The 71st edition of the Ashes have begun with England and Australia battling it out at Edgbaston.
Perhaps the most iconic series in Test cricket, the Ashes date back to 1882 and since then, 330 matches have been played, with Australia winning 134 of them compared to England’s 106. The remaining 90 Test matches ended in a draw.
Over the decades, the Ashes has seen several brilliant knocks, spells and dismissals. There have also been some remarkable partnerships that have been forged in the history of the Ashes.
Some of these partnerships were Test records during their respective times, while a few of them have been able to stand the test of time and are all-time Test records.
Now, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the highest partnership for each wicket in Ashes history. All the 10 partnerships that you will now see were forged by Australian pairs.
1st - 329 - Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor, Trent Bridge, 1989
It was the final Test of the 1989 Ashes and the venue was Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Australia, who already had the series in the bag at 3-0, batted first. Out came Geoff Marsh who was not having the best of times with the bat during the series and Mark Taylor who already had 620 runs in the series.
Marsh and Taylor effortlessly dominated the England bowling attack at Trent Bridge with the runs coming easily. Devon Malcolm was having a forgetful debut while even an experienced stalwart like Ian Botham failed to send either of the openers back to the pavilion.
The pair both reached their centuries and went on to add 329 runs for the opening wicket. This was a new record in Ashes history, bettering the 323-run stand between Sir Jack Hobbs and Wilfred Rhodes which was set 77 years back in 1912 at Melbourne.
The partnership came to an end after Marsh was dismissed by Nick Cook for 138. Taylor went on to score 219, thus taking his Ashes tally to 839, the third most number of runs scored in a single Ashes series. Australia declared their innings at 602/6.
England could score only 255 in their first innings, as barring a century from Robin Smith, none of the other batsmen clicked thanks to some remarkable bowling from Terry Alderman who took 5/69, his 10th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
England were forced to follow-on and could score only 167, thus handing Australia an innings victory. Alderman took two wickets during the second innings which took his tally in the series to 41, thus becoming the only bowler to take 40 wickets in more than one Ashes series.
Taylor was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant double-century. Almost three decades have passed since Taylor’s stand with Marsh and it’s still yet to be bettered.
2nd - 451 - Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman, Kennington Oval, 1934
The 1934 series was level at 1-1 prior to the fifth and final Test at the Kennington Oval in London. Australia won the opening Test in Trent Bridge while England won the second in Lord’s. The third and fourth Tests in Old Trafford and Headingley ended in draws.
In the final Test, Australia won the toss and captain Bill Woodfull decided to bat first. Bill Ponsford and Bill Brown opened the batting. Brown fell for 10 after being bowled by Nobby Clark. This brought Don Bradman to the crease to join Ponsford.
The two batsmen were effortlessly hitting boundaries off the England bowlers with Bradman even hitting a six. Both batsmen were batting steadily but it was Bradman who looked the aggressor.
The duo added 451 for the second wicket, a partnership which came to an end after Bradman was dismissed by Bill Bowes after scoring 244 from 271 deliveries at a strike rate of 90.03, something which is rare even in today’s Test matches.
Ponsford went on to score 266 before being dismissed hit wicket by Gubby Allen. Ponsford’s 266 is still the highest score by any batsman who has been dismissed by hit wicket. This was the second time Ponsford was dismissed by hit wicket in the series.
Australia’s innings ended at 701. In reply, England scored only 321 with Maurice Leyland scoring 110. In their second innings, Australia were dismissed for 327 thanks to five-wicket hauls by Bill Bowes and Nobby Clark.
England’s target was 708 but they were bundled out for 145 thanks to some terrific bowling from Clarrie Grimmett who took 5/64. Australia won the Test by 562 runs to win the series 2-1.
The partnership of 451 between Ponsford and Bradman was the highest partnership in the history of Test cricket at the time, surpassing a partnership which we’ll come across later. It took more than half a century to better that stand. Even now, this partnership is the joint fourth-highest partnership in Test history and the highest partnership in Ashes history.
3rd - 276 - Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett, Gabba, 1946
It was the first Test of the 1946-47 Ashes and the venue was the Gabba. Australia won the toss and Don Bradman elected to bat first. Australia were off to a shaky start as Arthur Morris was dismissed by Alec Bedser with only 9 runs on the board.
In came Bradman to join Sid Barnes at the crease. The duo added 37 runs for the second wicket until Doug Wright dismissed the latter.
At 46/2, Lindsay Hassett came to join Bradman at the crease. The duo brought stability to the Australian batting through their composure. Bradman seemed the relative aggressor of the two and he soon brought up his century, his 22nd in Test cricket. Hassett gave ample support to Bradman and the duo added 276 for the third wicket.
