ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time

The XI

Australia's finest

Three legends from the 2000s feature in the jury's XI, which has a mostly even spread across the decades of Australian cricket

Peter English

July 20, 2009

Comments: 107 | Text size: A | A

After six categories and two months of decisions, Cricinfo's selectors release their verdicts and reveal their all-time Australian XI. Don Bradman, Shane Warne and Dennis Lillee were universally picked by the 10 judges, while Greg Chappell and Keith Miller received nine votes, one more than Victor Trumper and Adam Gilchrist in their respective categories.

To balance the experts' outfit, we also include the readers' XI and there are a few disagreements. None of the openers are the same, with the masses pushing for Matthew Hayden and Bill Ponsford at the top instead of Trumper and Arthur Morris. The online judges also call for Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting in the middle order instead of Greg Chappell and Allan Border. However, there was agreement over the other seven spots in the side.

In the readers' poll, Hayden got more than twice the number of votes Ponsford did, and more than Taylor, Morris and Trumper combined. Bradman received almost 80% more support than Ponting in the middle order; Miller picked up nearly 65% to sweep past Richie Benaud for the allrounder's spot; and Gilchrist took eight votes for every one for Ian Healy.

Only 60 votes separated McGrath and Lillee, and each fast man polled more than all the others put together. Warne got nearly twice as much support as Bill O'Reilly, but the legspinners won spots in both XIs.

Either team would fancy their chances against any of the other all-time outfits, which will be decided over the rest of the year.

1 Victor Trumper
Trumper was the prototype of an expressive Australian batsmanship based on boldness, instinct and natural talent. By his modesty and courtesy, in an age that valued such qualities, he also made a hero to rally round. Gideon Haigh

2 Arthur Morris
Arthur Morris was well organised and serene at the crease, and from those twin centuries he made on NSW debut when aged 18 through his prolific Test match seasons and tours, he was the epitome of self-assuredness and unflappability. Don Bradman's instant support for him never wavered, and Morris' crowning moment was probably when he topped the figures on that memorable 1948 tour of England. David Frith

3 Don Bradman
Bradman's selection is axiomatic, and of course, has to refer to his stats because he dominated cricket in a way for which there is no comparison in any other sport, with the possible exception of Walter Lindrum in billiards and snooker. His cricket allowed him to become part of the fabric of Australian life - symbolised by the ABC's PO Box number of 9994 - in a way unmatched by any other individual. Warwick Franks

4 Greg Chappell
The remarkable Ricky Ponting has clouded the issue, but Greg Chappell remains the supreme Australian batsman since the retirement of Neil Harvey in the 60s. Chappell was a cricketing aristocrat, tall and commanding. But whatever his stature at the crease it was his performances at the wicket that raised him to immortality. In 1979 he hit SuperTest centuries in Trinidad and Guyana and 431 runs in four internationals at 61.57 against one of the greatest fast bowling attacks ever assembled in Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner and Wayne Daniel. No batsman in half a century could equal or eclipse this achievement. Phil Wilkins

5 Allan Border
He's never ever received the appropriate recognition, not only for what he achieved in Australian cricket, but for Australian cricket. It's 25 years in December since he was appointed captain and the sustained success of Australia over the past two decades or so is the direct result of his bravery, commitment and leadership. Mike Coward

6 Keith Miller
This country's finest and most flamboyant allrounder, Miller is just one of three Australians, with Shane Warne and Richie Benaud, to have scored more than 2000 runs and taken over 100 wickets. He batted mostly at No. 5, where he averaged 41.98 and scored five of his seven centuries. Malcolm Conn

7 Adam Gilchrist
How often in history has the most feared batsmen in a line-up come in at No. 7? Adam Gilchrist did. In a time when cricket was in danger of being routinised and industrialised, he played a hearty, heady, seemingly carefree brand that mocked convention, never looking other than excited to be out there. Gideon Haigh

8 Shane Warne
The boy with the bullet-train flipper grew up and became master of bluster, capable of derailing the best-set batsmen with balls spinning a mile or a millimetre. You'd pick both Warnes if you could. Christian Ryan

9 Bill O'Reilly
His fast legspin and hell-or-high-water attitude would make him the perfect companion for Shane Warne, whose coming he predicted but narrowly missed. However, the main reason for choosing Tiger is the thought of bumping into him in the afterlife. Peter Roebuck

10 Dennis Lillee
Dennis Lillee is the most excitingly hostile Australian fast bowler I've seen. His combination of pace, swing and intimidation was always threatening, and the crowd's rapture for him played out with the chant of "Lilleee, Lilleee". From wild, rawboned days as a genuinely fast bowler through back injuries to a more controlled, scheming and theatrical cricketer, Lillee was a consistent wicket taker, and much-feared opponent. Jim Maxwell

11 Glenn McGrath
McGrath is an automatic selection not only for his 563 Test wickets at 21.64, his inescapable line and length and his steepling bounce, but for his aura. It was fun to see him target the opposition's best batsman, get into his head, then follow a simple plan for success until the batsman succumbed. He also did a superb impression of a teapot when things weren't going well. Chloe Saltau

