We are already enjoying the fierce rivalry between England and Australia in the ongoing Ashes 2023 series. Today, we’ll take a look at the top six highest-scoring batsmen in a single Ashes series.
The Ashes, widely regarded as cricket’s most important Test rivalry, is where heroes are made. One of the sport’s oldest rivalries, England vs. Australia, always makes headlines, and when the two sides meet in Tests, the stakes can’t get any higher. Several heroes and legends emerge from the Ashes as a result of their bat-and-ball performances. Here are the top six highest-scoring batsmen in a single Ashes series in history.
Sir Donald Bradman: 974 Runs in Five Tests and Seven Innings
Most people will not be surprised to see Sir Donald Bradman at the top of this list. The legendary Australian batsman had been a thorn in the side of English bowlers since his debut against them, and little had changed when the Aussies toured their archrivals in 1930. Bradman was in imperious form, finishing the tour with an average of 139.14 and four centuries to help Australia come back from a 1-0 deficit to win the series 2-1.
He hit game-winning scores of 254 and 232 to help the tourists win the second and fifth Tests, respectively. His other two tonnes on the tour came in the first and third Tests, when he scored 131 in a loss and 334 in a draw.
Wally Hammond: 905 Runs in Five Tests and Nine Innings
During Australia’s 1928–29 tour, England legend Wally Hammond dominated the bowling lineup. He finished the tour with a stunning average of 113.12 and four centuries, helping England win the series 4-1. Hammond hit two centuries, the first in England’s first innings of the second Test, when he made 251. His second century was another double tonne, this time 200, and it came in the first innings of the third Test. Hammond’s other two centuries came in the fourth Test, where he batted unbeaten for 119 in the first innings and 177 in the second.
Mark Taylor: 839 Runs in Six Tests and 11 Innings
The only six-match Ashes series on this list, the 1989 tour of England, was extremely fruitful for Mark Taylor, who had only made his debut for Australia earlier that year. He finished the tour with an 83.90 average and two hundred and five fifties, including a best of 219. He scored 136 in the first innings of the first Test and 219 in the fifth, for which he was named Player of the Match. Australia won both matches in which Taylor scored a century, and his five fifties indicate that he was consistent throughout the tour. Australia eventually won the series 4-0, winning the second and fourth Tests as well.
Sir Donald Bradman: 810 Runs in Five Tests and Nine Innings
The 1936–37 Ashes, England’s first tour of Australia after the infamous bodyline series, saw Bradman lead the hosts to a 3-2 series victory. During that series, Bradman scored three centuries and a fifty at an average of 90, helping his team come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the series. Unsurprisingly, his three tonnes came in the hosts’ three victories in the third, fourth, and fifth Tests. He scored 270 in the second innings of the third Test while batting at seven, 212 in the second innings of the fourth Test, and 169 in the first innings of the fifth Test.
Steve Smith: 774 Runs in Four Tests and Seven Innings
The most recent series on the list, Steve Smith’s heroics in the 2019 Ashes tour, will be remembered for a long time. Smith was making his Test comeback after a year-long ban for ball-tampering, and he was up against not only England’s strong bowling lineup but also a hostile crowd eager to see him fail. Smith, on the other hand, batted like a man possessed, hitting three tonnes and three fifties for a 110.57 average.
He could have gotten more runs, but he had to miss one Test due to a concussion caused by a Jofra Archer bouncer to the head. Smith scored 144 runs in the first innings and 142 runs in the second innings of the first Test. After recovering from his concussion, he made 211 in the fourth Test, helping Australia draw the series 2-2 and retain the Ashes.
Alastair Cook: 766 Runs in Five Tests and Seven Innings
Alastair Cook has seen more of England’s modern Ashes history than anyone else. Cook played every Ashes Test in his 12-year international career, scoring more runs than any other player on either side. Only Archie MacLaren led England in more Ashes Tests than Cook did as captain at the turn of the century.
Cook lost 14 of the other 15 Tests he played in Australia, including the 2013-14 5-0 clean sweep as captain, despite being named series player of the series for 766 runs in England’s famous 2010-11 win down under. He never lost in three series in England and is one of only three England captains to win more than one home Ashes series.
Cook made a name for himself against the Australians even before he played for England, scoring 214 as a 20-year-old for Essex against a team that was about to draw the fifth Test of the legendary 2005 summer, thereby losing the urn for the first time in 16 years.