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How well do you know the Ashes?

As Australia and England prepare for The Ashes, here are a few facts from one of the most famous rivalries in cricket history. We count down with 30 facts in 30 days before the first Test begins in Brisbane on November 23!
Ashes

Fact 29 (November 20)

On 4 December 1936 at the ‘Gabba, John Scott was umpiring his first Test Match, and took the first over. He was then required to make a decision from the first delivery of the match as England’s Stan Worthington was caught behind by Bert Oldfield from the bowling of Ernie McCormick.

Fact 28 (November 19)

Graeme Swann bowled the 54th over of Australia’s second innings at Brisbane in 2013 to Michael Clarke and David Warner. He conceded 16 runs, with a dot, a single, a two, a three, a four and a six – the only such known occurrence in Ashes history.

Graeme Swann bowled a rather interesting over in the Brisbane Test of the 2013-14 Ashes.
Graeme Swann bowled a rather interesting over in the Brisbane Test of the 2013-14 Ashes.

Fact 27 (November 18)

The batsmen did not change ends in the first 38.5 overs of Australia's 2nd innings at Old Trafford in 1948. Arthur Morris batted throughout, but there was a wicket at the other end in the 12th over. There were numerous bowling changes and 56 runs.

Arthur Morris was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2017.
Arthur Morris was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2017.

Fact 26 (November 17)

In 2015 at Nottingham, Stuart Broad became the first bowler to ever take as many as eight wickets before lunch on the first day of a Test.

England sealed the Ashes in 2015 through Stuart Broad's amazing figures of 8 for 15 in Nottingham.
England sealed the Ashes in 2015 through Stuart Broad's amazing figures of 8 for 15 in Nottingham.

Fact 25 (November 16)

Chris Sabburg came onto the field at Brisbane to field as a substitute for Ryan Harris during England’s second innings. From just the second delivery he was on the field, he caught Kevin Pietersen at long leg for 26.

Chris Sabburg rose to fame with the catch of Kevin Pietersen in his 100th Test.
Chris Sabburg rose to fame with the catch of Kevin Pietersen in his 100th Test.

Fact 24 (November 15)

At The Oval in 1912, Gerry Hazlitt ended England’s second innings with a spell of five wickets for one run with the final 17 deliveries of his Test career.

Fact 23 (November 14)

On day three of the SCG Test in the 1891/92 series Alec Bannerman faced 423 deliveries scoring 67 runs. This is the most number of deliveries faced by a single batsman in a single day’s Test cricket.

Fact 22 (November 13)

The longest (as opposed to highest) single innings with no extras whatsoever is 191.5 overs by Australia (236) at MCG 1891/92. This applies to all first-class cricket.

Fact 21 (November 12)

Between lunch and tea on day four of the Melbourne Tests in February 1925, Jack Gregory suffered the misfortune of being dismissed twice in the same session – the only batsman to suffer such a fate in Ashes cricket.

Fact 20 (November 11)

England’s team at Sydney in 2014 featured eight left-handed batsmen, which set a new record for them. Coincidentally, all eight bowl with their right arms.

Fact 19 (November 10)

In the 2013-14 series Nathan Lyon became only the second player to go an entire five-Test series without being dismissed!

Bill Johnston managed it for Australia against South Africa in 1949/50, but he was only called upon to bat twice.

Nathan Lyon remained unbeaten throughout the 2013-14 Ashes series at home in Australia.
Nathan Lyon remained unbeaten throughout the 2013-14 Ashes series at home in Australia.

Fact 18 (November 9)

Jason Gillespie once managed to take five wickets in seven Ashes deliveries. At Perth in 1998, he took three wickets with the last four balls of his 15th over, and added another with the second ball of his next over, finishing off England’s second innings. On his next Ashes appearance at Edgbaston in 2001 he dismissed Marcus Trescothick with his first ball.

Jason Gillespie's five-for extended across two series and three years.
Jason Gillespie's five-for extended across two series and three years.

Fact 17 (November 8)

Bob Willis bowled 28 no-balls in Australia’s first innings in the 1981 Lord’s Ashes Test and Steve Harmison bowled 6 wides in Australia’s first innings at Brisbane in 2006. He may have been a leg-spinner, but in contrast, Clarrie Grimmett did not bowl a single no-ball or wide in his 22 Ashes Tests over the course of which he bowled 9164 deliveries.

Clarrie Grimmett didn't bowl a single no-ball or wide during his 22 Ashes Tests.
Clarrie Grimmett didn't bowl a single no-ball or wide during his 22 Ashes Tests.

Fact 16 (November 7)

Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor batted throughout the first day of Mike Atherton’s Test career at Nottingham in 1989 to reach 301-0. However, the longest Ashes partnership took place at Adelaide in 1929. Wally Hammond and Douglas Jardine added 262 together for England’s third wicket which took up 146.1 overs – or 877 deliveries.

Fact 15 (November 6)

The longest bowling spell in an Ashes Test was by Aussie off-spinner Tom Veivers who bowled the last 51.1 of his 95.1 overs unchanged at Old Trafford in 1964. This broke the record set in the Sydney Test of 1894 when Australian keeper and captain Jack Blackham was injured during England’s second innings and had to leave the field. George Giffen took over as captain, put himself on to bowl the very next over, and then bowled 50 consecutive overs until England were dismissed.

