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Combined Australia-England Ashes XI

The Ashes. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Almost after one and a half years, The Ashes will be back with action and this time, England will be hosting the oldest and most distinguished tournament. This English summer, Australia will look forward to retaining the trophy as they lifted the Ashes urn in the last edition of the series held in Australia.

With the fabled competition just a few days away, let’s remember some Aussie and England players who lit up the coveted Test series with their unprecedented performances. In the last few decades, both teams have played a lot of competitive cricket and delivered a great many swashbuckling performances to folks who are fervent supporters of Test cricket. Recounting memories, one can also make a formidable Australia-England playing XI, picking up some prolific names.

Here is the combined Australia-England Ashes XI squad

1. Matthew Hayden

Matthew Hayden. (Photo Source: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Matthew Hayden was known for his belligerent batting attitude in all forms of the game. In Test cricket, he served Australia for 12 years and made it to the list of most successful batters. Talking about his numbers in Ashes, the left-handed batter played 20 matches, in which he scored 1’461 runs with five centuries and a couple of fifties in 35 innings.

In the 2002-03 Ashes, Australia hosted England and clinched a 4-1 victory under Steve Waugh, and Hayden played a major role with his bat. With 496 runs in eight innings of five matches at an average of 62.00, he ended up becoming the highest run-getter for his team. 

The dasher appeared in Ashes for the last time in the 2006-07 edition and this time, he powered his team with his spunky batting. Chipping in with 413 runs in nine innings of five matches, he played a pivotal part in his team’s one-sided 5-0 win in the series.

2. Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook of England celebrates reaching a century. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Alastair Cook was known for mastery in Test batting. In his 13-year Test career, he played attacking cricket and ended up as the most successful batter for England with 12’472 runs in 291 innings of 161 matches. These numbers corroborate his stature as a batter in the longest format of the sport. 
Against arch-rivals Australia, his record is amazing as the southpaw is on the list of top England batters who have performed exceptionally in the Ashes. Piling up 2’493 runs in 64 innings of 35 Tests of the Ashes, he is the most successful batter for England in the 21st century. 

In 2011, England won the Ashes in Australia after 24 years, and in this immense success, Cook looked aggressive with his bat and became the Player of the Match. This time, he smashed 766 runs in seven innings of five matches and helped his team to seal the series by a 3-1 margin.

3. Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting of Australia (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

During his playing days, Ricky Ponting was famous for butchering the confidence of bowlers in Test cricket. His presence on the field used to daunt his opponents, as the Aussie was known for batting to perfection with his temperament and skills. In the longest format of the game, he is still the second-most successful batter with 13’378 runs in 287 innings of 168 matches at an average of 51.85.

Discussing his numbers against England in The Ashes, the Aussie smashed 2’476 runs in 58 innings from 35 appearances at a staggering average of 61.53. These batting figures define his influence in the blockbuster rivalry. In 2005, Ashes was played in England. Captaining Australia in the Ashes for the first time in 2005, Ponting looked positive as a batter but couldn’t win the competition for his team.

In the Ashes 2006-07, Australia hosted England and the former held the urn with their one-sided 5-0 triumph. Ponting, who was captaining his side for the second time in the Ashes, led from the front and became the highest run-getter with 576 runs in eight innings from five matches. For his magnificent batting display, he also got the Player of the Tournament award. 

4. Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen of England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen broke into Test cricket in the Ashes 2005 with his dazzling batting shows. Riding on his scintillating performances, England came out victorious in the Test series against Australia after 18 years. Notching up 473 runs in 10 innings of five matches, he ended up as the leading run-scorer in the tournament and made his maiden Test series memorable

In the next edition, Australia humiliated England by 5-0 and took away the urn. However, one thing that went well for the English side was its the-then premier batter, Pietersen, who produced stunning batting masterclasses. Despite his team’s failure, the former England stalwart didn’t lose confidence and hit 490 runs in 10 innings of five matches. These numbers also made him the second-leading run-getter in the competition. 

The dynamic right-handed batter played his last international game against Australia in the fifth Test of the Ashes 2013-14. Throughout the competition, England struggled to be among the wins but Pietersen again stood tall in his squad, becoming the highest run-getter for England with 294 runs in 10 innings of five matches.

5. Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Ben Stokes’s Test career started in the second Test of the 2013-14 Ashes in Adelaide. In his debut Test series, England faced a drubbing at the hands of the hosts but the New Zealand-born England player looked decent in both batting and bowling departments. 

Racking up 279 runs and 14 wickets in eight innings of four matches, he played his part efficiently. After the 2013-14 Ashes, his next eye-grabbing performance came in the blockbuster rivalry in 2019. This time, the Aussies played quality cricket on English conditions and succeeded in retaining the urn by levelling the series by 2-2.

For the English side, things could’ve gone worse if Ben Stokes had not rescued England with his unbeaten 135-run knock in the third Test at Leeds. While chasing 359, England were nine down on 286 and the defeat looked inevitable for the hosts. However, Stokes, who was batting excellently, held his nerves and stitched an unbroken 76-run partnership with Jack Leech for the tenth wicket to help his team cross the line. 

