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England's greatest ever XI for the Adelaide Ashes Test

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Roar Guru
16th December, 2021

Adelaide Oval has hosted many wonderful Ashes matches – from ‘Amazing Adelaide’ in the 2006-07 series, all the way back to spinner Chuck Fleetwood-Smith’s heroics in 1936-37.

I want to take a look at some of the most memorable Ashes performances ever in the city of churches, and name an all-time England team for this ground alone.

I’ve also had a look at the best Australian XI ever to feature in the Ashes at the venue.

The visitors have recorded eight victories and five draws to date. The side below is a mix of legendary players, and lesser ones whose career highlight was achieved in Adelaide.

1. Graham Gooch (captain), 1990-91

No English captain has scored more runs in a game in Adelaide. While unable to deliver victory for his side, he did receive the Man of the Match award.

Australia scored 386 with Gooch’s contribution a wicket and a catch. In reply, after Mike Atherton and Allan Lamb had fallen for ducks, their skipper led a dogged fightback. He scored 87 with just eight boundaries. England eventually reached 229.

The home side then declared at 6-314 with Gooch claiming two more catches, to set its opponent 472 for victory. His innings of 117 from 188 deliveries, including 12 boundaries, ensured that it would not lose. The team ended the match on 5-335 to force an honourable draw.


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2. Len Hutton, 1950-51

The future Ashes-winning captain single-handedly defied one of Australia’s greatest-ever teams. However he could not prevent the home side from securing a fourth consecutive win in the series.

In reply to Australia’s score of 371, the visitors struggled against Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, Bill Johnston, Jack Iverson and Ian Johnson.

Hutton produced an undefeated innings of 156, carrying his bat in a team total of 272. It lasted 370 minutes and featured 11 boundaries. By comparison, his ten teammates collectively scored just 95 runs, with only three boundaries. Only four teammates achieved double figures, none of whom exceeded 30 runs.

When England batted again, it chased 503 for victory and reached 228. Hutton’s share was a further 45.


3. Wally Hammond, 1928-29

The great batter scored more runs in a match in Adelaide, than any other Englishman has ever done. A pair of centuries enabled his team to win by just 12 runs.

In England’s first innings of 334, Hammond’s share was an undefeated 119 including 17 boundaries. The home side replied with 369.

When the visitors batted again Hammond put them in a match-winning position with an innings of 177, which included another 17 boundaries. He shared a 262-run partnership with Douglas Jardine. It enabled a team score of 383. Australia required 349 for victory, and fell agonisingly short.

4. Kevin Pietersen, 2010-11

Pietersen achieved the highest score to date by an Englishman in Adelaide, and also claimed the Man of the Match award. His team’s emphatic win gave them a 1-0 series lead.

The home side batted first. It slipped to 3-2, and struggled to a final total of 245. In response, England amassed a gigantic 5(dec)-620.


Pietersen contributed 227 runs from just 308 balls, including 33 fours and one six. He shared consecutive century stands with Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell. The bowler to suffer most was Xavier Doherty, who claimed 1-158 from 27 overs.

The visitors then dismissed Australia for 304, to secure victory by an innings and 71 runs. Pietersen bowled three overs, in which he added the cherry on top by claiming Michael Clarke’s wicket.

Kevin Pietersen of England hits out

Kevin Pietersen (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

5. Denis Compton, 1946-47

The dashing strokeplayer and Hammond are the only two Englishmen to have scored a pair of centuries in a match in Adelaide. Although Compton didn’t deliver his side victory, they did help stem a three-match losing streak.

The visitors scored 460 in their first innings. His share was a chanceless 147 runs from 350 deliveries, including 15 boundaries and powerful driving. Australia replied with 487.

When England batted again it closed its innings at 8-340. Compton contributed an undefeated 103 from 353 balls, including ten boundaries. The home side was set a 314-run target, and played out time to score 1-215.


6. Paul Collingwood, 2006-07

Collingwood’s double-century was the first by an Englishman in Adelaide, and their highest score there until Pietersen exceeded it four years later. However his innings could not prevent defeat.

The visitors began strongly by amassing 6(dec)-551. Collingwood commenced batting with his team’s score 2-45, and shared a 310-run stand with Kevin Pietersen. He was finally dismissed after reaching 206 in 392 minutes, with just 16 boundaries.

When Australia replied, it batted deep into the match’s penultimate day to total 513. Play ended with England’s second innings at 1-59, and a draw seemingly inevitable.

The home side then dismissed the visitors for just 129, to put victory within reach. Collingwood was left stranded on 22 not out, while eight teammates fell at the other end. Australia reached its 168-run target with six wickets and just minutes to spare; ‘Amazing Adelaide’ was born.

