The Ashes Archives: Top 10 Best Bowling Performances In England Vs Australia History

The test series played between England and Australia is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated cricket tournaments in the world. The 73rd Ashes series is all set to begin in June this year across the five venues of Edgbaston, Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford, and The Oval.

This article is a walk down memory lane describing the top 10 best bowling performances between England and Australia in the history of the Ashes series. Keep reading to know more about the tournament and get the latest updates on the ashes cricket news.

  • Frank Laver takes 8 for 31 (Old Trafford, July 1909)

Australia was leading the 1909 Test series against England with a score of 2-1. During the fourth Test match between the teams at Old Trafford, Monty Noble, the then captain of the Australian cricket team, won the toss for the fourth time in the series and chose to bat first. The Australian batsmen were able to build a run score of 147 in their first innings. 

The run chase did not seem intimidating for the Englishmen playing on their home field. England started on a good note with Warner and Spooner building the momentum at a steady rate. But things turned 180 degrees when the ball came into Laver’s hands. Laver knocked off eight wickets for a mere 31 runs and shook everyone on and off the ground. 

  • Alec Bedser’s 14-wicket haul (Trent Bridge, June 1953)

Famous for his destructive leg-cutting deliveries, Alec Victor Bedser is among the pioneers of England cricket during the post-war era. 

During the first Test series against Australia at Nottingham, he took 14 wickets in his two innings of bowling. In the first innings, Bedser picked up 7 wickets for 55 from his 38.3 overs and went on to knock off another 7 for 44 from 17.2 overs in the second innings of the Test match.

His spectacular bowling gave hope to the English crowd, but the weather did not seem to enjoy England’s possible victory. The match ended up in a draw with England at 120-1 on the second day.

  • Frederick Spofforth takes 14 wickets (The Oval, August 1882)

The demon bowler, Frederick Robert Spofforth, was responsible for Australia’s victory in the 1882 only Test match against England at the Oval. 

The Australian bowler knocked off 7 wickets for 46 from his 36.3 overs in the first innings and went on pick up another 7 wickets for 44 in the second innings. The one-off Test only lasted for three days, and Australia won the match by seven wickets.

  • Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ (Old Trafford, June 1993)

Australia’s catastrophic leg breaker, Shane Warne, made his Ashes debut with a bang. It happened on the opening Test of the 1993 series during 

Australia chose to bat first and was able to build a respectable score of 289 runs in the first innings. England was at 80 for 1 when Warne came with the ball. He bowled out a delivery that drifted outside the leg stump first but turned sharply inwards, knocking Mike Gatting’s off stump. The incident not only shook Gatting but left everyone, including the commenters, spectators, and umpire in awe of the bowler.

  • Bob Willis takes 8 for 43 (Headingley, July 1981)

England’s victory in the third Test against Australia at Leeds in 1981 couldn’t have been possible without Bob’s destructive bowling attack. The game was on Australia’s side as they had to chase a small target of 130 runs in their second innings until Willis came to the pitch and knocked off 8 eight wickets from his 15.1 overs of bowling while giving a mere 43 runs. The Aussies were down and out at 111 runs in 36.1 overs.

  • Hedley Verity takes 15 wickets (Lord’s, June 1934)

England had their glorious 1934 Test victory at Lord’s against England after 38 years. Hedley gave an outstanding performance as she picked up 15 wickets against Australia in a single day. Verity picked up 7 for 61 from his 36 overs in the first innings, then added another 8 for 43 from his 22.3 overs in the second innings. His 15-wicket haul helped England claim a 38-run and an innings victory against their old enemy.

  • Glenn McGrath takes 8 for 38 (Lord’s, June 1997)

The Australian seamer, Glenn McGrath, continued his domination in international cricket by claiming 8 solid wickets during the second Test series against England at Lord’s in 1997. McGrath knocked off 8 wickets while giving a mere 38 runs from his 20.3 overs. Australia could not handle McGrath’s terror and was down and out at 77 in just 42.3 overs. 

The match, however, ended up in a draw because of the bad weather.

  • Ian Botham takes 5 for 1 (Edgbaston, August 1981)

Ian Botham, the former English all-rounder, was famous for testing the wits of opposing batsmen in the 1980s. The Cheshire-born cricketer gave a stunning performance during the fourth Test of the 1981 series against England at Birmingham. Having won the first innings against England, Australia needed 151 runs to win the second when Botham came to the rescue and knocked off 5 wickets in just 28 balls while giving a single run, leading to England’s remarkable win in the fourth test.

  • Bob Massie’s Test debut (Lord’s June 1972)

The former Australian cricketer will be remembered for his stunning Test debut at the Lord’s in 1972. Massie made an ever-lasting first impression by knocking 8 wickets for Australia in both innings. He picked up 8 from his 32.4 overs in the first innings, then added another 8 wickets for 53 runs the second time around.

England was down and out at 116 in their second innings, and Australia won the match by 8 wickets.

  • Jim Laker takes 19 wickets for 90 ( Old Trafford, July 1956)

While the former English spinner has had many stunning performances in the gentleman’s game, Laker’s fourth Test match against Australia in the 1956 series is the most memorable one. He took 9 wickets for 37 runs from his 16.4 overs in the first innings and then added another 10 for 53 from his 51.2 overs in the second, leading to England’s victory by an inning and 190 runs. His bowling figure of 10 for 53 is still the best in Test cricket history.

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