Continuing our build up to the Ashes series, today we look at excellent performances by Australians in the prestigious event over the years.
Bob Simpson (311): In the fourth Test of the 1964 Ashes in July at Old Trafford, Manchester, Simpson came up with a superlative triple century. Batting first, the Aussie captain made 311 , opening the innings. Simpson faced a mammoth 740 balls during his stay at the crease which lasted 762 minutes. Simpson slammed 23 fours and one six during the course of his superb knock. Australia put up a massive 656 for 8 on board, but England responded very well to draw the game. Ken Barrington made 256 and skipper Ted Dexter 174.
Bob Cowper (307): In the fifth Test of the Ashes series in February 1966 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Cowper batted brilliantly to put Australia on top. Responding to England’s strong 485 for 9 courtesy Barrington’s century, Cowper batted for 727 minutes and 589 balls during his lengthy knock. Cowper hit 20 boundaries in his innings. Thanks to his triple century, Australia replied with 543 for 8. The match yet again ended in a high-scoring draw.
Sir Don Bradman (304): The Don had a penchant for big scores, and he came up with another one during the fourth Ashes Test at Leeds in July 1934. England batted first, and were restricted to 200 following which the Don got in his elements. Coming into bat at number five, he blasted 304 in 473 balls, having batted for 430 minutes. Bradman hit as many as 43 boundaries during his stay at the crease, and in addition also slammed two sixes. Bill Ponsford made 181 as Australia ended up with 584 and the match ended in a high-scoring draw.
Bob Massie (16/137): The fast medium pacer, who did not have a successful intentional career, debuted with a bang. During the second Test of the Ashes series in June 1972 at Lord’s, he grabbed 8 for 82 in the first innings having bowled 32.5 overs. In England’s second innings, Massie snared 8 for 53 in 27.2 overs. England were bowled out for 272 in their first over and 116 in their second as Massie finished with match figures of 16 for 137. Thanks to Greg Chappell’s century, Australia put on a good batting performance and went on to win the Test by eight wickets.
Frederick Spofforth (14 for 90) : In the Test match played at Kennington Oval in August 1882, Spofforth recorded wonderful figures of 14 wickets for 90 runs. In an intensely low-scoring game, Australia were bowled out for 63 batting first, but Spofforth picked up 7 for 46 in England’s first innings, having bowled 36.3 overs, as the hosts were bowled out for 101. England were chasing only 85 to win the Test in their second innings, but Spofforth again came up with a sensational effort to seal an unbelievable seven-run win for Australia. Spofforth bowled 28 over and picked up 7/44.
--By A Cricket Analyst