Almanac Cricket: An Australian WACA XI

There’s been a bit of talk about the Australian XI to play at the WACA next week. Well, the selectors need worry no more, the stats have picked an XI for them.

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All players are still alive, so it’s possible.

The batting

Dean Jones leads the charge thanks to his 150 not out against India at his final test at the venue in 1992. He also collected a century against Sri Lanka in 1988.

Michael Slater is next, given his impressive domestic record, thanks to his two 1995 tests at the WACA with 219 against Sri Lanka and 124 against England.

Damien Martyn makes a surprise appearance at number four with an 100 not out venue swan song against Pakistan in 2004, while a trifling 380 in 2003 dragged Matty Hayden’s average to a sufficiently high level despite three WACA ducks.

Steve Waugh makes up the numbers somewhat as life has been hard for number sixes out west. He never made a test century at the WACA but a 91 against the West Indies in 1988 is, on balance, probably worth more than a century anyway.

Honourable mentions to Brad Hodge who averaged 244 in his one test at the WACA and Mitch Starc who has only been dismissed once in his five innings there. Hence his current average (and aggregate) of a David Shepherd hopping 111.

The keeper

Sorry Rod Marsh but WA’s adopted son, Adam Gilchrist, is the only wicket keeper for this venue. That astonishing century in the 2006 Ashes alone got him his admission ticket, let alone his 37 dismissals at the WACA.

The bowlers

Given the selection criteria the first bowler picked is Merv Hughes with 39 wickets at 19.28, strike rate 41.4. Merv’s particular heroics can be traced to his 13 wicket match against the West Indies in 1988. That effort was all the more impressive for his hat-trick spread across three overs and two innings.



How plumb can you be, indeed Richie! Rod Hogg is next with 25 wickets at 20.08, strike rate 49.6. Hogg’s debut at the WACA was his most fruitful, collecting two bags of five (adding up to 10, surprisingly) against England in 1978. Like Hughes, a solid bowling performance in a substantial loss.

Craig McDermott makes up the quick triumvirate with 38 wickets at a strike rate of 46.8. Billy the Kid was at his most destructive at the WACA against England in 1991 taking 11 for 157 across the two innings in a nine wicket win. McDermott took the first seven wickets in England’s first innings; not too shabby.

And, again, a surprise maker up of the numbers is some leggy named Warne. The frosted tweaker is the only Australian spinner to have taken 25 WACA wickets so qualifies despite his comparatively hefty average of 36.45 at a strike rate of 77.1. Who’d be a spinner at the WACA?

Honourable mentions to Jason Gillespie who would have been the fourth quick selected and Mike Whitney for his one test wonder of 11 wickets at 8.63 in 1992 against India. Sadly footage of the 11 wickets is not available, so you’ll just have to be satisfied with this contemporary footage instead.



So, that’s what some numbers suggest. Who would you pick in your all time WACA team?


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About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Exhibit A of how stats deceive. 380 against a minnow earns a spot for a bloke who consistently made ducks at the ground. At least Barry Richards got his 356 against Lillee, McKenzie and Lock!

  2. Spot on McA – take that innings away and he averages 26 at the WACA. David Warner is guaranteed to replace him based upon these criteria as he plays his 5th test at the venue this week and currently averages 96 there. Interestingly (to me anyway) just as an opener David Boon averages 55 at the WACA which includes four innings against the West Indies.

  3. Peter Warrington says

    I would have to have DK in after rolling a sort-of world XI for 51

    Mitch Johnson sits on 22.8 with ball and 25 with the bat. and broke a few fingers. second picked.

    Roo Yardely averaged 25 in 4 tests. bend the rules. good to watch.

    Dean Jones out. just because. never liked him.

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Fair team Dave. Agree with Peter W re: Bruce Yardley. How does Chris Matthews stack up?

  5. Dave Brown says

    All sound suggestions, Peter and Phil… well, almost all. DK’s record at the WACA is, for him, not that great. 30 wickets at 27 with a strikerate of 62 in seven tests. His last couple of tests there only returned 5 wickets at a tad over fifty. If those games ever get test recognition his record will improve.

    Mitch J’s last test cost him here too, taking three wickets at almost 60. I think you’d still pick him at 6 ahead of Marsh. Interestingly, a 15 wicket minimum entry requirement would yield a bowling attack of Kasprowicz, Hughes, Harris and Yardley – certainly different.

    Chris Matthews’s 3 wickets at 42 had him slightly off the pace but it was against the conquering 1986 poms

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Always happy to see a Test team with DM Jones in it.
    Was JL Langer close?
    Love the Mike Whitney clip!

  7. Yeah, Langer would be next opener selected, Luke. 711 runs at 44 across 10 tests. Two massive innings: 144 against Pakistan in 1999 and 191 against Pakistan in 2004 but also six innings at 10 or lower.

  8. Dave the stats show perfectly why so many teams pick the 4 quicks with no spinner at the waca
    Luke I have a feeling after the article got put on Dean Jones face book time line that a lot of people no that he made this side

  9. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Rulebook, that and as Peter points out the restrictions of my qualification rules. Yardley has the best record for a spinner at the WACA really.

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