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The Ashes at the SCG: 11 memorable Australian performances

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Roar Guru
29th December, 2021

Each player listed below has earned his place in this composite Australian team, with an outstanding Ashes performance at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the past 145 years.

It would have been easy to name a side comprising 11 New South Welshmen, given the number of them who have enjoyed success against England at their home ground.

Nevertheless the team does include three significant others in a South Australian-turned-Queenslander, a New Zealander who played in Sydney and Melbourne before finally settling in Adelaide, and a West Australian who relocated to Sydney.

1. Michael Slater, 1998-99
Slater’s second-innings century represented 66.8 per cent of his side’s total score. Only Charles Bannerman in 1876-77 has recorded a higher proportion of a completed innings’ total runs.

Michael Slater

(Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

Australia was in control of the match after scoring 322 then restricting England to 220. When the home side batted again they struggled to improve their position.

Slater then played one of the finest innings of his career. He scored 123 from just 189 deliveries, including three sixes and 11 boundaries.

His ten teammates contributed just 57 runs in total. Only one of them reached double figures. He scored his last 86 runs while five partners contributed just 27.


As a result Australia were able to reach 184, and set the visitors 287 for victory. They tallied 188, to enable the home side to claim the series by a 3-1 margin. Without Slater’s innings, the series may have been drawn 2-2.

2. Victor Trumper, 1907-08
The immortal cricketer played a match-winning innings when his side was in genuine trouble. It ensured a 4-1 series victory for the home team.

Australia batted first and could total just 137, of which his share was a modest ten runs from number seven. Fellow immortal Sydney Barnes took 7-60 for the visitors, who replied with 281 to establish an imposing 144-run lead.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In the home side’s second innings, Trumper was promoted to number three. After his team slumped to 2-52, he shared century partnerships with first Syd Gregory and then Clem Hill.

Trumper’s contribution was 166 runs from 249 deliveries, including 18 boundaries. He was the sixth batsman dismissed. By that stage his team’s score had reached 342, for an overall lead of 198 runs.

Australia ultimately amassed 422 and were able to set the visitors a challenging 279-run victory target. They reached 229, to give the home side victory by the relatively narrow margin of 49 runs.


3. Don Bradman (captain), 1946-47
The Cootamundra-born champion batsman recorded the most runs ever against England at the SCG, both in a single innings and in a match. Unusually, he did so from number six in the batting order.

The visitors were restricted to a modest 255, with Australia’s spin bowlers Ian Johnson and Colin McCool sharing nine wickets. Only when the home side reached 4-159 in reply did Bradman take his place at the batting crease.

He had been limping badly during the match’s first day, and did not take the field at all during the second day.

Bradman and Sid Barnes then shared a record fifth-wicket partnership of 405 runs in 397 minutes. Bradman’s share was 234 from just 395 deliveries, including 24 boundaries. Despite still having a pronounced limp, and clearly being in pain, he chose to not use a runner.

Barnes lost his own wicket just eight minutes after Bradman’s dismissal, also for 234. He later claimed that he had allowed himself to be removed for exactly the same score, to ensure that his own innings would be remembered forever.

Australia went on to win the match easily. They declared at 8-659 after batting for nearly 12 hours, then dismissed the visitors for 371 to claim victory by an innings and 33 runs.

(Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)


4. Greg Chappell, 1974-75
Only Barnes and Bradman, in 1946-47, have scored more runs in a match against England at the SCG. Australia subsequently won the game and by doing so regained the Ashes conceded four years earlier.

Australia began by scoring 405. Chappell’s contribution was an elegant 84 runs from 169 deliveries, including nine boundaries. He shared half-century partnerships with Ross Edwards and Rod Marsh, and with captain and older brother Ian. The visitors were restricted to 295 in reply.

When the home side batted again, Greg scored an imperious 144 from just 209 balls, including 16 fours. He and Ian Redpath shared a 220-run second-wicket partnership.

Australia declared their second innings at 4-289, to set England a 400-run victory target. Following the loss of 90 minutes of play to rain, England were dismissed for 228 with just 5.3 eight-ball overs remaining in the game. The home side took an unbeatable 3-0 series lead.

Greg’s match haul was 228 runs. He also took three catches, with the first two at second slip and the last at short leg to end the match.

Greg Chappell

(Photo by Matt King – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

5. Stan McCabe, 1932-33
No other Australian has scored more runs in a loss to England. McCabe was aged just 22 and was yet to score a Test century. His opponents were of the highest quality, and using Bodyline tactics subsequently outlawed.


After Australia slumped to 4-87, McCabe counter-attacked with a superb 187 not out from just 230 deliveries. In the process he added a total of 278 runs with seven different partners in little more than four hours.

He contributed 51 to a 55-run last-wicket stand in 33 minutes. Of his 25 boundaries, 15 were the product of pull shots played in front of square.

Australia made 360, to which the visitors replied with 524. When the home side batted again, McCabe scored a further 32 runs in a total of just 164. England scored the necessary single run to win the match without loss.

He scored 52 per cent of his side’s first-innings runs, and 42 per cent of them overall. He scored his century at a rate of 81 runs per hundred balls.

No teammate was able to reach a half-century. The next most-successful batsman Jack Fingleton contributed just 26 and 40.

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6. Adam Gilchrist, 2006-07
No other wicketkeeper has effected more dismissals in a Test match at the SCG, or more for Australia against England at any ground. He also scored a half-century in typical fashion.

England squandered a promising beginning of 2-166 to total just 291. Gilchrist claimed five catches, all from the visitors’ first seven batsmen.

