Players who saved their best and worst for the Ashes November 15, 2006

Ashes heroes

This week the List focuses on players who have the largest differences between their Ashes averages and career averages
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Mark Ramprakash saved his best for Australia. This photo is from his 133 against them at The Oval in 2001 © Cricinfo Ltd

The sequel of the 'greatest series ever' kicks off in nine days at Brisbane and the stars of the show will face intense scrutiny. While some succumb under the pressure of the Ashes, others thrive on it. This week the List focuses on players who have the largest differences between their Ashes averages and career averages.

Mark Ramprakash had enormous potential but it remained just that on the international stage while he continued to plunder runs on the county circuit. However, against Australia, Ramprakash averaged 42.40 with six fifties and one century. He played just one test in each of his first three Ashes series and scored two fifties and a 42. But his performances against other opposition were dire - an average of 22.14, six half-centuries and a hundred in 68 innings. None of his 12 ducks came against Australia against whom he had only two single digit scores in 24 innings.

Biggest difference between career batting average and average in Ashes Tests (qualification: 10 Ashes innings)
Player Span Mat Runs Ave 100 Ashes Runs Ave 100 Diff
E Paynter (Eng) 1933-1938 20 1540 59.23 4 7 591 84.42 1 25.198
MTG Elliott (Aust) 1997-1997 21 1172 33.48 3 6 556 55.60 2 22.109
MR Ramprakash (Eng) 1993-2001 52 2350 27.32 2 12 933 42.40 1 15.079
GS Blewett (Aust) 1995-1997 46 2552 34.02 4 8 630 48.46 3 14.431
RT Robinson (Eng) 1985-1989 29 1601 36.38 4 7 502 50.20 2 13.810
KR Stackpole (Aust) 1966-1972 43 2807 37.42 7 13 1164 50.60 3 13.178
GRJ Matthews (Aust) 1985-1991 33 1849 41.08 4 10 589 53.54 1 12.455
BC Broad (Eng) 1986-1989 25 1661 39.54 6 7 569 51.72 3 12.177
GR Dilley (Eng) 1981-1989 41 521 13.35 0 9 198 24.75 0 11.390
M Leyland (Eng) 1929-1938 41 2764 46.06 9 20 1705 56.83 7 10.763

  • Click here for the full tables.

    Andrew Flintoff played 47 Tests - an English record - before playing his first Ashes Test in 2005. He would have played on the 2002-03 tour of Australia had he not pulled out because of a hernia. The 2005 series brought out the best in Flintoff, 402 runs at 40.20 and 24 wickets at 27.29 apiece.

    Ian Bell had a torrid time in the 2005 edition. He managed only 171 runs in ten innings and was dismissed for a pair in the fifth Test at The Oval. Australia apart, Bell has been prolific - five centuries and five fifties at 65.64 in 22 innings - against other opposition. A challenging tour of Australia is the ideal platform for Bell to right his record but he made a poor start with a duck against New South Wales.

    Biggest difference between career batting average and average in Ashes Tests (qualification: 10 Ashes innings)
    Player Span Mat Runs Ave 100 Ashes Runs Ave 100 Diff
    DL Amiss (Eng) 1968-1977 50 3612 46.30 11 10 237 13.16 0 -33.143
    IR Bell (Eng) 2005-2005 18 1287 47.66 5 5 171 17.10 0 -30.570
    PH Parfitt (Eng) 1962-1972 37 1882 40.91 7 9 302 21.57 0 -19.338
    MG Bevan (Aust) 1994-1997 18 785 29.07 0 6 124 11.27 0 -17.797
    RT Ponting (Aust) 1997-2005 105 8792 58.22 31 21 1402 41.23 5 -16.994
    G Pullar (Eng) 1961-1963 28 1974 43.86 4 9 457 26.88 0 -16.987
    DR Jardine (Eng) 1928-1933 22 1296 48.00 1 10 540 31.76 0 -16.235
    PM Toohey (Aust) 1978-1979 15 893 31.89 1 5 149 16.55 0 -15.334
    LEG Ames (Eng) 1932-1938 47 2434 40.56 8 17 675 27.00 1 -13.570
    KD Walters (Aust) 1965-1977 74 5357 48.26 15 35 1911 35.38 4 -12.871

  • Click here for the full tables.