12th man Ricky Ponting

Cricinfo readers' XI
We invited readers to vote on the nominees in each segment. Here's who they picked.
Matthew Hayden, Bill Ponsford, Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Keith Miller, Shane Warne, Bill O'Reilly, Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by Engle on (July 22, 2009, 22:21 GMT)


1. Five bowlers are needed because this Aus AT XI is going up against another AT XI and having just 4 bowlers risks exhaustion. An All-rounder is definitely needed. 2. Hayden bulked up on runs from inferior opponents. Not for nothing, he's known as The Bully. 3. Ponting never had to face the kind of attacks that Border and G.Chappell did. Just going on and on accumulating quantity of runs is not the same as quality of runs. Border went through a lean patch of Aus history and came through with flying colors. G.Chappell took on the rampaging W.Indian speedsters and triumphed. Glad to see both their places secure.

The inclusion of 2 LBG spinners could hold advantage over an AT England or AT W.I, although less so against sub-continental teams.

Methinks some sentimentality has preceded variety. Who could resist seeing Warne and O'Reilly in tandem ?

And no Aus team is complete without Miller.

All said a commendable effort.

Posted by 8ankitj on (July 22, 2009, 15:06 GMT)

@Aussieicon: "why would you need 5 bowlers when 4 of them are instant alltime greats?"

Alternatively, why would you need 7 batsmen when at least 5 of them are alltime greats? When you have such prodigious batsmen to choose from and a wicketkeeper-batsman as good as any specialist batsmen, I would play one bowler extra. After all, you need to take 20 wickets to win a game. Scoring 700 instead of 600 will not win you a test. Therefore, for all time XIs I always like to pick 5 batsmen, 1 wicket keeper, 1 all-rounder and 4 bowlers. So I agree with the composition completely.

Posted by rats_rule on (July 22, 2009, 13:36 GMT)

in response to the post by waspsting on (July 21 2009, 14:00 PM GMT) .... oh my god u think lillee was a tad overrated??!! DK Lillee was and is the greatest fast bowler australia has ever produced. I and many others would say that he is the greatest fast bowler the world has ever seen. can i get an amen?

Posted by Poppa on (July 22, 2009, 11:41 GMT)

And I have an international team that will beat them anyway. A team of all rounders (with the notable exception of Bradman, who counts as 2 batsmen!), in batting order: Wally Hammond, Garfield Sobers, Don Bradman, Frank Worrell, Jacques Kallis, Steve Waugh (c), Adam Gilchrist, Keith Miller, Imran Khan, Shaun Pollock, Richard Hadlee. Between them they made 183 centuries and took 2123 wickets. Average batting average for the whole team 49.94, bowling 27.85. Not sure how they'd get on in the sheds, but I think they'd win on the field.

Posted by Beertjie on (July 22, 2009, 11:21 GMT)

I agree with narenvs. The selection I disagree with most is Mcgrath. Why select a bowler who by his own admission 'bored' batsmen out over the tall and quick Demon who could have done at least as much, if not more? I was inclined to Lindwall or Davidson, but one needs to cover all the periods where possible. Having Miller and Lillee followed by Spofforth would at least have been as good. I should have expected a better perspective from the Experts. Their claim to have covered all the important periods would have been better substantiated if the first two decades of test cricket were to have been included as a matter of historical fact.

Posted by Poppa on (July 22, 2009, 10:41 GMT)

My side was Ponsford, Hayden, Bradman, Ponting, Waugh, Miller, Gilchrist, Grimmett, McGrath, Lillee and Lindwall. I'd only have one spinner because I think that is plenty. And I'd have Grimmett over O'Reilly and Warne because I think he was craftier and hated batsmen more! And I think Warne was a destabilising influence. With a pace bowling attack of Lillee, McGrath, Lindwall and Miller, I might be a little pace-heavy, and I'd consider replacing Miller with Border and going with only 4 bowlers. Gillie is a lock for me - my favourite cricketer of all time. And I'd make Steve Waugh my captain - a more aggressive captain there has never been. Lots of attacking batsmen with Haydos, Bradman (of course), Punter and Gillie. Some defence with Ponsford, Waugh and possibly Border.

Posted by Aussieicon91 on (July 22, 2009, 8:24 GMT)

It's a shame that the best XI hasn't been selected and that the wrong dynamics have been used to select the side. Firstly, Bill O'Reilly shouldn't be in the side and only 4 bowlers should've been selected, why would you need 5 bowlers when 4 of them are instant alltime greats? Secondary, the Opening partnership has been completely screwed up. I can handle Trumper in the XI, but Hayden should've been the first opener down on the sheet. Hayden's one of the best Opening Batsman ever, let alone the best one that Australia has ever produced. You can say whatever you want about Hayden, but had he played in the same team as Bradman then he would've surely averaged more then 50 with the bat. When so many people vote over this sort've thing and one player wins by a landslide over the others, it obviously says something. Thirdly, no Ricky Ponting in the team means that the team can absolutley NOT be the best Aussie side of alltime. The guy is almost as good as Tendulkar for god sakes.