The partnership came to an end after Bradman was bowled for 187 by Bill Edrich. Australia’s innings ended at 645 with Hassett scoring 128 while Colin McCool and Keith Miller added 95 and 79 respectively.
In reply, England were bundled out for just 141 with Keith Miller bowling an exceptional spell of 7/60. England were asked to follow-on and Ernie Toshack’s brilliant spell of 6/82 dismissed them for 172, thus handing Australia a win by an innings and 332 runs.
The 276-run partnership between Bradman and Hassett was at that time, the highest partnership for the third wicket in Test cricket but it has been bettered many a time. However, that partnership remains the highest 3rd wicket partnership in Ashes history.
4th - 388 - Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman, Headingley, 1934
This is the second partnership in this list that features Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman. It was the fourth Test of the 1934 Ashes with the series tied at 1-1.
The venue was Headingley and England captain Bob Wyatt opted to bat first after winning the toss. The hosts could only manage to put up 200 on the board thanks to some brilliant bowling by Clarrie Grimett and Bill O’Reilly who took four and three wickets respectively.
When Australia came in to bat, some brilliant bowling from Bill Bowes saw Australia struggling at 39/3. At this point, Don Bradman came in to join opener Bill Ponsford and the Trent Bridge crowd witnessed some terrific batting from the two as stability was restored to the Australian innings.
While Bradman was smashing the boundaries, Ponsford was pretty much holding his ground but was not shying away from hitting the fours. Both batsmen reached their hundreds and forged a new record partnership in Test cricket history, surpassing the 323 between Jack Hobbs and Wlfried Rhodes back in 1912.
The duo added 388 runs for the 4th wicket before Ponsford was dismissed hit wicket by Hedley Verity. Bradman went on to score 304 as Australia’s innings wrapped up at 584. In their second innings, England scored 229 runs at the loss of 6 wickets as the match ended in a draw.
The 388-run stand between Bradman and Ponsford remains the highest fourth wicket partnership in Ashes history and the fifth highest fourth wicket partnership in Test history.
5th - 405 - Don Bradman and Sid Barnes, SCG, 1946
It was the second Test of the 1946/47 Ashes and the venue was the Sydney Cricket Ground. England were eager to put behind the memory of the first Test at Brisbane which saw Australia win by an innings and 332 runs.
The visitors won the toss and captain Wally Hammond elected to bat first. A terrific spell of 6/42 from spinner Ian Johnson restricted England to just 255.
In reply, Australia weren’t quite able to stabilise their batting as they were 96/3. Sid Barnes and Keith Miller added 63 for the 4th wicket before the latter fell for 40.
This brought in Aussie skipper and talisman Don Bradman to join Barnes. Bradman and Barnes gave Australia the big partnership they needed and it was sensational batting from both players. It was a treat for the eyes of the SCG crowd as the duo added 405 runs for the 5th wicket.
The partnership came to an end after Bradman was dismissed Norman Yardley after scoring 234 which was the highest score by a No.6 batsman in Tests at the time. That record has been bettered only twice ever since.
Soon, Barnes was out after scoring as many runs as Bradman. Australia declared the innings at 659/8, amassing a 404-run lead.
In the second innings, England were dismissed for 371 with Boob Edrich scoring 119. Australia registered another innings win to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
The 405-run stand between Bradman and Barnes is not only the highest 5th-wicket partnership in Ashes history but also in the history of Test cricket.
6th - 346 - Jack Fingleton and Don Bradman, MCG, 1937
This is the 5th and final partnership on this list that features Don Bradman. It was the first Test of 1937 and the third of the 1936/37 Ashes. The venue was the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Australia who lost the first two Tests, won the toss and elected to bat first.
The hosts declared their innings after scoring just 200 runs at the loss of 9 wickets. In reply, England declared their innings after scoring just 76 runs at the loss of 9 wickets thanks to a sensational spell of 5/21 from Morris Sievers.
In their second innings, Australia were struggling at 97/5.
At the crease were Jack Fingleton and Bradman who came out to bat at No.6 and No.7 respectively. As in so many partnerships, Bradman took up the role of the relative aggressor while Fingleton batted strictly for the sake of longevity.
Both players reached their centuries and added 346 for the 6th wicket. The partnership came to an end after Jim Sims dismissed Fingleton for 136. Bradman went on to score 270 before being dismissed by Hedley Verity. His knock remains the highest by a No.7 batsman in Test cricket history.
Australia’s innings ended at 564 and England were given the Herculean task of chasing down 689 runs.
The visitors could only score 323 with Maurice Leyland staying unbeaten at 111. Australia won by 365 runs to register their first win of the series.
The 346-run stand between Bradman and Fingleton was the highest partnership for the 6th wicket in Test history at the time. Today, the partnership remains to be the highest 6th wicket partnership in Ashes history while it’s the fifth highest 6th wicket partnership in Tests.
