Greatest Ashes performances?

What's buzzing in the world of cricket....

Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby sussexpob » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:28 pm

With the Ashes now in full swing, I am interested to find out peoples views on what they see as the best Ashes performances from players in their lifetime.

For me, most of my growing up in the game occurred during a period of extended Aussie domination, lead by several legends of the game who always had the upper hand against England. The likes of Waugh, Warne and McGrath regularly pounded England line ups to dust, and regularly put in notable performance. Yet, there is a sense that England were rip for the taking, stuck in a long period of institutional crisis, and as such feel like a little lame duck. Warne's 2005 performance is the most noteworthy, conjuring up his own rearguard alone in a series where other Aussie bowlers were dropping and struggling to make inroads. Arguably the best bowler of all time at the top of his game, a mix of incredible accuracy and wizard like trickery. It was awesome to watch, and who can forget the orgasmic shrill of Michael Slater unable to contain his shock and excitement as Warne produced devil like turn at near right angles into Andrew Strauss' stumps.

Yet, it was not to be. Warne's back up in that series failed to turn up. McGrath was injured, and England seemed happy to let Warne do his thing and feast on the inadequacies of the seam bowling on offer from Australia's ageing and out of kilter pace attack. The fact Australia lost takes the sheen off Warne's effort, it tried its best but had no defining effect on the result of the series, despite its quality. No one else of that Aussie era can really stand out. There was too much quality to pick one. If you bowled out 3 batters cheaply, the others made runs together. Or they all made runs. And then there was the bowlers, who all generally did very well all the time. McGrath blew you away, Warney did. The rest mopped up wickets.

For England, the away series victory in Australia hosts a few standouts. Yet, I dont want to pick from these. Australia were in transition, the end of a golden generation, and in bad shape. England went in as rightful favourites, and punished a lot of poor bowling and fragile Australian confidence. 2005 has some standout performances, an honourable mention to Andrew Flintoff who became a talisman that rallied England and gave them confidence to end the domination of Australia. Yet, its not good enough to warrant best ever style billing.

The requirement for a pure standout, lone wolf style assault comes down to only one player for me. A player who quite literally won an Ashes series almost on his own, if such a statement is possible in cricket. And that man is Mitchell Johnson, in the 2013-14 series in Australia.

First the stats. 37 wickets at 13. Damn impressive. But the stats almost ignore the deeper fact that the manner in which Johnson operated not only produced isolated success in those batsman he dismissed cheaply, the effect of his performances completely routed and destroyed the belief of the England setup. He landed like a destructive earthquake that seismically shook the foundations of the England dressing room. Batsman were scared for their safety, robbed of any fight. The rest of the Aussies then steamrolled the England team riding on his coat tails. Batsman padding up must have felt like lambs to the slaughter, tortured by being forced to watch as they waited their turn gawping as their colleagues hoped around avoiding lightening bolts passing by their heads.

Mitchell Johnson was a hard guy to love. In the minds of English fans going into that Brisbane test, he was a bit of a caricature failure. He'd come to England in 2009 having rose to prominence with some viciously wicked bowling vs South Africa, and he didnt justify the hype. He didnt bowl awesomely, but everyone had been promised the next big thing. Instead they got really one innings of destruction wrapped around some very erratic performances. When England came to Australia next up, Johnson had become a target for England's fans.

He was a bit of an easy target too. He visibly was rattled by the songs and the sledging. He cut a frustrated, almost defeated figure, wandering the boundary scrapping his knuckles on the floor. He went for nearly 40 per wicket, and went for runs quickly. And as he did, he got more and more stick. He came out to bat while English close fielders were singing the barmy army songs in his ear. They laughed at him. They even text the fan groups to keep up the stick and insult him near the boundary. He was weak minded. Even when he performed at Perth, it was dismissed as a performance that was the mark of a man who could only perform in the most favourable conditions.

Johnson admits he struggled mentally. The two years leading up to the 2013-14, he hardly played a test. He had been consigned to the scrapheap largely, a skillful but damaged bowler who had lost confidence. He visited a psychologist, and was told to sing a Disney cartoon song in his head to block out the constant "he bowls to the left, he bowls to the right" that he says the Barmy Army implanted in his head when he played. It was that song that rung out after England had dismissed Australia for under 300 and had taken the upper hand in that first test in Brisbane. England were a serious team, seen as superior. Could this be another home drubbing?

The foundation for the what was to come may have been a bit of a fluke. Johnson had played in the 2013 ODI series in England, and had noticed a couple of batsman had struggled with his shorter ball on occasions. The talk before the game was of a Brisbane pitch that would resemble Perth. Quick and bouncy, possibly the fastest Gabba wicket ever. A Johnson lacking a bit of self belief has seemed to indicate he would just bowl fast, see how that went for him. See if these English really did struggle with the short ball.