In Australia’s reply, Gilchrist commenced batting at 5-190 with the match in the balance. He contributed 62 runs from only 72 deliveries, including eight fours. His partnerships with Andrew Symonds and then Shane Warne added 70 and 58 runs respectively. The home side duly reached 393.

Facing a 102-run deficit, England could muster just 147 in their second innings. Gilchrist effected three catches and a stumping, all from top-six batsmen. His overall match tally was nine dismissals, including four catches from Brett Lee’s bowling.

The home side required only 46 runs for a 5-0 series clean sweep, and scored them without loss.

Adam Gilchrist hits Monty Panesar for six

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

7. Alan Davidson, 1962-63
England commenced the game with a 1-0 series lead, but was no match for the gifted all-rounder’s penetrative bowling.


The visitors batted first and amassed 279 runs. Urged on by captain Richie Benaud, the left-arm paceman delivered far more overs than any other bowler. He claimed 4-54 from 24.5 eight-ball overs.

Australia replied with 319 for a useful 40-run lead. Davidson scored 15 runs at number eight.

When England batted again, they collapsed against Davidson’s seam and swing. He took three wickets in 25 balls to reduce England to 3-25, and returned later to dismiss the visitors’ last two batsmen. His innings figures were 5-25 from 10.6 overs.

England totalled just 104. Australia reached their 65-run target with eight wickets to spare, to level the series.

Davidson’s match figures were 9-79 from 35.3 miserly eight-ball overs, equivalent to 48 six-ball ones. Three of his victims were clean bowled, two were caught at first slip by Bob Simpson, two were dismissed leg before wicket, one was caught at second slip, and one was caught at gully.

8. Ray Lindwall, 1946-47
Lindwall’s incisive bowling featured the liberal use of fast short-pitched deliveries to intimidate England’s batsmen. Australia won a rain-affected match, and with it the series by a 3-0 margin.


The visitors scored 280 thanks to Len Hutton’s century before his retirement with tonsillitis. Lindwall claimed seven of the first eight wickets to fall, and final figures of 7-63. Four of his victims were clean bowled, while Denis Compton was dismissed hit-wicket. The home side replied with 253.

When England batted again, they were restricted to 186. Lindwall’s share was 2-46, including Laurie Fishlock’s wicket from the very first ball of the innings. Australia overhauled their 214-run target with five wickets in hand. His match figures were 9-109.

Ray Lindwall in action

(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

9. Clarrie Grimmett, 1924-25
No player has taken more wickets at the SCG on Test debut, belatedly at the age of 34. He totally overshadowed his prolific wrist-spinning teammate Arthur Mailey.

Australia batted first and scored a relatively modest 295. Grimmett contributed a useful 12 not out to a 31-run last-wicket stand.

The visitors could only reply with 167. He claimed 5-45 from 11.7 eight-ball overs, and also effected a run out from cover point. The home side’s second innings of 325 then set England a 454-run victory target.

This time Grimmett improved on his earlier figures. He took 6-37 from 19.4 overs in a total of 146. His match aggregate was 11-82 from 31.3 eight-ball overs.


It’s fair to assume that the key weapons in his arsenal included the googly that he had perfected over many years, and the flipper that he invented.

His control of flight, turn, line and length effectively rendered any outfielders redundant. Legendary wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield stumped four victims including master batsman Jack Hobbs, and also caught the prolific Patsy Hendren.

Four batsmen fell leg before wicket. He clean bowled Frank Woolley. The remaining wicket fell to a catch at short leg.

10. Stuart MacGill, 1998-99
No player has taken more wickets in a Test at the SCG than the fiery leg spinner with the fitting given names of Stuart Charles Glyndwr.

The home side scored 322 to begin the game. MacGill was bowled first ball, to become the second batsman in a Darren Gough hat trick.

MacGill then claimed 5-57 from 20.1 overs in the visitors’ first innings. His victims included top-order batsmen Graeme Hick and John Crawley. England was restricted to 220, to concede a 102-run lead.

Generic Ashes urn

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


Following Slater’s magnificent second-innings century, MacGill ensured that the visitors slumped from 2-110 to 188 all out in pursuit of a 287-run victory target.

His 20.1 overs yielded 7-50. The modes of dismissal comprised two return catches, two clean bowled, and a stumping and two catches to Ian Healy.

MacGill claimed the man of the match award for his aggregate of 12-107 from 40.2 overs. Teammate Warne returned match figures of 2-110.

11. Fred Spofforth, 1884-85
‘The Demon’ took ten wickets to achieve a narrow victory. Just two years earlier his 14 wickets in a match had also enabled a close win, and inspired the Ashes trophy’s creation.

Hail and thunderstorms greatly affected the outfield and unprotected pitch, and as a result the match was a low-scoring one.

The home side initially collapsed to 9-101. They eventually reached 181 from 167.2 four-ball overs, following an 80-run last-wicket partnership.

England’s reply confirmed that one should only ever judge a pitch after both sides have batted. They tallied just 133 runs from 95.1 overs.


Spofforth bowled unchanged for the entire innings to claim 4-54 from 48 overs. Each of his victims was a top-order batsman. Ten thousand spectators attended the day’s play.

Australia struggled again when they batted for a second time. Despite reaching 5-151 they then slumped to be dismissed for 165 in 157 overs. The visitors’ victory target was nevertheless a still challenging 214.

England were restricted to 207, to lose the game by just six runs. Spofforth’s 48.1 overs yielded him 6-90, and he clean bowled four of his opponents. His match aggregate was 10-144 from 96.1 overs.