Fact 14 (November 5)

The most fours ever hit by one batsman in an Ashes innings is 46 – by Don Bradman in his innings of 334 at Headingley in 1930. The England record is held by Nasser Hussain – who hit 38 fours in his match-winning 207 at Edgbaston in 1997. Bob Cowper’s innings of 307 at Melbourne in 1966 contained 26 threes due to very long boundaries and an exceptionally slow outfield.

Don Bradman hit 46 fours in his innings of 334 at Headingley in 1930
Don Bradman hit 46 fours in his innings of 334 at Headingley in 1930

Fact 13 (November 4)

The longest time spent before getting off the mark in an Ashes Test for England is 80 balls by John Murray, batting with a shoulder injury at the SCG in 1963. The highest figure for Australia is 76 balls by Carl Rackemann at the same venue in 1991.

John Murray took 80 balls to get off the mark, batting with a broken shoulder.
John Murray took 80 balls to get off the mark, batting with a broken shoulder.

Fact 12 (November 3)

The most runs in a session by a batsman in an Ashes Test is 127 off 100 balls between lunch and tea on day three by Stan McCabe during his innings of 232 at Nottingham in 1938. By contrast, the fewest runs by a batsman in a complete session is eight, by Trevor Bailey before lunch on day four of the Brisbane Test of 1958.

Fact 11 (November 2)

England has only ever won five Ashes Tests when they have won the toss and elected to bowl: at Melbourne in 1912 1986 and 2010, at Edgbaston in 1985, and at Nottingham in 2015 – all five by an innings.

England sealed a brilliant win in Nottingham, winning the 2015 Ashes.
England sealed a brilliant win in Nottingham, winning the 2015 Ashes.

Fact 10 (November 1)

Kevin Pietersen faced 3852 deliveries in Ashes cricket, hitting a record 24 of them for six. Mike Atherton managed precisely one six from his 4974 Ashes balls faced – a hook off Jason Gillespie at Old Trafford in 1997. However, Geoff Boycott played 38 Ashes Tests facing 8568 balls, but didn’t manage to hit any of them over the boundary.

Pietersen last appeared for England in the Ashes in the 2013-14 series.
Pietersen last appeared for England in the Ashes in the 2013-14 series.

Fact 9 (October 31)

Only two teenagers have ever played for England in Ashes cricket – Brian Close in 1950 and Ben Hollioake in 1997. Australia have fielded 12 different teenagers against England – the most recent being Ashton Agar in 2013. One player from each country has played Ashes cricket when aged over fifty. WG Grace represented England and Bert Ironmonger Australia.

Ashton Agar made his Australian Test debut in the 2013 Ashes in England.
Ashton Agar made his Australian Test debut in the 2013 Ashes in England.

Fact 8 (October 30)

Many players have been dismissed first ball in an Ashes Test Match, but only two have suffered that misfortune in both innings. England’s William Attewell at Sydney in 1892 and Australia’s Ryan Harris at Adelaide in 2010.

Fact 7 (October 29)

In both the 1930 and 1934 series, Australia sealed their Ashes triumph on 22 August, which coincidentally happened to be the birthday of their captain Bill Woodfull. It could happen this time as England captain Joe Root was born on 30 December.

Joe Root could seal the Ashes on his birthday on 30th December, if England are lucky.
Joe Root could seal the Ashes on his birthday on 30th December, if England are lucky.

Fact 6 (October 28)

There have been three centuries scored before lunch on the first day of an Ashes Test – by Victor Trumper at Manchester in 1902, Charlie Macartney at Leeds in 1926 and Don Bradman also at Leeds in 1930. Two bowlers have taken five wickets before lunch on the first day of an Ashes Test – Fred Spofforth at Melbourne in 1879 and Tom Richardson at Lord’s in 1896.

Fact 5 (October 27)

In England, the hottest Ashes cricket was played in the 1975 Lord’s Test when the temperature reached 34 Celsius in the shade. Ironically, earlier that summer, the county championship match between Derbyshire and Lancashire at Buxton had lost a day due to snow!

It was a sweltering day in London as the hottest Ashes Test played in England was at Lord's in 1975.
It was a sweltering day in London as the hottest Ashes Test played in England was at Lord's in 1975.

Fact 4 (October 26)

The Ashes urn itself is only 11 centimetres high, making it one of the shortest trophies in sport. Steven Finn is England’s tallest Ashes cricketer ever – at 6 feet 8 inches. Bruce Reid was Australia’s tallest Ashes player, also at 6 feet 8 inches. Alfred ‘Tich’ Freeman played two matches for England on the 1924/25 tour despite being only five feet two inches tall – the shortest Ashes player for either side.

Steven Finn is part of the current England squad hoping to reclaim the Ashes, starting on November 23.
Steven Finn is part of the current England squad hoping to reclaim the Ashes, starting on November 23.

Fact 3 (October 25)

Only one man has played for both England against Australia and Australia against England in Test cricket. That man was Billy Midwinter who represented Australia in 1877 before switching allegiance for the next five years. 

Billy Midwinter
Billy Midwinter

Fact 2 (October 24)

The most runs from a single stroke in an Ashes Test is eight, thanks to two sets of overthrows, by Patsy Hendren off Percy Hornibrook at Melbourne in March 1929 – as reported in the newspaper.

Fact 1 (October 23)

Whichever side wins the Ashes, the actual urn normally remains in the Lord’s Museum. However, had it been allowed to travel to the country of the winner, it would have clocked up 253,272 miles since 1882. With Australia’s win in 2013/14 the distance covered by the urn surpassed the distance from the earth to the moon!

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