YOU can understand Adam Gilchrist and Steve Smith but how can Nasser Hussain feature in a list of Ashes innings that live long in the memory?
With apologies to the likes of Arthur Morris, Don Bradman, Bob Simpson, Doug Walters, Len Hutton and Ricky Ponting, here are six stunning Ashes knocks.
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Adam Gilchrist — 152, Trent Bridge, 2001
Gilly burst onto the Test scene in 1999 in the home series against Pakistan following the retirement of Ian Healy.
He scored 81 in his debut at the Gabba and two Tests later featured prominently in the 238-run partnership with Justin Langer that allowed the Aussies to pull off an incredible win in Hobart.
So the Poms knew what to expect.
They just couldn’t do anything about it.
Gilly took the 2001 Ashes series by storm, smashing 340 runs at an average of 68.
But his statement of intent in Birmingham may never have happened if not for the company of serial No. 11 Glenn McGrath.
Not that Australia were struggling, mind you, it was just Gilly had run out of partners as he chased his first Ashes century.
The two put on put 63 for the last wicket. McGrath scored one.
Gilchrist had earlier entered the fray with Australia at 5-336.
He endured a scratchy start, flashing two Andy Caddick lifters over slip, before settling in.
His first 50 took an uncharacteristic 70 balls in 104 minutes. But once that milestone was reached there was no holding him back.
His next 50 came in 48 balls. The final 52 runs in a mere 23 balls. That late onslaught included four sixes and six fours.
He went on to score 90 in the next Test at Lord’s and 54 at Trent Bridge in the third Test.
All up Gilchrist scored 1083 Ashes runs at almost 45. Not bad for a No.7.
Steve Waugh — 177 not out, Headingley, 1989
Waugh made his Ashes debut three years earlier at the Gabba as a precocious 21-year-old all-rounder.
It didn’t go well. Batting at No. 8, he lasted five balls before falling to Graham Dilley.
But that failure proved an anomaly in an illustrious Ashes career that covered eight series and yielded 3200 runs at an average of almost 60.
He scored 10 centuries against the Old Enemy — and none were arguably better than the first at Headingley.
Waugh entered the 1989 series without a century in almost four years and 25 Tests. He left with two.
The Aussies under Allan Border were famously dubbed ‘the worst touring team ever’ when they hit English shores.
But the Poms had to eat humble pie almost immediately as the touring batsmen piled on 7-601 in just over two days.
Coming in at the fall of Mark Taylor’s wicket, Waugh immediately feasted on some sloppy bowling.
Front foot drives were plentiful but it was his work on the back foot, particularly, square of the wicket that was a highlight.
He hit 24 fours and was in such superlative touch that he smacked 174 runs on the second day alone.
Waugh followed those heroics with an unbeaten 152 in the next Test at Lord’s. The Poms couldn’t get him out until the third Test at Lord’s.
Waugh ended up hitting 506 runs at 126 in the six-Test series.
The match was also notable for Taylor’s first Test century and Merv Hughes’ belting 71 runs.
Ian Botham — 118, Old Trafford, 1981
Less than a month after destroying the Aussies with his Headingley blockbuster, Ian Botham was at it again.
In the context of the game, it was a knock of similar quality and timing to his game-changing 149 at Leeds.
England were struggling (although not as much as in Leeds) and needed reassurance.
But for sheer brutality and domination of a quality attack, it’s hard to go past this innings.
It certainly stood in stark contrast to what his partner produced.
With England teetering at 5-104 with a lead of just over 200 on a pitch growing easier for batsmen, Botham joined Chris Tavare in the middle.
By the time the great all-rounder departed for 118, they had put on 149.
Tavare ended up making 78 in over seven hours off 289 balls. Botham’s knock lasted 123 balls and included 13 fours and six sixes.
Several of those that went over the boundary came off Dennis Lillee.
The way he sublimely swatted away a Lillee bouncer over the fine leg boundary and then the very next ball carved him over point was stuff of legend.
