Let’s discuss some of the greatest individual performances over the years for the Ashes cricket series. The best 10 all-time batting performances in matches involving England and Australia have already been examined; now it’s time for the bowlers to grab center stage.
Once again, the selection procedure seemed to be impartial in selecting players from various periods. It should be noted that as this is a preview for the future series, only performances that took place in England were taken into account.
- Frank Laver 8–31 (July 1909, Old Trafford, )
The batters for England were unable to manage Frank Laver’s medium speed in the 4th Test of the season in 1909. On a track that had been affected by inclement weather, the Australian grabbed 8 for 31 off 18.2 overs and bowled the hosts out for 119. He did not appear to break much, but his length was great and the velocity and flight of such a ball varied considerably, according to the Wisden Almanack analysis (h/t ESPN Cricinfo).
Laver only claimed 1 wicket in England’s game 2 innings, and the game was a draw. Instead of viewing the lack of footage, have a look at this clip of Peter Siddle scoring a hat-trick in Brisbane’s first Test of the 2010–11 series.
- 14 Wickets Haul by Alec Bedser ( June 1953, Trent Bridge,)
In the first Test of something like the 1953 series, Alec Bedser grabbed 14 wickets for England. At the Trent Bridge, the Surrey seamer took seven wickets for 55 runs from the 38.3 overs before adding seven more for 44 runs in the second innings. His efforts reduced the hosts’ win requirement to 229. After the third day, they were 42 for one.
However, after a day of respite, rain wrecked any chance of a successful outcome for either side. As the game dragged on to a tie in Nottingham, England finished with a score of 120 to one. But Bedser did have a cause to rejoice. He surpassed S with his winnings in the game. The Wisden Almanack predicts F. Barnes to surpass Chris Woakes as England’s highest wicket-taker (source: ESPN Cricinfo).
- 14 wickets for Frederick Spofforth ( August 1882, The Oval)
Australia’s hero in only one Test in 1882 was Frederick Spofforth. The visitors managed to come back from being knocked out for 62 to win the match by taking seven wickets in each innings from the seam bowler. Spofforth secured a seven-run victory for his team in a match that was completed in less than two days, leaving England needing only 85 to win but falling agonizingly short.
Final match stats again for New South Welshman were 14 – 90 from 64 overs. Since there aren’t many images from the 1880s available, have a look at some of the best moments from the first Ashes Test of 2009.
- Shane Warne strikes out Mike Gatting ( June 1993, Old Trafford,)
It may seem strange that a single ball would place in the top ten list of a list of bowling efforts, but the ball that Shane Warne bowled to remove Mike Gatting from the game in 1993 was exceptional. At Old Trafford, where he was taking part in his debut Ashes Test, England was 80 for one against Australia’s 289 when the leg-spinner was brought into the attack.
His series’ first shot was a stunning leg break that meandered, dipped, and afterward turned sharply. Gatting was duped—both in flight and in a spin. When the batsman thought it was pitching beyond his leg stump, he nudged toward it on defense only to watch the ball go past his outer edge and cut the top of the off stump. Beautiful in its own right, it marked the beginning of Warne’s protracted hegemony over English batting. On his debut against his longtime foe, he took eight wickets and enabled Australia to win by 179 runs.
- Eight for 43 by Bob Willis (Headingley, July 1981)
Even if Ian Botham’s century at Headingley in 1981 made a difference, the win would not have been possible without Bob Willis’ brilliant bowling. Australia, chasing a modest goal of 130, was bowled outside for 111 with 36.1 overs thanks to the fast bowler’s eight for 43.
Before falling dramatically, the visitors had made it to 56 for one, with Willis proving to be too much for them. Willis then confessed to the Sunday Persons (h/t the Mirror) that he had almost been left off the team for the match in Leeds because of worries about his health after an illness. But the Warwickshire player mustered the stamina to record career-high numbers.
On the last day, a change at ends worked, with skipper Mike Brearley doing so more out of optimism than anything else. Willis dutifully made his delivery on the unevenly bounced surface, ultimately Ray Bright to secure the victory for England and tie the series.
- In the match, Hedley Verity scores 15 wickets (Lord’s, June 1934).
Hedley Verity bowled England to that of an innings victory in the 2nd Test at the Lord’s in 1934 by taking 14 wickets in a single day of Test cricket. In their initial innings, Australia started after a break day with 192 for 2, but by the game’s end, they had been knocked out twice on even a drying track. The rain that came throughout the weekend helped England’s bowlers, slow left-armer Verity in particular. The Yorkshireman improved on his seven-wicket haul from the first innings by taking one more victim in the second innings, finishing with a total statistic of 15 for 104.
As Australia succumbed to a crushing loss and the series was tied at one, Don Bradman became one of the eight victims. Verity lost his life in 1943 while serving his nation in Italy. He participated in 40 Test matches and recorded 144 wickets at an aggregate of 24.37.
- Glenn McGrath’s Great Eight, in June 1997 at Lord’s
Glenn McGrath adored performing at Lord’s. The iconic ground’s incline may mislead some visitor bowlers, however, the Australian seamer loved the opportunity to play there while on an Ashes trip. He amassed 26 Test wickets at an aggregate of 11.50 in the cricket capital, including eight for 38 in the second game of the 1997 series.
McGrath’s haul assisted in flattening England for 77 in only 42.3 overs, confirming Australia skipper Mark Taylor’s choice to bowl once after winning the toss. Nevertheless, despite his amazing effort, the bowler’s team did not succeed. Rain and some tenacious hitting from England’s fast bowlers in the second innings let the hosts emerge with a draw.
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