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Ashes legends : Terry Alderman and Mitchel Johnson

The king of swing and the left arm pace blitz

Terry Alderman and Mitchel Johnson were two successful Australian fast bowlers of different varieties who enjoyed great successes in Ashes tests. Alderman was a classical swing bowler who revelled in English conditions and Johnson was the left arm tearaway quick who instilled the fear factor amongst batsmen and had greater successes at home Ashes series.

Terry Alderman made his debut in Ashes series in 1981 and was the opening partner of the great Dennis Lillee,who himself had a great series in 1981 too.  Alderman had a very low key action but moved the ball in the air and off the seam both ways and had all the Englishmen guessing his late swing both ways. He took 9 wickets in the first test which Australia won and continued his prolific form right through the series along with Lillee . However ironically England managed to win that series entirely due to Botham’s heroics from 3rd test onwards . Alderman became the highest wicket taking Australian bowler in a single ashes series with 42 scalps with 4 five wicket hauls and this he achieved in his debut series against a batting lineup of the calibre of Gooch, Boykott, Gower and Botham !! Lillee took 39 wickets in the same series.

Alderman missed out on a full Ashes series in Australia in 1982-83 for getting injured in a brawl with a spectator near the boundary in the 1st test at Perth . Then in 1985 ,he became a part of the rebel South African tour by a strong group of Australian cricketers and hence missed out the Ashes of 1985 in England when his presence would gave helped Australia’s inexperienced bowling attack.  That chance came in 1989 ashes series in England where he again dominated the England batting taking 41 wickets in 6 tests including 6 five wicket hauls. Like in 1981 ,the England batting lineup was reduced to a rubble by his prodigious movements in the air and off the seam . He particularly dominated Graham Gooch ,keeping a mid wicket for him and Gooch kept falling in the trap and was so worked over that he offered to get dropped for the final test, such was Alderman’s domination over him !! Alderman proved to be unplayable again as Australia won the series 4-0 and Alderman was the number one match winner for them in this series. Finally he played his last Ashes series in 1990-91 at home and took 16 wickets in 4 tests . He was superb in the he first test at Brisbane with figures of 6/47 ,his best figures vs England. In 17 tests Alderman took 100 ashes wickets at 21 average and 47 strike rate with 11 five wicket hauls. Of the above 83 scalps came in 12 tests in England. A true Ashes legend.

Mitchel Johnson‘s first Ashes series was in 2009 in England where he took 20 wickets in 5 tests with 1 five wicket haul. It was a hard fought series but Australia lost narrowly by 2-1. His next series proved to be in 2010-11 where he suffered a bit of rhytm loss but proved to be menacing on the bouncy Perth pitch with 6/38 ,a spell which helped England to win the test. However mediocre shows by the whole Australian team in subsequent tests  and prolific form of Alistair Cook ,helped England to win the series with Johnson taking 15 wickets in 4 tests. However Johnson’s golden moment came in the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia. Always been a rhytm bowler , he soon hit his best rhytm on faster and bouncier Australian pitches. Sporting a long handle moustache and with now a more stronger physique, Mitch had an intimidating presence as he ambled in to bowl . His pace and short pitch deliveries were terrifying. The crowd egged him on much like they did to Thomson during the 70s. England batting was in disarray ,with one of their most prolific players that time, Jonathan Trott was so worked over by Johnson’s bouncers that he withdrew himself after 2 tests and never played test cricket again !! That series also proved to be the last for Petersein and Swann. Johnson’s best spell came in the best batting surface at Adelaide where he totally blew away thr English batting with 7/40 in first innings . From that point England never recovered from the fear factor and their series went downhill as Johnson continued his demolition job with searing pace along with other bowlers. It was box office stuff from Mitch Johnson as he took 37 wickets in  5 tests with a staggering average of 13.67 and 4 five wicket hauls to get the man of the series. He also scored a crucial 66 notout in the 1st test at a point where Australia’s innings was in a  difficult situation.

Johnson’s final Ashes series was in England in 2015 where he took 15 wickets in 5 tests and helped Australia to win at Lords with 6 wickets in the match . However poor batting by Australia helped England to win that series 3-2. In 19 ashes test Johnson took 87 wickets at 26 average and 43 strike rate ,one of the lowest in Ashes to mark him as an Ashes legend.

 

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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R. Sampathkumar

I liked Aldermans action.

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