It resulted in a tie, but England trailed Australia on most counts, particularly the run-scoring charts.
A record-breaking series for England’s Bazballers
At the 2023 Ashes, England and Australia used opposing strategies to defeat each other. England maintained its aggressive strategy, while Australia took a more conservative approach. The final score was 2-2, with Australia retaining the Ashes.
Not only the final score. The margins of win and defeat in the four Tests with outcomes were also razor-thin: two wickets, 43 runs; three wickets, 49 runs. This was the first Test series in which four close finishes occurred. There were three close finishes in both the Ashes series in 1907 and India’s tour of Australia in 1977–78.
England goes bang-bang, Australia does the grind.
1.39 The differential in scoring rates between the two teams England’s run rate was 4.74, whereas Australia’s was 3.35. This was the greatest margin between two teams in a series of four or more Tests, surpassing Australia’s 1.32 against South Africa during their home series in 1931–32.
In this series, England batters left 10.06 percent of balls alone. Australia’s batters did the same with 19.25% of the deliveries they faced, which is nearly twice as many as England’s.
England faced 36 maiden overs throughout the series, out of 645 completed overs. Australia batted out 171 maidens out of 894 completed overs, meaning England bowlers earned a maiden once every five overs, while Australia batted out one in every 19 overs.
1: Only once in this series did England bat for 90 overs before being bowled out. In comparison, Australia survived 90-plus overs seven times, including six of the eight innings in which they were bowled out.
4.41: The difference between England’s (34.35) and Australia’s (29.94) batting averages during this series This was the first time England finished an Ashes series with a higher batting average than Australia since the 2013 series, which was also played in England.
England redefines Test-match batting
England not only outscored Australia in terms of scoring rates, but they also demonstrated that their strategy was not only about huge hitting but about scoring at a constant and quick tempo throughout their innings.
4.74: England’s run rate in this Ashes series was easily the greatest of any team in a four-match Test series. Australia held the record at 4.26, set during the 2001 Ashes series in England.
2: Instances of a side failing to win the Ashes despite winning the first two matches, including Australia in 2023 England lost the 1936–37 tour of Australia after leading 2-0, as Australia won the series with three straight wins.
6: England batsmen with 300-plus runs in this series, including four who finished the series striking at 70-plus and averaging 40-plus: Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Harry Brook, and Jonny Bairstow. Never before have four players scored 300-plus runs in a Test series with a 40-plus average and a 70-plus strike rate, let alone four players from the same team (where data on balls faced is available). The closest example was three Australian players doing the same thing in the 2001 Ashes: Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, and Adam Gilchrist.
5.27: England’s percentage of completed maiden overs faced in this series is the lowest for a team in a four-match Test series. The previous low came for Australia against the West Indies in 2003, when only 8.13% of the overs faced (65 out of 800) were maidens.
England batters hit 43 sixes in this series, the second-most by a side in a Test series, trailing only India’s 47 against South Africa during their 2019 home series. Australia’s 31 sixes contributed to the series total of 74, the most for any Test series.
Quick bowlers are in focus for both sides.
Both sides’ lead spinners were forced to withdraw due to injuries. Nathan Lyon’s streak of 100 straight Tests came to an end after sustaining an injury at Lord’s, forcing Australia to play without a specialist spinner in Leeds for the first time since 2012.
After Jack Leach’s injury, England was forced to call Moeen Ali out of retirement. Moeen then had to bowl through injury twice in four games.
Mitchell Starc finished the series with the most wickets despite not making the XI at Edgbaston. Chris Woakes went one step further, finishing as the third-highest wicket-taker despite missing the first two games.
4.65: The economy of Australia’s pacers in this series is the lowest for any team’s quicks in a four-match Test series. The previous record was set by India during their 2014–15 tour of Australia.
3: Players who have won Player-of-the-Series after missing at least two Test matches, including Chris Woakes on this occasion
Despite playing only one of the three matches in the 1993–94 home series against South Africa, Steve Waugh earned the series award. Waugh scored 164 runs and grabbed four wickets at Adelaide Oval to help Australia tie the series.
Devon Malcolm, like Waugh, was voted England’s Player-of-the-Series despite appearing in only the final game of the three-match series against South Africa in 1994. At The Oval, Malcolm took ten wickets, including a nine-wicket haul in the second innings.
4.85: Starc’s economy rate in this series was by far the lowest of any bowler with 20 or more wickets. His strike rate of 33.4 was the second-highest in an Ashes series since 1910, trailing only Mitchell Johnson’s 30.5 in the 2013–14 home series.
In this series, James Anderson took five wickets. It was one fewer than Joe Root’s six. Anderson’s bowling average of 85.4 and strike rate of 184.8 were his lowest in a Test series in which he bowled more than 50 overs.
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