In the final part of our build up to The Ashes, we take a look at excellent performances by England players over the years in the prestigious event.
Wally Hammond (251): In the second Test of the Ashes in December 1928 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Hammond blasted an amazing double century. Australia batted first and were restricted to 253. Hammond almost single-handedly made as many! Occupying the crease for 461 minutes and 605 balls, Hammond came up with that amazing knock of 251, an innings that was studded with as many as 30 fours. Thanks to Hammond’s brilliance, England replied with 636, and went on to clinch the Test by eight wickets.
Tip Foster (287): This was the 1st Test of the December 1903 Ashes at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Australia batted first and were restricted to 285, with Monty Noble coming up with a century. In England’s reply, Foster made 287 in 419 minutes, and hit as many as 37 fours during his stay at the crease. Len Braund also contributed a century as England piled up 577 in their first innings. In spite of Victor Trumper’s unbeaten 185 in Australia’s second innings, England went on to win the Test by five wickets.
Alastair Cook (235 not out): In the first Test of the 2010-11 series at Brisbane, the England opener and now skipper went on to play a marathon innings to rescue his side from deep trouble. Having bowled England out for 260, Australia replied with 481, thus putting England under tremendous pressure in the second innings. Cook however occupied the crease for 625 minutes and faced 428 balls to thwart the Aussie bowling. Cook hit 26 fours during his stay, and with Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott also coming up with tons, England saved the game without much trouble.
Jim Laker (19 for 90): This performance would but obviously find a mention when it comes to great efforts by Englishmen. In the fourth Ashes Test at Manchester in July 1956, England batted first and put up a competitive 459 courtesy centuries from Peter Richardson and David Sheppard. What followed was beyond imagination. Laker bowled 16.4 overs, conceded 37 runs and picked up nine wickets. Tony Lock was the only other bowler to pick up a wicket as he dismissed opener Jim Burke. Australia were cleaned up for 84 and, in the second innings, Laker did even better claiming all ten wickets. His figures read 51.2 overs, 10 for 53 as England won the Test by an innings and 170 runs.
Hedley Verity (15 for 104): In the second Test of 1934 Ashes series played at Lord’s, London, Verity bowled England to an impressive win. Having posted 440 on board batting first, the hosts restricted the Aussies to 284 in their first innings; Verity grabbing 7 for 61. Australia were asked to follow on, and Verity continued to bamboozle Australia in the second innings as well. This time, he grabbed 8 for 43 as England trumped the Aussies by an innings and 38 runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst