Top 5 Ashes performers of all-time
The Australia-England rivalry has been very intense over the years. The cricketing fraternity has witnessed some of the greatest moments in the history of the game whenever these two sides slugged out on the pitch. I’ve tried my best to include as many brilliant performances as possible since it was quite difficult to narrow them down to just five and do justice to the topic at hand.
Here are the top 5 all-time best Ashes performers from both sides:
With 399 runs and 34 wickets, the 1981 Ashes series completely belonged to England’s young all-rounder Ian Botham.
Going into the third Test at Headingley 0-1 down in the series, Botham was removed from captaincy duties and the veteran Mike Brearley took over the position.
With the burden of leading the side lifted from his shoulders, Botham delivered a brilliant display of swing bowling as he picked up 6/95 in Australia’s first innings total of 401/9. Forced to follow-on, and with his side reeling at 135/7, Botham played one of the most scintillating knocks that brought the English back into the game; his magnificent unbeaten 149 and Bob Willis’ devastating 8/43 consigned Australia to a 18-run defeat.
Botham followed it up with a magical 5/11 in the next Test to hand his side a 29-run victory, and also scored a match-winning 118 in the Old Trafford game, thus enabling England to retain the Ashes.
Richie Benaud’s claim to Ashes fame is the fact that he led a young team to a 4-0 victory over “the old enemy” in his first full series in charge during the 1958-59 season.
He was widely praised for his leadership abilities, getting the best out of a motley crew with limited experience. In the fourth Test of the 1961 series, the Australian skipper bowled a phenomenal spell of leg-spin to winkle out the England line-up just as they were looking set for victory.
His figures of 6/70 in that second innings on an Old Trafford pitch dotted with bowlers’ footmarks was instrumental in Australia’s retaining of the Ashes, and they bear remarkable testament to the amazing skill of a man who played hard, aggressive cricket for much of his long career.