The Gabbatoir lived up to its name. England were crushed, fittingly ended by a lightening bolt short ball that Johnson bowled and caught. The paper stats might not do it justice. 4 for 61 in the first innings hides the hostility and undeniable inability and desire the England team had in facing him. The ball went short, fast. England were visibly shaken. The Barmy Army, who had spend the first few overs of Johnsons spell trying to get into his ear, were silenced. Despite turning up looking like a member of the Village People who never got the job, and his recent history, there was nothing to laugh it. This was serious test match bowling, and Australia reacted around it, turning the middle of the Gabba into a pressure cooker atmosphere. It was a car crash moment for England, too compelling to turn away from.

That set the tone of the series. Johnson had been so utterly destructive, he shock the whole fabric of English cricket to the core. One that arguably, the team and the whole setup have never recovered from. They certainly didnt recover in the series. They continued to line up for slaughter all series. Visibily shaken with fear as Johnson threw down hand grenade after hand grenade. Established test players retired rather then face more, burnt out and unwilling to engage. England dissolved from a world class team into a routed mess. The coach ended up quitting. The best player ended up getting dropped. It was an institutional crisis. And Johnson had lit the spark.

Incredibly, Johnson was so deadly, so masterfully brutal, he even had his biggest detractors bowing to the new king. The Barmy Army went from silenced to celebratory. They started to side with him, an unbelievable level of self respect emerged as Johnson, often seen stick up his middle finger and wearing a beaten look previously, now proudly stood at the boundary counting the wickets on his hand and beaming into their number with a huge smile. They bestowed on him an award, he accepted with a nice video message. A weird online bromance flourished. His victory had been complete.

Deep down, we watch sport for visceral reaction. While craft and guile is a beauty to behold, one cannot replace the very real sensation of watching a spectacle of gladiatorial nature, where the sense of danger is very real, and where those involved are locked into a battle that takes more than skill, but of courage and moral fibre. We dont get that much anymore, but we did that year with Johnson. It was captivating, every ball felt like an event. The batsman never felt comfortable, were always one ball away from having their head knocked off.

It would take some doing to beat that effort.
2010 French Open fantasy league guru 2010 Wimbledon fantasy league guru 2014 Masters golf fantasy guru 2015 Players Championship FL Guru 2016 Masters Golf Fantasy Guru

And a hat and bra to you too, my good sirs!
sussexpob
 
Posts: 23728
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:14 pm
Location: Asker, Norway
Team(s) Supported: Sussex and England Cricket, Vålerenga Fotball/FC Barcelona/Seagulls! ....
England and Norway at everything else

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Dr Cricket » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:30 pm

For me Flintoff In 2005.
2005 ashes is the only ashes I enjoyed watching.
Each test was gripping.
Old Trafford and edgebaston were incredible.
Don’t think anything will ever top that.
That series glued me to test cricket.

Don’t think anything will ever top that unless we get a top Aussie team and a top English team, lately either one team is top and the other middle ranked or they both middle ranked teams.
Plus home advantage is too big lately.
2014 Prem final placings prediction guru
2015 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 open golf prediction guru

2016/17 Australia vs india fantasy league
2017 WI vs England odi guru

ANTI ASHES.
Dr Cricket
 
Posts: 8167
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 am
Location: UK London
Team(s) Supported: India

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:52 pm

Good stuff. Plenty of info in there I didn't know about. The Ultimate Mitch's performance in that series has the makings of legend. Not just because he was 1980 West Indies frightening (but with restrictions on short balls) but because of the story arc that went with it, and the valedictory triumph.

Maybe a word for Terry Alderman in 1989, and Warney in 05 when he was relentless even though his body had robbed him of all his old sorcery.

For me nothing beats 05, and KP's innings at the Oval would be my ultimate batting knock for England, with Randall at Sydney in 1978-9 a runner up.

Bob Willis at Headingley in 81 is far and away the most memorable England bowling performance, and I bet that is unanimous for my generation.

For batting, I like the Aussie battler, like the implacable Allan Border in the supine Aussie sides of the late seventies and early eighties. Waugh in 2001 when he'd been carried off injured at TB to the jeers of the England crowd, missed the defeat at Headingley, then pitilessly punished England for their temerity with an unbeaten 150 in a crushing innings win at the Oval. But to pick one innings of that type, Ponting in the draw at Old Trafford in 2005. Maybe even Brett Lee's batting at Edgbaston and Old Trafford in 05 would be on the podium.
2012-13 SL vs NZ combined fantasy guru

I always say that everybody's right.
User avatar
Arthur Crabtree
 
Posts: 54033
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 12:52 pm
Location: Nottingham
Team(s) Supported: Yorkshire/New England.