He got to his century in a flourish as well by taking Ray Bright big over mid-wicket.
England’s tail wagged and set the Aussies an unlikely 506 to win. The visitors made a fight of it as Graham Yallop and Allan Border hit centuries but they fell 103 runs short and England retained the Ashes.
Allan Border — 196, Lord’s, 1985
Border produced many face-saving knocks, particular in dire times, over his illustrious career.
But none were better than his wonderful knock at the home of cricket which led to a rare Aussie win.
He arrived at the crease with the visitors in perpetual peril.
When he departed — with almost half of Australia’s runs to his credit — they had pushed well beyond England’s total and into a position of authority.
Inbetween he had taken the attack to the English bowlers. He was particularly savage on anything short from spinners Phil Edmonds and John Emburey.
He smacked 22 boundaries — many of them luscious drives while his backfoot play was sublime as well — and featured in a match-turning partnership of 216 with Greg Ritchie.
His dismissal with a double century in sight — caught at second slip by Graham Gooch off Ian Botham — was a major let down.
But his job with the bat wasn’t done just yet.
Needing 127 to win, Australia had slumped to 3-22.
In strode the redoubtable skipper and guided the visitors home by four wickets with an unbeaten 41.
Border later scored an unbeaten 146 in the drawn match at Old Trafford but the Aussies lost the series 3-1.
Nasser Hussain — 207, Edgbaston, 1997
A shock entry for some but in the context of Ashes history, this is a worthy entry.
This wasn’t a Test England was supposed to win let alone dominate.
After eight years on the back foot, England suddenly found strength in character to start the 1997 series with a bang.
While the good times didn’t last — and acted simply to wake up a sleeping giant — it gave long-suffering England fans a rare reason to celebrate an opening Ashes Test win.
It was actually their first since 1985.
And leading the way was the future England skipper.
But first came the shock of an Aussie batting collapse. Thirty-one overs is all their first innings took.
Devon Malcolm, Darren Gough and Andy Caddick wreaked havoc and the Aussies needed some late hitting from Shane Warne just to get over 100.
By the end of day one England, Hussain and Graham Thorpe had put the hosts in total control.
And they ploughed on deep into day two, much to the frustration of an Aussie attack that lost Jason Gillespie to a hamstring injury early on.
Hussain was particularly savage on anything overpitched. Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz were on the receiving end of his numerous cover drives. He also picked off Warne’s short stuff with some lovely cuts and pulls.
Hussain and Thorpe put on a 288-run stand before Thorpe departed for 138. But Hussain batted on and on. He added another 71 runs with Mark Ealham before feathering an edge to Ian Healy off Warne.
England won the Test by nine wickets but they crashed back to earth at Lord’s when they were dismissed for 77.
Hussain scored another century in the series — 105 at Headingley in a losing cause — but England lost the series 3-1.
Steven Smith — 215, The Oval, 2015
It took Steve Smith 11 Tests to hit his first century. He hasn’t stopped scoring them since.
The breakthrough came against the Poms at The Oval in 2013. He scored one in Perth later that year, then another at the SCG in early 2014.
By the time the 2015 Ashes tour rolled around he was in discussions for the best batsman in the world. But two scores of 33 in the first Test loss at Cardiff hardly enhanced his cause.
Then came Lord’s.
Australia won the toss and Smith arrived at the crease shortly before lunch to join Chris Rogers.
The duo weren’t separated until early the next day after a 288-run stand.
Smith reached 50 off 111 balls. His next 50 took just 50 balls. He even beat Rogers — who had a more than 30-run headstart on him — to his century.
He took a more sedate approach as Rogers found his rhythm but once the opener departed for 173 he took on the aggressor role once again.
As is his want, it was an innings laced with both complexity and brilliance. It included 28 boundaries and one six and took over eight hours to compile.
Smith added a robust 58 in the second innings as the Aussies won by 405 runs.
He struggled in the next two Tests before piling on 138 at The Oval as the Aussies ended a difficult tour in style.