The Ashes 2019 – Fifth Test: Oval-teamie, The Oval Australian Test XI


Here we are, late again, sorry. Your humble correspondent does not even have a permission slip from his parents so a harsh detention is fully expected.


So, after a fantastic Old Trafford Test where Australia retained the Ashes, Steve Smith replacing Doug Walters and Pat Cummins replacing Dennis Lillee in the all-time Aussie XI along the way (more about the unbearable likeness of Cummins and Lillee here), we head back to the centre of the rapidly crumbling empire for the final Test at the Oval. I wonder if the Oval was located in Adelaide, would there be a group of the nomenclatorially extreme who insist that it may only be called “Oval”?


Given the Test has already started with the surprise swing bowling masterclass from Mitch Marsh let’s get stuck straight into our best Australian Ashes XI from the Oval since the turn of the last century.


As Kylie Minogue was wont to say, let’s step back in time:





Where better to start this team than with Bill Ponsford. When his opening partner, Bill Brown, was bowled by Nobby Clark with the score on 21, the English may well have thought they were off to a good start. Little did they know that there would then be a world record 451 run Bradman and Ponsford Stand (as commemorated at the MCG) for the second wicket. With the series on the line and a handy 380 run first innings lead, Australia would choose to bat again and ended up winning by a comfortable 562 runs.


For an opening partner for Bill, we look back to Warren Bardsley’s twin centuries in 1909. All the more impressive because it was managed in a three day game and he was the first to score centuries in both innings of a Test. Bardsley’s first innings 136 was the backbone of Australia’s 325, as 130 was in their second innings 5/339. While setting England a competitive 313 for victory, with only 33 more overs played the English were able to negotiate their way to a safe draw, only three wickets down.


Well, I can’t leave half of a (at the time) world record partnership there without the other half, can I now? Don Bradman comes in at three with his 321 runs in 1934 beating out his 232 runs in 1930 So devastating was his partnership with Ponsford that Bradman was kind enough to step on his stumps to offer the English a modicum of relief.


What an Australian Ashes team without an entry from 1989. This time coming in a four we have Dean Jones with his 172 runs in the drawn sixth Test. Jones was the top scorer in Australia’s first innings 468, putting on 196 runs with Allan Border (76). Adding a quick time 50 in the second innings as Australia sought to capitalise on a 183 run lead, the visitors ran out of time and fell five wickets short of a 5-0 Ashes result.


Speaking of Allan Border, he’s next with his 190 runs in the drawn 1981 Test. Coming in at 3/169 Border stood tall(ish), batting with the middle and lower order on his way to 106 not out in a total of 352. This included a 32 run last wicket partnership with Mike Whitney, which Whitney contributed four runs. Lillee (7/89) then bowled England out for 314 before Border combined with Dirk Wellham (103) to set the hosts a target of 383. When Alderman trapped Botham LBW to take the English to 6/144 the Australians were every chance. Sadly, fighting partnerships between Knott and Brearley and Emburey respectively left Australia three wickets short.


Coming in at six, another surprise selection (for me, anyway) for Peter Burge and his 181 in the drawn (another draw) 1961 Test. In response to England’s 256, Burge put on a 123 run partnership with Norm O’Neill (117) and 185 runs with Brian Booth (71) giving Australia a 248 run lead with almost three days gone. England batted for the next two days at just over two runs an over to kill off the game and lose the series 2-1.





There being no outstanding fielding performances by a keeper at the Oval, we’ll go with batting again and choose Ian Healy’s 1993 88 run contribution. Just as well Australia was already up 4-0 in this series as they lost this Test by 161 runs. In response to England’s 380, Healy came in with Australia at 5/164 but when they slipped to 8/196 (Angus Fraser taking 5/87) only with half century stands with Warne (16) and May (15) did Healy manage to drag his country to 303. It was all for nought though as Australia fell for 229 chasing a 391 run target.





Not a great deal of back up bowling in the batting line-up but we’ll plug on with four frontline bowlers. With apologies to Hugh Trumble, first picked is Shane Warne with his 12/246 in 2005. The great benefit of having Warne on the field is he then won’t be available to commentate. Chasing a series levelling win, Warne took 6/122 in England’s first innings 373, dismissing England’s top five batsmen. Replying with 367, Australia needed to knock England over cheaply to have a hope for victory and at 5/126 it was a possibility. However, Pietersen’s virtuoso 158 knocked that on the head and saw the match through to a draw despite Warne’s 6/124.


Dennis Lillee joins Allan Border from the 1981 draw with a useful 11/159. Taking the first four batsmen in England’s first innings Lillee helped Australia to a strong position in the Test. But they just couldn’t quite get the job done in the second innings, despite DK’s 4/70 in 30 overs.


Time for an invincible with Ray Lindwall’s 9/70 in 1948 as Australia thumped England by an innings and 149 runs. Lindwall set up this victory as Australia rolled England for 52, Ray regularly rearranging their stumps. Only Len Hutton (30) made it into double figures. Having set a lead of 347 (Morris 196), this time Lindwall and his attack knocked England over for 188, Bill Johnston taking 4/40 to complement Lindwall’s 3/50.


Next fast bowler off the rank is Michael Kasprowicz’s 8/92 in Australia’s 19 run 1997 dead rubber loss. In a match that only lasted three days Australia could only manage 220 in response to England’s 180. Kasper prospered in England’s second innings 163, taking 7/36 as Thorpe (62) and Ramprakash (48) salvaged the innings from 4/52. At 5/88 Australia still looked a possibility to make the 124 runs required but it wasn’t to be as Caddick and Tufnell cleaned up the Australian tail for 104.


So, there it is, Australia’s the Oval Test XI. A first innings of 9/1158 followed by 7/380 while taking 40 English wickets for 567 should be sufficient to wrap up the Series.


Enjoy your cricket!


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



About Dave Brown

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


  1. Great job again Dave. Another pretty handy side. Heard Gideon suggest yesterday that taking the best players from the current Australian and English sides could fashion one decent XI.

    Saw some of SK’s work at the Oval in 2005. Enjoyed it immensely with the gasometer as a dramatic backdrop.

  2. Dave not of fan of SK Warne in the commentary box ? Incredible research as always thank you

  3. Following on from Rulebook’s comment regards commentary of SK Warne, he sure knows how to put the moccas on the players. No soon had he remarked on Harris batting well when the very next ball he was bowled neck and crop.

    Previously Warne had made a point of saying he believed this would be Warner’s day and would most likely score a big hundred. Well it didn’t take long before Broad had him yet again. Pity Ian Chappell wasn’t over there, I always enjoy his comments

    It’s off to bed for me. Must keep Mrs Fisho happy.

  4. Apparently, after the game, Warne said that, in his opinion, Paine handed the match to England. I couldn’t disagree with that comment.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Always a fan of Australian teams featuring MS Kasprowicz. Wonderful bowler in many varied conditions.

Leave a Comment