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Dr Cricket » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:21 pm

still remember creating teams on Sky interactive coverage during 03/04/05 season.
i love that stat page think I spent hours at looking at the stats tab.
Did anyone remember that cartoon show that Sky use to show that explain cricket to newbies and kids.
cricket coverage was definitely more child friendly at those times.

First cricketing memory in test was 2003 Sa series, although my first cricketing memories was the 2003 world cup.
I have no idea why a 9 year old was watching it though or why I was watching it definitely wouldn't have watched it if it wasn't on FTA channel though.
Weirdly enough don't remember watching cricket in 2004 during the english summer but remember england touring sri lanka in the winter, remember staying up late to watch the highlights on Sky sports and again lara record breaking feat in 2004.
2014 Prem final placings prediction guru
2015 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 open golf prediction guru

2016/17 Australia vs india fantasy league
2017 WI vs England odi guru

ANTI ASHES.
Dr Cricket
 
Posts: 8167
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 am
Location: UK London
Team(s) Supported: India

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:31 pm

I thought C4 had a cartoon duo explaining the game. Someone and Stumpy. Willow and Stumpy.
2012-13 SL vs NZ combined fantasy guru

I always say that everybody's right.
User avatar
Arthur Crabtree
 
Posts: 54033
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 12:52 pm
Location: Nottingham
Team(s) Supported: Yorkshire/New England.

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby sussexpob » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:33 pm

Arthur Crabtree wrote:I thought C4 had a cartoon duo explaining the game. Someone and Stumpy. Willow and Stumpy.


Willow and Stumpy were sky
2010 French Open fantasy league guru 2010 Wimbledon fantasy league guru 2014 Masters golf fantasy guru 2015 Players Championship FL Guru 2016 Masters Golf Fantasy Guru

And a hat and bra to you too, my good sirs!
sussexpob
 
Posts: 23728
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:14 pm
Location: Asker, Norway
Team(s) Supported: Sussex and England Cricket, Vålerenga Fotball/FC Barcelona/Seagulls! ....
England and Norway at everything else

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Gingerfinch » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:46 pm

Lots to choose from, but one of my first ashes memories was watching Border getting a standing ovation after scoring 58 at the Oval in his final innings on the 1985 tour. It was a typical Border knock.
2014 SA-Oz Tests fantasy guru
User avatar
Gingerfinch
 
Posts: 19369
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:18 pm
Location: Oxford
Team(s) Supported: Wycombe Wanderers.

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Durhamfootman » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:14 pm

Hard to ignore the tash 4 years ago (was it really that long ago?). The various WIndies fast bowling quartets of the 70's were truly staggering, but the pictures on the telly were grainy, and I don't think gave the bowlers the justice they deserved. The tash certainly did produce a series defining spell of hostile bowling at a time when fast bowling was a thing of the past, where soggy bottom pitches sucked the very life out of fast bowlers

Warne was awesome in '05.... fancy taking 40 wickets in 5 matches and ending up on the losing side

For me, I always go back to '81 Headingley. England were in *modded* bits in that series 1-0 down after 2 tests, Captain Botham had just copped a pair, been hauled before the board and sacked as skipper. Aussies were in total control of that 3rd test. England had been reduced to 135-7 following on, yet Botham hauled them back into the game with an unbeaten 149 and once Willis had run through the Aussie order, England had leveled the series and Botham had match figures of 199 runs and 7 wickets.

4th test was a low scoring affair which England contrived to lose, but eventually won by 29 runs thanks to Botham lifting the Aussie tail, taking their last 5 wickets for only 1 run.

5th test saw England, with a hundred run first innings lead, fall to 104-5 in the 3rd. With England on the rack, Botham raced extravagantly to 118 and dragged England to safety. The Aussies, through Border, tried to grind out a draw, but England were to prevail. The margin was 103 runs

the series was dead by the time they got to the Oval, but Botham still had a 10 wicket match haul up his sleeve to ensure the Aussies lost the series 3-1

despite the captaincy and performance woes of the first 2 tests, Botham finished the series as England's leading run scorer with 399 and leading wicket taker with 34
2017 Open Golf FL
2016 Australia-SouthAfrica test FL
2016 County Championship D1 FL
2016 Indian Premier League FL
2015 County Fantasy Manager
2015 Big Bash League FL
2014 WI-England test and ODI FL
2014 County Championship D2 FL
2013 County Championship D2 FL
2012 Twenty20 Cup FL
Durhamfootman
 
Posts: 29898
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Chester-le-Street
Team(s) Supported: Durham CCC
I've given up football

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Durhamfootman » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:24 pm

For all Johnson tore England apart, he did it from ball one and in almost no time at all he'd reduced England to quivering jellies. That series was over after Adelaide. Australia were rampant, England a mess

when Botham produced his greatest ashes performance, he did it nearly half way through, with Australia rampant and England in a mess

