England vs. Australia: Ranking the 5 Greatest Ashes Performances at Lord's

Rob Lancaster@RobLancs79Featured ColumnistJuly 14, 2015

England vs. Australia: Ranking the 5 Greatest Ashes Performances at Lord's

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    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Playing at Lord's can inspire individuals to do something special. When those moments of excellence come in an Ashes Test, they are particularly memorable.

    Ahead of the second match of the 2015 series between England and Australia, we have ranked the top five Ashes performances at the famous old ground.

    The London venue has been kind to the tourists in the past—they have only lost seven of the 35 Tests they have played there.

    They dominate our top five selections, along with a farewell appearance of some note from a talismanic England all-rounder.

Honourable Mentions

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Cutting the number down to five meant that some outstanding individual displays were always going to be left out.

    Hedley Verity was particularly unlucky, having claimed 15 wickets in a Test at Lord's in the 1934 series. The left-arm slow bowler dismissed Don Bradman twice as England won by an innings.

    Englishman Wally Hammond made 240 in the 1938 Ashes, while eight years earlier Warren Bardsley had hit 193 not out in Australia's total of 383.

    Back in 1993, Mark Taylor, Michael Slater and David Boon all reached three figures as Australia amassed a huge first-innings total of 632 for four declared. It would have been four centurions, but Mark Waugh was dismissed for 99.

    In more recent times, Andrew Strauss' 161 was crucial to England's victory in 2009, though he was not the most notable performer for the home team in that match.

5. Allan Border Holds Australia Together

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    Adrian Murrell/Getty Images

    Captain Allan Border led from the front with 196 as Australia levelled the 1985 Ashes with a victory in the second Test.

    The tourists slipped to 101 for four in reply to England's first-innings total of 430, only for Border to rescue them with a superb knock that included 22 fours and spanned over seven hours.

    The left-hander combined with Greg Ritchie (94) to put on 216 for the fifth wicket—and their alliance proved crucial in the final reckoning.

    Australia were left to chase 127 in the final innings yet lost half their side with only 65 on the scoreboard.

    Border, though, refused to concede. He hit an unbeaten 41 to steer Australia to a four-wicket win. He scored 43 percent of his team's runs in the entire match, according to Brian Scovill's report for Wisden (h/t ESPN Cricinfo).

4. Andrew Flintoff Signs Off in Style

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    Andrew Flintoff was the hero as England finally ended a 75-year wait for an Ashes victory at Lord's in 2009.

    The hosts left their opponents chasing a world-record 522 for victory in the second Test, though the impossible suddenly looked achievable when Australia closed Day 3 on 313 for five.

    However, Flintoff made sure England's barren run at cricket headquarters came to an end with a stunning spell on the fifth morning.

    The Lancashire all-rounder, who had only taken one wicket in Australia's first innings, bowled 10 overs in a row from the Pavilion End, as noted by Alex Brown of ESPN Cricinfo. He dismissed Brad Haddin with his fourth ball of the day and then accounted for Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle to finish with figures of five for 92.

    It was the perfect finish for Flintoff at Lord's, a venue where he had made his maiden Test century on English soil in 2003.

3. Glenn McGrath's Magic Eight

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    Sometimes, opposing bowlers can find it difficult to get used to the slope at Lord's. That certainly wasn't the case for Glenn McGrath, though, as he relished the chance to play there.

    On his first appearance at the venue, he picked up eight for 38 in the second Test in 1997, with England mustering just 77 all out.

    Rain meant the seamer was made to wait for his chance to debut at the ground, though he quickly made up for lost time when play finally got underway on Day 2.

    He found life out of the surface and, bowling a metronomic line and length, knocked over the home side almost single-handedly.

    Although England managed to hold on for a draw, McGrath will always have fond memories of the game. He told Lords TV (h/t Will Roe): "This ground was tailor-made for my style of bowling. If I could pick this wicket up and put it in my pocket and take it anywhere in the world, then happy days."

    The New South Welshman played three Tests at Lord's in his career, claiming 26 wickets at an average of 11.50.

2. Don Bradman Doubles Up Hosts

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    Len Putnam/Associated Press

    Don Bradman always relished the chance to tour England.

    On the 1930 tour, the legendary Australia batsman amassed 974 runs in the Ashes series, scoring 254 at Lord's in the second Test.

    The right-hander hit 25 fours in his 341-ball knock, helping the visiting team amass 729 for six before finally declaring.

    His efforts helped Australia level the series, though he made just one as they chased down a paltry target of 72 in the final innings.

    Astonishingly, it wasn't even Bradman's highest score on the trip. In the next Test, he made 334 at Headingley, scoring a record 309 runs in a single day's play.

1. Bob Massie Takes 16 on Debut

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    Talk about making an immediate impression: Bob Massie marked his debut for Australia in 1972 by taking 16 wickets.

    The seamer was 25 when he was picked to open the bowling alongside Dennis Lillee. He was nowhere near as quick as his team-mate, but Lord's played right into his hands.

    Massie's ability to swing the ball both ways had England in all sorts of trouble. 

    He claimed eight for 84 in the first innings before taking eight for 53 the second time around. Australia went on to win the Test by eight wickets, levelling the series at 1-1.

    The Western Australian might have hoped that such a stunning start would lead to a long international career. However, he played in just five more Tests, the last of them coming in January 1973.

    Still, it is a testament to his performance that the second Test in 1972 is always known as Massie's Match.


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