The Ashes 2019 – Second Test: an Australian Lord’s XI


It is a little known fact that Lord’s is a happy hunting ground for Australian cricket. Perhaps equally unknown is that the ground itself features a comparatively steep slope, some 2.5m from east to west – such unsettling conditions that it is a fast bowler’s paradise.


With these barely mentioned truths in mind, let’s pick an Australian XI based upon the best Test match performances at Lord’s since 1900. Simple criteria: most runs across a single Lord’s Test in each batting position gets a batting gig; most dismissals in a Test for the wicketkeeper; and most wickets for the bowlers.


Well, here ‘tis:



Opening the batting for our Lord’s Australian XI we have Chris Rogers and Bill Brown. Rogers is fresh enough in the memory. In his last Test series for Australia, Rogers capped off a rich but unfulfilled vein of form (eight of his previous nine Test innings had been scores between 55 and 95) with a superb first innings 173 in what turned out to be a 405 run win for Australia. It took a dizzy spell (10 years since the last ‘Dizzy’ spell) in the second innings to remove him from the wicket – an after effect of a concussion suffered from a head knock during the earlier tour of the West Indies.


Brown’s undefeated double century came in the 1938 drawn Lord’s Test as he carried his bat in Australia’s first innings effort of 422 in response to England’s 494 (courtesy of Hammond’s 240). Brown blunted the English attack in Australia’s second innings (10 from 59 balls) as they made their way to 6/204, chasing a comparatively unattainable 315 for victory. As an opening partnership, Rogers and Brown would sell their wickets very dearly, as they certainly did in 2015 and 1938 respectively.


Batting at three it is no great surprise to find one Steven Peter Devereux Smith Booooo, also from 2015. Smith combined with Rogers in Australia’s first innings for a partnership of 284 runs on his way to 215 before somewhat amusingly falling LBW to Joe Root. He also contributed a half century in Australia’s second innings at better than a run a ball as they sought to set a massive run chase. Turns out they just had enough.


Another former captain slides into the batting order at 4, with Kim Hughes’s 201 runs in the 1980 Lord’s Test, a one off match to celebrate the centenary of Test cricket in England. In a drawn match, thanks to the wet stuff, Hughes scored 117 in Australia’s first innings, including a century stand with Graeme Wood. He then followed this up with a quick-fire 84 in the second innings as Australia chased a result, without fruit.


Perhaps the most surprising within this imposing batting order is Ross Edwards and his 151 runs in the 1975 Lord’s Test. Late to the international stage, the Western Australian averaged 40 across 20 Tests in the 1970s before World Series Cricket intervened in his international career. While by no means earth shattering, Edwards’s first innings 99 saved Australia’s plant-based pig meat substitute when he came in at 3/37 in reply to England’s 315. Wickets continued to fall around him and it was only late stands of 52 with Jeff Thomson and 66 with Dennis Lillee that enabled Australia to creep to 268. Edwards’s unbeaten final innings 52 further helped Australia to avoid defeat and retain a 1-0 series lead.


Steve Waugh, 1989 vintage, step on up! Waugh’s second Test of the 1989 series continued his undismissed start to the 1989 series with a huge 152 not out in Australia’s response to England’s 286. The game was very much in the balance when Waugh reached the crease at 4/221. However, partnerships of 66 with Merv Hughes, 50 with Trevor Hohns and 130 with Geoff Lawson built an imposing 528. The future captain also steadied Australia’s second innings ship, guiding the team from 4/67 to the victory target of 118. Waugh also had Gooch caught behind in England’s first innings for good measure.



And now for a wicket keeper. Gil Langley may not be the first Australian wicket-keeper that springs to mind… unless you are after a keeper who also played league football for Sturt and Essendon, interstate football for SA, and was member of parliament for Sturt for some 20 years. In which case, he’s definitely your man. He was also Australia’s man at Lord’s in 1956 when they were after an outstanding gloveman, taking eight catches and a stumping in a 185 run victory. Batting at 10 in that Test (in a team with bowlers Miller, Benaud, Ron Archer and Ian Johnson, handy bats all) we’ll pop him in at 8 in the somewhat lengthy tail here.