7. Frank Foster, 1911-12

The left-armed fast-bowling all-rounder formed an almost-unbeatable combination with SF Barnes, arguably the greatest bowler of all time. In this match he contributed with both bat and ball.


Australia batted first and was dismissed for just 133. He opened the bowling, and claimed 5-36 from 26 overs. He clean-bowled top-order batsmen Warwick Armstrong, Charlie Kelleway and Roy Minnett, and also dismissed captain Clem Hill. Both Minnett and Hill were removed for ducks.

In the visitors’ reply he batted at number six. His contribution to a team score of 501 was an innings of 71 runs from 141 deliveries including six boundaries.

In the home side’s second innings of 476 he clean-bowled Warren Bardsley, while it was Barnes’ turn to claim five wickets. England lost just three wickets in achieving its 109-run victory target.

8. Steve Rhodes (wicketkeeper), 1994-95

No Englishman has taken more catches in a match in Adelaide. They contributed to an unexpected win.

The visitors recorded a first innings of 353. Australia replied with 419, to gain a valuable lead. Rhodes claimed four catches behind the stumps.

When England batted again they totalled 328. The home side was left a victory target of 263 runs in 67 overs, and during the last day’s second session collapsed from 0-16 to 8-83.


Australia was subsequently dismissed for 156 with just 5.5 overs remaining in the game. Rhodes contributed a further three catches, to extend his match aggregate to seven.

9. Harold Larwood, 1932-33

The great fast bowler was the key figure in arguably Adelaide’s most memorable match. It commenced with the Bodyline series level at 1-1.

The match’s second day attracted a record 50,962 spectators. In Larwood’s first over he struck captain Bill Woodfull over the heart, who staggered from the crease amid booing from the crowd. In his next over, captain Douglas Jardine changed his field-placings from conventional to Bodyline. Don Bradman and Stan McCabe were caught in the leg cordon. Bill Ponsford took many blows to the body.

When England’s manager checked on Woodfull in the home changeroom, he reportedly replied: “I don’t want to see you, Mr Warner. There are two sides out there. One is trying to play cricket, the other is not.

Harold Larwood bowling

(Central Press/Getty Images)

In the following day’s play, Larwood fractured Bert Oldfield’s skull with a bouncer. Police ringed the field, fearing a riot. Jardine provocatively positioned himself in the outfield, and was pelted with fruit.


England won the game by 338 runs, after setting the home side 532 for victory. Larwood’s figures were 3-55 and 4-71, for a match aggregate of 7-126. He dismissed top-order batsmen Bradman, McCabe, Ponsford, Jack Fingleton and Vic Richardson once each.

10. Jack White, 1928-29

No player has bowled more overs in a match in Adelaide, or taken more wickets in an Ashes game there. The left-arm finger-spinner’s performance enabled his side to win it by just 12 runs, and extend its series lead to 4-0.

England began strongly with a 143-run opening stand, but faltered thereafter to total just 334. White didn’t trouble the scorers.

In the home side’s reply White bowled a marathon 60 overs, to claim 5-130. His victims included top-order batsmen Archie Jackson, Alan Kippax and Jack Ryder. Australia tallied 369.

The visitors’ second innings reached 383. White’s four runs enabled a 44-run ninth-wicket stand that would ultimately prove crucial to his side.

Set 349 for victory, Australia reached 336 to fall just short. White’s figures were even better than his preceding ones. He delivered 64.5 overs, and took 8-126. In a game not decided until its seventh day, his match figures were 13-256 from 124.5 overs.


Wisden wrote: “Well as he had bowled in all his previous games, White, in this match, was really wonderful in his stamina, clever flighting and remarkable accuracy of pitch.”

11. Devon Malcolm, 1994-95

England celebrated a rare and unexpected victory in Adelaide. Malcolm’s role was a significant one.

The visitors scored 353 in their first innings, in which Craig McDermott clean bowled him first ball. The genuine tailender batted at number ten, with Phil Tufnell deemed an even worse batsman.

When Australia replied with 419, Malcolm claimed 3-78 to help end the innings quickly. His three victims were among the side’s last five wickets, which added just 23 runs in total.

England’s lower-order resisted strongly in its second innings, to improve the team’s score from 6-181 to 328 all out. Malcolm faced just four deliveries, which yielded him a six and a four.

Australia chased 263 for victory, and scored just 156. Malcolm’s share was 4-39, for match figures of 7-117. He dismissed opening batsmen Mark Taylor and Michael Slater, and bowled Steve Waugh for a golden duck. He then took the home side’s very last wicket with just 5.5 overs of play remaining.