6. Adam Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist, Australia. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Adam Gilchrist will be considered one of the most aggressive batters of all time in Test cricket. Batting down the order, the southpaw used to play fearlessly during his tenure in the Australian Test team. He served his nation in four editions of the Ashes from 2001-07, in which he accumulated 1083 runs in 28 innings of 20 outings at a strike rate of 92.01.

Gilchrist powered Australia with batting exploits in the 2001 and 2002-03 Ashes victories but remained an unsung hero. In 2005, his team faced a Test series defeat at the hands of England after 18 years and the wicketkeeper batter emerged as one of the Aussie stalwarts who failed to turn up against bowlers on English wickets.

In November 2006, England toured Australia for the 5-match Test series, and the hosts didn’t miss a chance to come heavily on the visitors. Noting underconfident England under Andrew Flintoff, Gilchrist also utilised an opportunity to dominate the opponents in the second innings of the third Test in Perth. Smashing a 57-ball ton, he became the fastest centurion in the Ashes.

7. Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff. (© Getty Images)

Andrew Flintoff is remembered as one of the finest all-rounders to play for England in Test cricket. In England’s spectacular triumph against Australia after 18 years in the Ashes, the stylish all-rounder played a major role. In both batting and bowling departments, the English player showcased his mettle. 

With his bat, he scored 402 runs in 10 innings of five matches and became the third leading run-getter in the competition, following his teammates Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen. Talking about his bowling display, the veteran spearheaded England’s bowling attack from the front and ended up becoming the second-leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in nine innings.

In August 2009, Flintoff played his last international match against Australia in the fifth Ashes Test of 2009 held at The Oval, London. Like the 2005 edition, this time, Flintoff couldn’t reinforce his side with his all-round skills but in the second Test at the iconic Lord’s, he utilised his experience and bagged six wickets in the match to help his team pocket the match by 115 runs. 

8. Shane Warne

Shane Warne. (Photo Source: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Late Shane Warne was known for playing with the minds of batters with his aggressive gaming style. In the Ashes, the Aussie used to give nightmares to the English side and his numbers corroborate the fact.  With 195 wickets in 72 innings of 36 Tests, the cricketing legend is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. Playing his maiden Ashes edition in 1993, Warne wreaked havoc on England batters and finished as the highest wicket-taker in the competition.

Clinching 34 wickets in 12 innings of six matches, he played a major role in his team’s 4-1 win. For his fabulous show with the ball, he also became the joint Player of the Tournament along with England’s Graham Gooch, who scored the most runs in the competition. In 2007, he bid adieu to international cricket in style.

Appearing in the Ashes for the last time in 2006-07, Warne again showed why he was the best spinner in the business. At the age of 37, the former spin wizard trapped 23 batters in 10 innings of five games and ended up as the second-leading wicket-taker. 

9. Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad (Photo Source: Twitter/England Cricket)

Stuart Broad is one of the most versatile talented bowlers England got in Test cricket. His years of diligence and perseverance have placed him in the second spot on the list of highest wicket-takers for England in the longest format of the sport. In the fierce rivalry between England and Australia in the oldest format of cricket, he has performed efficiently for his team with the ball.

Playing his debut Ashes edition in 2009, Broad strengthen his team’s fast-bowling unit with experienced James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff. In England’s 2-1 success in the competition, the right-arm pacer became the highest wicket-taker for his team with 18 wickets in eight innings of five matches.

In the 2015 Ashes, England succeed against Australia at home by 3-2 and Broad contributed 21 wickets to his side in nine innings of five matches. With these numbers, he also became the highest wicket-taker in the competition. Currently, he is the most successful bowler for England in the Ashes with 131 wickets in 64 innings of 35 matches.

10. James Anderson

James Anderson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

James Anderson is the most successful pacer in the longest format of cricket, with 685 wickets in 333 innings of 179 Tests. The speedster took Mohammed Shami’s wickets in the second innings of the fifth Test between England and India in 2018 and surpassed Australia’s Glenn McGrath, who was the highest wicket-taking pacer with 563 wickets in 243 innings of 124 Tests.

In 2011, England won the Ashes in Australia after 24 years, with the heroics of Alastair Cook. While one more England stalwart who strengthened England’s campaign was Anderson, who put up an extraordinary show with the ball. Hunting 24 scalps in 10 innings of five matches, he reinforced his side and topped the chart of bowlers with the most wickets in the competition.

After 2011, the veteran bolstered England again to retain the urn. Riding on his effective bowling performances, the English team vanquished the Aussie by 3-0. So far, the 40-year-old has picked up 112 wickets in 35 contests of the Ashes.

11. Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Glenn McGrath is one of the most prolific bowlers to play the game of cricket. Providing his services to Australia cricket for 14 years, the veteran delivered a great many match-winning performances in all forms of the game. In Tests, he redefined seam bowling with his disciplined shows and ended his career as the most successful pacer.

In the Ashes, McGrath showcased his mettle with the ball for the first time in 1997. Fetching 36 wickets in 12 innings of six games, he helped his team to grab a 3-2 triumph. These numbers also helped him become the highest-wicket taker to receive the Player of the Tournament award with Graham Thorpe.

Delivering his services to Australia in the Ashes from 1994-2007, he became the second-leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 157 scalps in 30 matches. His best bowling performance came during the second Test in the Lord’s in 1997 when he claimed 8/38 figures.   

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