7th - 165 - Clem Hill and Hugh Trumble, MCG, 1898
This partnership dates back to the late 19th century. It was the 4th Test of the 1897/98 Ashes and the venue was the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia, who were leading the series 2-1, won the toss and their skipper Harry Trott elected to bat first. Things were going bad for the hosts as Jack Hearne was decimating their batting. Soon, the Aussies were tottering at 58/6 when Hugh Tumble came in to join Clem Hill.
Hill and Trumble patiently soldiered through and went on to add 165 runs for the 7th wicket, a Test record at that time. The partnership came to an end after Bill Storer dismissed Trumble for 46. This was the second and final wicket of Storer’s Test career. Hill went on to score 188 and Australia’s innings ended at 323, a score which seemed impossible when the scoreboard read 58/6.
In reply, England were bundled out for 174 and the hosts were forced to follow-on. In their second innings, England were dismissed for 263, thus giving Australia a target of just 115 to chase in the second innings.
The hosts chased down 115 at the loss of just two wickets to win the match and the series. The partnership between Hill and Trumble for the 7th wicket remains an Ashes record.
8th - 243 - Roger Hartigan and Clem Hill, Adelaide, 1908
It was the third Test of the 1907/08 Ashes and the venue was the Adelaide Oval. At this stage, the series was tied at 1-1 with Australia and England registering close wins in the first and second Test respectively.
Australia won the toss and opted to bat first. The hosts scored 285 in the first innings while England scored 363. In the second innings, England were dominating the Australian batting and had them struggling at 180/7.
At this point, debutant Roger Hartigan was on the crease and he was joined by Clem Hill who was predominantly a top order batsman. The two batted brilliantly with composure and reached their hundreds while bringing Australia back in the match.
Hartigan and Hill added 243 for the 8th wicket which was a Test record at the time. The partnership ended after Sydney Barnes dismissed Hartigan for 116. Australia’s innings ended at 506 with Hill scoring 160.
England had to chase down 429 to win the match but could only score 183 thanks to some brilliant bowling from Australia’s two Jacks- Saunders and O’Connor, both of whom picked up five wickets each.
The stand between Hartigan and Hill remains an Ashes record for the 8th wicket and is the sixth highest 8th wicket partnership in Test cricket history.
9th - 154 - Syd Gregory and Jack Blackham, SCG, 1894
It was the first Test of the 1894/95 Ashes and the venue was the Sydney Cricket Ground. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. The hosts were doing pretty well will a century from George Griffen and some solid batting from Frank Iredale and Syd Gregory took them past 40.
Australia’s 8th wicket fell at 409 and at this point, their skipper Jack Blackham joined Gregory at the crease. Gregory and Blackham batted steadily and were dealing in boundaries as Australia crossed 500. Gregory eventually went on to score his double century and the duo added 154 for the 9th wicket.
The partnership came to an end after Blackham was bowled by Tom Richardson for a career-best 74. Australia’s innings ended at 586 and in reply England were dismissed for 325 and were forced to follow-on.
In their second innings, England added 437 thanks to a century from Albert Ward and Australia were given a target of 177 to chase in order to win the match. However, a terrific spell of 6/67 from Bobby Peel saw Australia fall just 10 runs short.
The 154-run stand between Gregory and Blackham was a Test record for the 9th wicket at the time. It has been bettered just 7 times in the past 125 years but still remains an Ashes record.
10th - 163 - Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar, Trent Bridge, 2013
This is the most recent record on this list. It was the first Test of the 2013 Ashes and the venue was Trent Bridge, Nottingham. England won the toss and Alastair Cook opted to bat first.
The hosts were dismissed for 215 thanks to a fine spell of 5/50 from Peter Siddle. In response, Australia were in trouble from the beginning thanks to a 5-wicket haul from James Anderson. Steven Finn and Graeme Swann also chipped in with two wickets each and the Aussies were tottering at 117/9.
At this stage, Ashton Agar came in to join Phil Hughes. While Hughes was standing his ground, Agar was dealing in boundaries. The duo’s partnership saw Australia gain a first innings lead. The stand came to an end after Agar was dismissed by Stuart Broad for 98 which was a record for the highest score by a No.11 batsman in Test Cricket. Australia’s first innings ended at 280 and they garnered a lead of 65 runs.
In their second innings, England scored 375 thanks to a century from Ian Bell and half-centuries from Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook. Australia were given a target of 311 to chase down in order to win the match. However, another five-wicket haul from James Anderson saw the hosts winning by just 14 runs.
The 163-run stand between Hughes and Agar was a record for the 10th wicket in Test cricket at the time. It was bettered the very next year but remains an Ashes record for the 11th wicket.
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