From the magic of Shane Warne to the speed of Jeff Thompson, the Ashes has seen some of the greatest bowling performances in history. As this epic rivalry resumes over the next six weeks down under, we look back at the top five Ashes spells in the 21st Century.
5. Ryan Harris 6/47, Perth 2010
After returning from a long injury layoff, Ryan Harris showed his class in the second innings at Perth in 2010. The fast-bowler put on a masterclass of swing bowling as he finished with mesmerizing figures of 6 for 47, which reduced England to 123 all out in the second innings. Harris finished with nine wickets in the game, and helped Australia level the 5-match series at 1-1 heading into the 4th Test.
4. James Anderson 5/85 & 5/73, Trent Bridge 2013
The King of Swing enjoyed the perfect start to the 2013 Ashes at Trent Bridge, picking up two five-wicket hauls and registering his career-best figures of 10 for 158 in an Ashes Test. Anderson’s second innings performance – in particular – was the stuff of legend as the pacer ran through Australia’s lower order with the second new ball, picking up the last four wickets to give England a narrow 14-run victory.
3. Stuart Broad 8/15, Trent Bridge 2015
Stuart Broad decimated the Australian batting lineup at his home-ground in Nottingham, finishing with the best figures by any pacer in Ashes history as Australia crumbled for 60 in 2015. Broad removed Chris Rogers and Steve Smith with two brilliant outswingers in the first over of the game, and all of Broad’s eight wickets were either caught in the slips or by the wicketkeeper. The seamer wrapped up Australia’s innings in just 18.3 overs – the shortest first innings in cricket history – and helped England cruise to victory by an innings and 78 runs.
2. Andrew Flintoff 3/52 & 4/79, Edgbaston 2005
Andrew Flintoff’s spells in the 3rd Test of the 2005 Ashes at Edgbaston have veered towards the mythical as the all-rounder inspired a nation with one of the most complete performances in an Ashes Test. Flintoff bowled one of the great overs bowled in cricket history in the second innings, dismissing Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting within the space of 4 balls to set up England’s dramatic victory. In addition to his seven wickets in the match, the all-rounder also scored half-centuries in both innings as the hosts won the famous Edgbaston Test by just 2 runs
1. Mitchell Johnson 7/40, Adelaide 2013
At number one is one of the most frightening spells in cricket history from Mitchell Johnson, who broke the back of the English batting lineup with his swinging thunderbolts in the 2nd Test of the 2013 Ashes. After Australia put on a mammoth 570 in the first innings, the left-armer reduced England to 172 all-out and was simply too quick for the English batters, picking up his last six wickets in just 26 balls. Johnson set the tone for the innings with a jaffa to uproot a prime Alastair Cook and finished with seven wickets in the innings and a historic 37 in that series.
[Featured Image Credit: ANI]