    It may be rather tongue-in-cheek to say that Ricky Ponting hasn't performed in the Ashes for he averages 41.23 against England. But he certainly hasn't done as well against them compared to his record against other countries. Ponting has an overall average of 58.22 and if you exclude matches against England, that rises to a whopping 63.16. His average drops further to 38.66 with one century and two fifties in Tests against England in Australia.

    Terry Alderman had a field day when playing England and he took 11 of his 14 five-fors coming in the Ashes. The split between his performances in England and Australia was starker - Alderman had ten five-wicket hauls and an average of 19.33 in just 12 Tests in England while in Australia he took wickets at 30.11 apiece.

    Biggest difference between career bowling average and average in Ashes Tests (qualification: 1250 Ashes balls)
    Player Span Mat Wkts Ave 5 Ashes Wkts Ave 5 Diff
    RM Hogg (Aust) 1978-1983 38 123 28.47 6 11 56 17.00 5 -11.480
    G Miller (Eng) 1977-1983 34 60 30.98 1 13 39 20.25 1 -10.723
    RJ Bright (Aust) 1977-1981 25 53 41.13 4 8 17 31.58 1 -9.541
    JE Emburey (Eng) 1978-1993 64 147 38.40 6 23 76 31.63 3 -6.778
    JD Higgs (Aust) 1978-1979 22 66 31.16 2 5 19 24.63 1 -6.538
    TM Alderman (Aust) 1981-1991 41 170 27.15 14 17 100 21.17 11 -5.979
    RG Archer (Aust) 1953-1956 19 48 27.45 1 12 35 21.74 1 -5.717
    AG Hurst (Aust) 1978-1979 12 43 27.90 2 6 25 23.07 1 -4.830
    JN Crawford (Eng) 1907-1908 12 39 29.48 3 5 30 24.73 3 -4.756
    BA Reid (Aust) 1986-1991 27 113 24.63 5 9 47 20.40 2 -4.235

  • Click here for the full tables.

    Brett Lee had a poor beginning to the Ashes taking nine wickets in five Tests at an average of 55.11 and a strike-rate of 80.5. His stats in the 2005 series, his third, weren't that impressive either - 20 wickets in five Tests, an economy of 4.29 and an average of 41.10 but his impact on the series was more than the stats reveal.

    Biggest difference between career bowling average and average in Ashes Tests (qualification: 1250 Ashes balls, min 90 per Test)
    Player Span Mat Wkts Ave 5 Ashes Wkts Ave 5 Diff
    GRJ Matthews (Aust) 1985-1991 33 61 48.22 2 10 9 82.00 0 33.770
    KJ O'Keeffe (Aust) 1971-1977 24 53 38.07 1 5 9 62.77 0 24.697
    H Ironmonger (Aust) 1928-1933 14 74 17.97 4 6 21 33.85 0 15.887
    JW Hearne (Eng) 1911-1926 24 30 48.73 1 13 16 62.18 0 13.457
    NA Foster (Eng) 1985-1993 29 88 32.85 5 5 13 46.00 0 13.149
    B Lee (Aust) 2001-2005 54 211 31.45 7 13 42 44.14 0 12.692
    AF Giles (Eng) 2001-2005 52 140 39.60 5 7 17 51.58 0 11.988
    FE Woolley (Eng) 1909-1934 64 83 33.91 4 29 33 45.45 0 11.534
    PAJ DeFreitas (Eng) 1986-1995 44 140 33.57 4 13 37 44.97 0 11.402
    GAR Lock (Eng) 1953-1961 49 174 25.58 9 13 31 36.38 1 10.807

  • Click here for the full tables.

    Travis Basevi is the man who built Statsguru. George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo