You might wonder why the title does not refer to Ashes Tests. That is because all Tests between the teams have not had the Ashes at stake, such as the 3-Test series in 1979-80 and a few one-off Tests in the 1970s and 80s.
The results of all these Tests are summarized here:
Australia leads by a healthy 144-108 margin, besides 95-57 at home. At home, England have a slender 51-49 lead which may vanish with one bad series.
Looking at the individual performances, starting with batting:
Most runs (2000 and above):
Only Cook and Smith among current players, with Clarke and Pietersen from the recent past. Bradman’s total is still the record, with no one else crossing 3700.
Highest innings (200 and over):
From the recent series we have Cook (244*) and Smith (239). Smith also has 215 from 2015. Cook’s 244* was significant as the highest score in any Test by an opener carrying his bat through the innings. The previous record in all Tests was 223* by GM Turner for NZ v WI in 1972. In matches between Aus and Eng, the previous record was 206* by WA Brown in 1938, which is listed above. The record for England was 156* by Hutton in 1951.
Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, 45.00):
Bradman again heads this list. Among current players Smith is the highest, though in 9th position overall. Warner is also there. There is no one else from the recent past, as Cook’s 40.20 is below the cutoff of 45.
Now for bowling:
Most wickets (75 and above):
Warne leads here, while the current players are Anderson (104) and Broad (95). From the recent past there is MG Johnson (87).
Best innings bowling (including all 8wi and above):
Laker has the top two spots. No example from the current series, although Broad’s 8-15 is in 4th place overall.
Best match bowling (including all instances of 12wm and above):
Headed by Laker and followed by Massie’s freak debut. Nothing from current or recent players, except Warne’s 12-246 in 2005.
Best bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls, below 25.00):
Dominated by the 19th-century players. Of those who played in 2000 or later, the best is by RJ Harris (20.63) and McGrath (20.92). Next are Warne and MacGill towards the bottom.
We see that the top two in this table are Lohmann and Ferris from long ago. For economy rate, the best are Attewell (1.31) and Ironmonger (1.74) who do not appear above because of their higher average. For strike rate, it is Ferris (42.2) and Lohmann (42.2).
To be continued.