Posted by narenvs on (July 22, 2009, 3:35 GMT)

australia has the greatest all-time XI because it was among the top 2 teams much of the time since 1877. its bowling is better than that of the next best team, england - whose all-time team would have trueman, barnes, botham, rhodes, laker as bowlers in my view. and its batting compares with that of west indies & england solely because of bradman. otherwise, each the best 5 batsmen in the windies all-time team (headley, sobers, richards, weeks/ lara, walcott) were better than all austrialian batsmen except bradman. the same is true of the best 4 english batsmen (hammond, hutton, hobbs, grace). moreover, australia had 4 of the 5 best keepers (tallon, evans, oldfield, marsh, healy) and 3 of the 4 best spinners (warne, o'reilly, laker, grimmett). as a result, australia's bowling would even be better than that of the rest of the world XI (trueman, marshall, imran/ hadlee, sobers, laker) if we replace mcgrath with lindwall in the australian XI.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (July 21, 2009, 23:32 GMT)

Just one two more comments are reading through all the ones before me: Trumper vs. Hayden is a non-issue. Hayden simply isn't head and shoulders above almost all his contemporaries like Trumper was. Effective and intimidating though he could be with a helmet and a heavy bat on batsman-friendly tracks, Hayden would probably only have averaged 25-30 in Trumper's days against Barnes, Rhodes and friends. As for Chappell vs. Pointing, all I can says is, imagine Pointing WITHOUT a helmet facing the likes of Holder, Daniel, Holding, Garner, Willis etc. on an uncovered pitch! Nuff said!

Posted by tjsimonsen on (July 21, 2009, 23:09 GMT)

Interesting selection with which I cannot really disagree. Though I had Marsh for Gilchrist and Lindwall for O'Reilly. But Warne and O'Reilly bowling in tandem would be a terrifying sight for any batsmen but the very best against spin (for those it would only be very, very intimidating). Of course Trumper should be in the side. Hobbs abd Sutcliffe are the only batsmen who could edge him aside as the best opener ever! But I would still like to see the best keeper stand up to this bowling attack! With Trumper opening, Bradman, Chappell and Border in the middle order, Miller coming in at 6 and Warne at 8, this side doesn't need an intimidating batsman at 7. But the best keeper would get the most out of this attack.

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Australia jury

Malcolm Conn
Chief cricket writer of the Australian
XI: Hayden, Trumper, Bradman, G Chappell, Border, Miller, Gilchrist, Warne, O'Reilly, Lillee, McGrath
Mike Coward
Among Australia's longest-serving, best respected cricket writers; writes on the game for the Australian.
XI: Morris, Trumper, Bradman, G Chappell, Border, S Waugh, Gilchrist, Miller, Warne, Lillee, McGrath
Warwick Franks
Warwick Franks
Writer, historian and former editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack Australia and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket
XI: Woodfull, Trumper, Bradman, Ponting, Border, Miller, Tallon, Lillee, Spofforth, Trumble, Warne
David Frith
David Frith
Cricket historian, writer and archivist. Author of the definitive history of Bodyline, and of the Australian cricket board.
XI: Trumper, Morris, Bradman, G Chappell, Harvey, Gilchrist, Gregory, Warne, Lindwall, Lillee, O'Reilly
Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh
Cricket historian and writer. His books include acclaimed biographies of Warwick Armstrong and Jack Iverson, and the definitive history of the Kerry Packer era.
XI: Trumper, Simpson, Bradman, G Chappell, Border, Miller, Gilchrist, Warne, Davidson, Lillee, O'Reilly
Jim Maxwell
Jim Maxwell
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's most experienced cricket commentator.
XI: Hayden, Langer, Bradman, Ponting, G.Chappell, Miller, Gilchrist, Warne, Lillee, McGrath, O'Reilly
Peter Roebuck
Peter Roebuck
Former captain of Somerset. Columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald and Cricinfo among other publications.
XI: Morris, Trumper, Bradman, G Chappell, Border, Miller, Gilchrist, Warne, Lillee, McGrath, O'Reilly
Christian Ryan
Christian Ryan
Cricinfo columnist, former editor of Wisden Australia, and author of Golden Boy, a biography of Kim Hughes
XI: Trumper, Morris, Bradman, G Chappell, Harvey, Miller, Gilchrist, Warne, Lillee, O'Reilly, Spofforth
Chloe Saltau
Chloe Saltau
Cricket correspondent for the Age in Melbourne for whom she covered the 2003 World Cup, the 2005 Ashes and other events.
XI: Ponsford, Hayden, Bradman, Ponting, Border, G Chappell, Gilchrist, Miller, Warne, Lillee, McGrath
Phil Wilkins
Former cricket correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald.
XI: Trumper, Morris, Bradman, Harvey, G Chappell, Tallon, Miller, Lindwall, Lillee, Warne, Trumble

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