With Waugh and Smith as handy back-ups, we’ll send an all pace attack to knock over those English EU dodgers. First selected has to be Bob Massie with the rarely paralleled debut figures of 16/137 – another little known fact… In a very brief six Test career, Massie swinging Australia to an eight wicket victory at Lord’s in 1972 was undoubtedly the highlight. Massie bowled 27 and a bit overs unchanged in England’s second innings as he and Dennis Lillee skittled them for 116.


Next best (post-1900, apologies to Turner and Jones) match figures at Lord’s belong to Keith Miller’s 10/152 in the 1956 Test. As well as his 10 wickets, the consummate all-rounder and Messerschmitt pressure-feeler contributed 58 runs to his country’s cause in his last Test series.


Steaming in now is the 2005 era of Glenn McGrath’s 9/82 edging out his 1997 version’s 9/103. Yes, yes, greatest Ashes series ever and all that… KASPER’S HAND WAS NOT ON THE BAT AND SOMETHING ABOUT MINTS…, McGrath produced an almost perfect Test in Australia’s 239 run Lord’s victory. In addition to knocking off England’s top order in their first innings and tail in their second, he also contributed 30 unbeaten runs, likely denied twin centuries by the fecklessness of his teammates.


Rounding out the bowling attack we have Terry Alderman who produced two of the best series ever by a visiting bowler to England. In this case it is his 1989 Lord’s 9/188 that gets the bikkies. And we’re talking the Assorted Creams here, not the inferior Family Assorted. Deprived his rightful LBW dismissal of Gooch in the first innings by the wicket-hungry Steve Waugh, Alderman ensured Tugga did not get the opportunity again by taking Gooch’s front pad and imagined stumps with the third ball of England’s second innings. He also took three other LBWs and a bowled on his way to 6/128.


So, there you have it, Australia’s best Lord’s Test XI. A first innings of 8/1022 followed by 4/331 while taking 45 English wickets for 637 runs would be an acceptable outcome this time around, if somewhat excessive.


Enjoy your cricket!

About Dave Brown

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


  1. Dave loved,Ross Edwards gritty determined and like,Paul Sheehan brilliant in the covers,I reckon
    Glenn McGraths contribution with the bat is the most surprising stat

  2. I recall sitting up watching Ross Edwards 99. Quite upset when he fell lbw to Bob Woolmer, Woolmer’ s first test scalp.

    In that innings DK Lillee made a hard hitting 73 NO, including three 6’s.

    David Steele made runs in his first test for England, it was Tony Greig’s debut test as captain.

    After we won the opener at Edgbaston by an innings a revitalised home side fought out a draw in the Lords test. Will we see a repeat 44 years later?


  3. Great research, Browny, but surely a spinner must be picked?

    Very much under-rated is that innings of KJ Hughes I the Centenary Test. I reckon I can recall him dancing down the wicket to Chris Old and smashing him back over his head into an upper deck of the pavilion. Just an extraordinary shot!

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    My only quibble about this otherwise thoroughly researched and entertaining piece Dave is that you overlooked Gil Langley’s prowess as Colonel Light Gardens’ premier electrician.

  5. Dave- that’s an entertaining and eclectic piece. It continues to stagger me, and I’m sure, many others, that a bloke (Massie) can take 16 wickets in his debut, and be finished five tests later. How does that happen? Astonishing.

  6. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the read and comments, folks. I should start by pointing out as noted by Damian Rutledge on twitter that Border is extremely unfortunate not to be in this team. His 196 and 41 not out in 1985 only missed because he batted at 4 in the first innings and 5 in the second. Hughes’s performance in the centenary test was so extraordinary by all reports that we might just leave things as they are nonetheless.

    History may very well repeat, Glen! At least the Aussies have given themselves 57 fewer first innings runs to chase this time around.

    If picking a spinner, Warne’s eight wickets in 1993 would be the pick, Smokie.

    I also forgot to mention the room named in his honour at Adelaide Oval, Swish.

    Losing the ability to swing the ball, or even put it on the pitch is amazing isn’t it Mickey. Doubt that would happen these days.

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