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Players with the Most Centuries in Ashes Cricket History

The Test cricket series played between Australia and England, known as The Ashes, is the most coveted fixture in the history of the sport. Players and teams have gone to great lengths in order to earn the right to the urn.

With the two countries currently engaged in a battle for bragging rights, this is as good a time as any to talk about some of the most impactful batters in the 139-year-old history of this series. Many of these batters and their performances in the Ashes have stood the test of time for almost a century and will continue to do so given the prolific nature of their accomplishments.

Which players have scored the most centuries in Ashes cricket? Let’s discuss below the top six in the list from least to most.

 

David Gower, England – 9 centuries

Former England captain David Gower is the joint fifth-highest century-maker in the history of the Ashes. Between 1978 and 1991, the stylish left-handed batter played 38 Ashes Tests. With the help of nine centuries, he had amassed 3037 runs during that period at an average of 46.01.

Gower led England to victory as captain in the 1985 Ashes but was replaced by Graham Gooch during the 1989 Ashes series. A difficult and strained working relationship with Gooch forced Gower to retire early from international cricket in 1993. He holds the unique record of 119 consecutive innings without a duck in Test cricket!

 

Walter Hammond, England – 9 centuries

Walter Hammond is tied in the fifth spot with nine centuries from 33 Ashes matches played between 1928 and 1947. Hammond had scored 2852 runs in 58 innings at an average of 51.5 and his highest documented score in Ashes Cricket is 251.

Wally Hammond is considered by many to be the best English batter of the 1930s and he was obsessed with being better than the legendary Don Bradman. The SCG in Australia saw Hammond scoring plenty of runs and it quickly became his favourite venue after successful Ashes tours.

He scored 7249 runs and picked up 83 wickets in his Test career spanning 85 games. His aggregate in Test cricket remained a record until Colin Cowdrey broke it in 1970. Hammond’s record of 22 Test centuries for England also stood until December 2012 when it was surpassed by Alastair Cook.

 

Steve Waugh, Australia – 10 centuries

One of the greatest captains that Test cricket has ever seen, Steve Waugh was also a magnificent batter. Although his rise to prominence wasn’t immediate and prolific, Waugh went on to establish himself as a giant of Australian cricket.

Waugh scored 3173 runs across 45 Ashes matches between 1986 and 2003 and it included 10 centuries. He also had a stellar average of 58.75 against England (second only to Don Bradman) and he relished the challenge of playing against them. Surprisingly enough, he averaged 74.22 in 22 Tests in England compared to an average of 47.48 in 24 matches in Australia.

Waugh’s performances in the 1989 and the 1993 Ashes elevated him to a pedestal and he continued with that sustained brilliance during the latter part of his career as well. Steve Waugh also bid adieu to Test cricket with a century against England in Sydney in 2003.

 

Steve Smith, Australia – 11 centuries*

The only active batter in this list, Steve Smith has plenty of time to collect more centuries and climb higher in the list. Although Don Bradman’s record of 19 centuries could prove to be a long shot, one would definitely back the greatest modern day Test batter to at least get closer to that number.

For most of his career, Smith has maintained an unusually high and distinguished Test batting average. In fact, his average of 61.39 is second only to Bradman’s iconic 99.94 among players with over 20 Test matches. Against England, the 32-year-old has wreaked havoc on several occasions and most notably in 2017 and 2019.

During the 2019 Ashes tour of England, Steve Smith collected 774 runs across four Tests at a mind-numbing average of 110.57. His aggregate in that series is the fifth-highest by any batter in Ashes history.

In total, the current Australian Test vice-captain has scored 2812 runs (at the time of writing) against England at an average of 63.90 which includes 11 centuries. Smith is currently playing yet another Ashes series and will look to better his tally.

 

Jack Hobbs, England – 12 centuries

No cricketer has scored more runs and centuries in first-class cricket than Jack Hobbs and no player has had as big an impact in the pre-Don Bradman era of cricket as him. Affectionately known as ‘The Master,’ Hobbs is regarded by many critics to be among the greatest batters the sport has ever seen.

Hobbs appeared in 41 Tests against Australia between 1908 and 1930 and he scored 3636 runs at an average of 54.26 which included 12 centuries. The fact that he accrued so many runs when pitches were far from being ‘standardized’ reveals a lot about his greatness. The Master combined quick footwork, an extensive stroke-making arsenal and a wonderful sense of timing to wreak havoc on opposition bowlers.

Even at the age of 46, he played a dazzling knock of 142 against Australia at the MCG in 1929, becoming the oldest player to notch up a ton in Test cricket.

 

Donald Bradman, Australia – 19 centuries

There’s little to discuss about the legendary Donald Bradman that hasn’t already been said. The greatest batter of all time and one of the greatest sportspersons in history, Bradman was a behemoth who transcended the sport.

His Test batting average of 99.94 is an outstanding achievement of sport whose legacy dares to test the longevity of time. Therefore, it’s not surprising to find out that Bradman also has the most runs and the most centuries in the most prestigious fixture in world cricket.

The Don tormented English bowlers for 20 years between 1928 and 1948 so much so that the opposition had to resort to ‘Bodyline’ tactics in order to curb his scoring. Bradman scored 5028 runs in 37 matches at an average of 89.78 and he smashed 19 centuries against England! He’s the only player to score over 800 runs in an Ashes series twice. Bradman’s 1930 tour of England is regarded by many cricket enthusiasts and experts to be the most decisive set of individual performances in a series. He scored 974 runs at an average of 139.14 during the series, with four centuries, including two double tons and a triple – nobody in cricket history has managed more runs in a single series.

 

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