For me, Johnson set the whole tone of his series and was able to maintain it, Botham fought back, turned the series on its head and paved the way for England glory.... and this was immediately after the humiliation of being stripped of the captaincy. I'm not sure how many players could have done that
2017 Open Golf FL
2016 Australia-SouthAfrica test FL
2016 County Championship D1 FL
2016 Indian Premier League FL
2015 County Fantasy Manager
2015 Big Bash League FL
2014 WI-England test and ODI FL
2014 County Championship D2 FL
2013 County Championship D2 FL
2012 Twenty20 Cup FL
Durhamfootman
 
Posts: 29898
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Chester-le-Street
Team(s) Supported: Durham CCC
I've given up football

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Durhamfootman » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:29 pm

The only other England player, that I have seen, who has the ability to utterly destroy the opposition single handedly has been Broad. Perhaps when he's retired he'll get the credit he's probably due.
2017 Open Golf FL
2016 Australia-SouthAfrica test FL
2016 County Championship D1 FL
2016 Indian Premier League FL
2015 County Fantasy Manager
2015 Big Bash League FL
2014 WI-England test and ODI FL
2014 County Championship D2 FL
2013 County Championship D2 FL
2012 Twenty20 Cup FL
Durhamfootman
 
Posts: 29898
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Chester-le-Street
Team(s) Supported: Durham CCC
I've given up football

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby sussexpob » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:58 pm



These are some of the sort balls from that Gabba test last time round, some vicious stuff here.
2010 French Open fantasy league guru 2010 Wimbledon fantasy league guru 2014 Masters golf fantasy guru 2015 Players Championship FL Guru 2016 Masters Golf Fantasy Guru

And a hat and bra to you too, my good sirs!
sussexpob
 
Posts: 23728
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:14 pm
Location: Asker, Norway
Team(s) Supported: Sussex and England Cricket, Vålerenga Fotball/FC Barcelona/Seagulls! ....
England and Norway at everything else

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby sussexpob » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:21 pm

Durhamfootman wrote:For me, Johnson set the whole tone of his series and was able to maintain it, Botham fought back, turned the series on its head and paved the way for England glory.... and this was immediately after the humiliation of being stripped of the captaincy. I'm not sure how many players could have done that


Australia were 90-5 by memory in that Brisbane first innings, and Johnson scored 60 or 70 runs in a partnership with Haddin that saved the day, does that count
2010 French Open fantasy league guru 2010 Wimbledon fantasy league guru 2014 Masters golf fantasy guru 2015 Players Championship FL Guru 2016 Masters Golf Fantasy Guru

And a hat and bra to you too, my good sirs!
sussexpob
 
Posts: 23728
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:14 pm
Location: Asker, Norway
Team(s) Supported: Sussex and England Cricket, Vålerenga Fotball/FC Barcelona/Seagulls! ....
England and Norway at everything else

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Durhamfootman » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:12 am

undoubtedly

he had a remarkable series. As awesome as it was unexpected (over here, at least)
2017 Open Golf FL
2016 Australia-SouthAfrica test FL
2016 County Championship D1 FL
2016 Indian Premier League FL
2015 County Fantasy Manager
2015 Big Bash League FL
2014 WI-England test and ODI FL
2014 County Championship D2 FL
2013 County Championship D2 FL
2012 Twenty20 Cup FL
Durhamfootman
 
Posts: 29898
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Chester-le-Street
Team(s) Supported: Durham CCC
I've given up football

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby alfie » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:04 am

I'm with The Footman on this. Watched the Ashes since 1956 (OK very young then and didn't take much in...so Laker doesn't get my prize :)

Have seen a lot of outstanding performances : some technical master classes ; some game changing fight backs ; some just thrilling innings/ bursts of bowling : but nothing to match the sheer drama of Botham in 1981 turning not one but three successive matches on their heads .

Sure there were others involved (Willis with the ball at Headingley -and Dilley and Old supporting him with the bat ; Tavare in his second great - and technically superior - innings in the Fifth Test ; and in truth his astonishing burst of bowling at Edgbaston capped off the magnificent earlier work of Willis , Emburey and Old - and the master of maintaining pressure in the field , captain Mike Brearley) : and one might question the strength of the Australian team : but I really can't put anything else on the same level as that summer of miracles.

Pity he's a rubbish commentator but I'll forgive him a lot for those (still vivid) memories.
alfie
 
Posts: 4675
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:26 am

Re: Greatest Ashes performances?

Postby Dr Cricket » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:16 pm

BT Sports were showing the 2005 Lords test highlights brings some memories.
2014 Prem final placings prediction guru
2015 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 Prem final placings prediction guru
2016 open golf prediction guru

2016/17 Australia vs india fantasy league
2017 WI vs England odi guru

ANTI ASHES.
Dr Cricket
 
Posts: 8167
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 am
Location: UK London
Team(s) Supported: India

Next

Return to International Cricket

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests