Bankstown-Canterbury.

Glenn ‘Pigeon’ McGrath
124 Tests, 1993-2007, 563 wickets at 21.64
McGrath was the greatest Australian fast bowler of his time, and one of the best of all time. He was also the first of them to play 100 matches. His Ashes highlights included 8-38 at Lord’s and 7-76 at the Oval in 1997, 7-76 at Headingley in 2001, and 5-53 and 4-29 at Lord’s in 2005. Against England he played 30 matches and took 157 wickets at 20.92, including away from home 87 wickets in 14 matches at 19.34, at a strike rate of 39.8.

Stuart MacGill
44 Tests, 1998-2008, 208 wickets at 29.02
An attacking and match-winning leg-spinner, who but for Shane Warne’s presence would have played far more of the 118 matches that Australia contested during his career. In six home Tests against England, he took 39 wickets at 24.71. In eight matches at the SCG, he took 53 wickets at 24.47, including 5-57 and 7-50 against England in 1998-99, and 4-39 and 5-43 against the ICC World XI in 2005-06. His given names Stuart Charles Glyndwr appropriately spell SCG. Both his father and grandfather played Sheffield Shield cricket.

Stuart MacGill

(Image: paddynapper CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bill Johnston
40 Tests, 1947-55, 160 wickets at 23.91
Johnston was a tall, left-arm fast-medium and orthodox spin bowler, and extremely good catcher and thrower. His Ashes highlights included 27 wickets at 23.33 in 1948, with 5-36 and 4-147 from 84 overs at Lord’s. A poor batsman, he nevertheless averaged 102.00 on the 1953 tour of England, having been dismissed only once in 17 innings. His Test and first-class career ended aged 32 due to a knee injury.

Honourable mentions: Ross Gregory, Barry Jarman, Michael Kasprowicz, Mike Whitney, Colin Miller, Joey Palmer, Herbert Hordern.

England February-born

Brian Close (captain)
22 Tests, 1949-76, 887 runs at 25.34, 18 wickets at 29.55
Close was a controversial leader, unselfish left-handed batsman, useful part-time bowler and fearless short-leg fieldsman. In his seven matches as captain England were undefeated, with six wins and one draw. He made his debut aged 18. Against the West Indies in 1963, he scored three half-centuries. His last three matches were at age 45 against a strong West Indies attack, and he scored 60 at Lord’s. He played only two matches against Australia, without success.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jack Robertson
11 Tests, 1947-52, 881 runs at 46.36, two centuries
Robertson was an elegant opening batsman who would have played more often, if not for the commencement of World War Two when he was aged 22, and the presence of Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook. In the West Indies in 1947-48, he scored 390 runs at 55.71. He was never selected for a Test against Australia, but in 1948 had his jaw broken by Ray Lindwall during a tour match.

Ernest Tyldesley
14 Tests, 1921-29, 990 runs at 55.00, three centuries
Tyldesley was an elegant batsman especially strong off the back foot. Against Australia, he played five matches and scored 257 runs at 42.83. His Test debut did not take place until the age of 32, following the end of World War One. He was the younger brother of Johnny Tyldesley.

Elias ‘Patsy’ Hendren
51 Tests, 1920-35, 3525 runs at 47.63, seven centuries
Hendren was known for his back-foot play and fine out-fielding. Against Australia, he played 28 matches and scored 1740 runs at 39.54, with three centuries and two 90s, and a highest score of 169 in Brisbane in 1928-29.

Derek ‘Arkle’ Randall
47 Tests, 1977-84, 2470 runs at 33.37, seven centuries
Randall was a brilliant cover fieldsman, and an occasionally spectacular batsman but a nervous starter. Against Australia, he famously scored 174 in the Centenary Test at the MCG in 1976-77, and a match-winning 150 at the SCG in 1978-79. In his 13 matches in Australia, he scored 954 runs at 39.75, with three centuries.

The Ashes Urn

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Matt Prior (wicketkeeper)
79 Tests, 2007-14, 4099 runs at 40.18, seven centuries, 243 catches, 13 stumpings
Prior was a South African-born wicketkeeper-batsman. His batting highlights included 126 not out on debut against the West Indies at Lord’s, and a match-saving 110 not out in Auckland in 2013. In Australia in 2010-11, he took 23 catches, and scored 118 at the SCG.

Albert Trott
Five Tests, 1895-99, 228 runs at 38.00, 26 wickets at 15.00
Trott was a dual international, whose biography is detailed above.

Bobby Peel
20 Tests, 1884-96, 101 wickets at 16.98
Peel was the second in a series of great Yorkshire left-arm spinners. His Ashes highlights included 3-68 and 5-51 at the Adelaide Oval on debut, 5-18 and 4-40 at the SCG in 1887-88, 7-31 and 4-37 at Old Trafford in 1888, and 2-30 and 6-23 at the Oval in 1896 in what would be his final Test. At the SCG in 1894-95, after Australia scored 586 in their first innings, he took 6-67 in its second innings to assist England to win by ten runs after following on. He was also a very useful cover fieldsman and left-handed batsman. His career ended in 1897 after he came on the field under the influence of alcohol during a match against Lancashire, and allegedly urinated on the pitch.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Fred Trueman
67 Tests, 1952-1965, 307 wickets at 21.57
Trueman was one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. He was the first bowler to take 300 wickets, and his career strike rate was a wicket every 49 balls. Against Australia he took 79 wickets at 25.30 including 5-58 and 6-30 at Headingley in 1961, and 3-83 and 5-62 at the MCG in 1962-63. He was also a fine fieldsman.

Jim Laker
46 Tests, 1948-59, 193 wickets at 21.24
Laker was the greatest of all the English off-spin bowlers, forever remembered for figures of 9-37 and 10-53 at Old Trafford in 1956. His early career was disrupted by World War Two. During Australia’s tour in 1956, he took 63 wickets in seven matches, including 46 at 9.60 in the Test series. In a Test trial in 1950, he returned figures of eight wickets for two runs.

Devon Malcolm
40 Tests, 1989-97, 128 wickets at 37.09
Malcolm was a Jamaica-born pace bowler prone to occasional inaccuracy, and a poor batsman and fieldsman. His first and last Tests were against Australia. He played 15 Ashes matches and took 42 wickets at 45.14. His career highlights included 4-60 and 6-77 in Port of Spain in 1989-90, 3-59 and 5-46 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1990, and most famously 1-81 and a match-winning 9-57 against South Africa at the Oval in 1994. The claimed that last haul after being struck in the head while batting.

Possible tour party members: Reg Simpson, Brian Luckhurst, JW Hearne, Phil DeFreitas, Chris Lewis, John Lever.