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http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2014/8/13/australian-all-time-test-xii-left-handers-international-left-handers-day

All-time Aussie Test 'Lefties XII'

UPDATED 14 August, 2014 7:51AM AEST | by Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett

We pick the best of the best southpaws

To celebrate International Left-handers day, cricket.com.au has trawled the history books and crunched the numbers to come up with an all-time Australian left-handed XII.

The quality of 'cacky-handers' in Australia's Test history was evident by those who failed to make the cut: Mark Taylor, Bill Lawry, Jack Saunders, Simon Katich, Michael Bevan, Bruce Reid and even our latest leftie, David Warner.

Quick Single: Greg Chappell's Ultimate Left-handed ODI XI

Quick Single: Our dream Big Bash League XI

As always with these types of line-ups, there'll be rigorous debate, and outright objections, and hopefully, the occasional nod in agreement. 

1. Matthew Hayden
Standing at 188cm with shoulders as wide as the Nullarbor, Australia never had a more imposing opening batsman than Matthew Hayden. Dismissed early in his career as being too tall and bulky to be a Test player, the Queenslander’s second stint in the Baggy Green would prove his doubters wrong, partnering with Justin Langer to form Australia’s most successful Test opening combination. Wielding a bat that doubled as a broom, ‘Haydos’ swept India’s spin attack to all parts in 2001, finishing the series with 549 runs at 109.80, cementing his place as Australia’s No.1 Test opener. His career highlight would come two years later against Zimbabwe in Perth, surpassing Don Bradman and Mark Taylor’s record Australian Test high score of 334 with a new world record mark of 380. Hayden finished his 103-Test career with 30 Test centuries, winning the Ashes three times and the 2002 Allan Border Medal.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

103

184

14

8625

50.73

380

30

29

2. Arthur Morris
Not many batsmen can say they outscored Don Bradman in a Test series. Arthur Morris can. The Bondi-born opening batsman led the way in the 1948 Invincibles tour with 696 runs at 87 including three centuries, teaming up with The Don in the fourth Test at Headingley to chase down a world record target of 404. Morris made his first-class debut in 1940 with hundreds in both innings, the first player to do so in the history of the game. He repeated the feat in his fourth Test, becoming only the second Australian to score twin centuries in an Ashes Test. He thwarted his Ashes nemesis Alec Bedser in 1950-51 with 206 at the Adelaide Oval, described by Bradman as “faultless – a terrific Test double-hundred”. Known for his elegant stroke play and calm demeanour at the crease, Morris was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1949 and was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2001. 

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

46

79

3

3533

46.48

206

12

12

3. Justin Langer
If Matthew Hayden was the fire of Australia’s premier Test opening partnership, Justin Langer was most certainly the ice. The born-again Test opener scored a century on ‘debut’ in his new position in 2001, combining with Hayden to score the first of their 14 century partnerships against England at The Oval. The pair complemented each other perfectly; Langer jabbing and counter-punching, Hayden landing the lusty blows. If one innings would define Langer’s gritty, street fighter character it would have to be his 127 in Hobart in 1999. At 5-126 chasing an improbable 369 to beat Pakistan with an attack that featured Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq, Langer and Adam Gilchrist turned the tables on the visitors, eventually leading Australia to what Richie Benaud described as one of the finest Test victories he’s seen.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

105

182

12

7696

45.27

250

23

30

4. Neil Harvey
Before Michael Clarke, Neil Harvey was the original ‘Pup’ of Australian cricket. Thrust into a team surrounded by future Hall of Famers, Harvey made his Test debut at 19 and scored his maiden century one Test later against India at the MCG, becoming the youngest Australian to score a Test ton. Six hundreds in his first 13 Test innings secured his title as Bradman’s heir, becoming Australia’s rock in the middle order throughout the 1950s. His dazzling footwork and expansive stroke play saw him amass 21 centuries in 79 Tests, and he took a particular liking to South Africa with eight hundreds at 81.25, including his famous 151 not out chasing 336 on a sticky wicket in Durban. A member of both the ICC and Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, and considered one of the finest fielders in history.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

79

137

10

6149

48.41

205

21

24

5. Allan Border
Tough, relentless and ruthless, Allan Border’s impact on Australian cricket is still being felt today. Debuting in the turmoil of World Series Cricket, Border would play through three decades and countless team-mates, donning the Baggy Green for a record 153 straight Tests. A reluctant captain, Border took a group of underdogs in 1987 to World Cup glory and two years later regained the Ashes. Captain Grumpy was born. Described as having a ‘baseballer’s stance’, Border was one of the best players of spin of his generation, unafraid to use his feat or play deep in the crease. He finished his career with the most Test match appearances, more runs than any other player and more games as captain. So highly revered in the cricket world is Border that his medal is awarded to Australia’s best men’s cricketer each year, and shares the India-Australia Test trophy with Sunil Gavaskar. His left-arm orthodox spin, which once earned him 11 wickets against the might of West Indies, will also come in handy in this Lefties XI.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

156

265

44

11174

50.56

205

27

63

6. Michael Hussey
Mike Hussey was made to wait, but boy was it worth it. Debuting at the age of 30, it didn’t take long for Mr Cricket to establish himself in Australia’s middle order. It took only two Tests for the Western Australian to register his maiden Test century against the West Indies in Hobart, and backed it up with another in Adelaide the following match. Arguably his crowning moment in the Baggy Green came in Adelaide during the 2006-07 Ashes series, when his quickfire 61 not out sealed one of the all-time great Test victories. His form was questioned four years later, but 195 in Brisbane silenced critics, and that renaissance carried through to his shock retirement in 2012-13. Bowed out with two centuries in his final series against South Africa with two centuries, passing the sacred roll of leading the team song on to Nathan Lyon.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

79

137

16

6235

51.52

195

19

29

7. Adam Gilchrist
If there was a tinge of disappointment among Australians to see the legendary Ian Healy disappear from behind the stumps, the sight of Adam Gilchrist wielding the willow quickly quashed it. His blistering, match-winning 149 not out against Pakistan in 1999 is now the stuff of Australian legend, as is the fact that Gilchrist won each and every one of his first 15 Tests. Then there was the fastest Test double century in history in South Africa, a 57-ball hundred against England in Perth, match-winning epics in India and Bangladesh, and a world record 416 dismissals behind the stumps. A career strike-rate of 81.96 offers an insight into his destructive power but above all the numbers, Gilchrist will always be remembered as a trailblazer, taking the role of wicketkeeper-batsman to previously unthinkable levels.

Mat

Inn

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

Cat

St

Dis

96

137

20

5570

47.60

204

17

26

379

37

416

8. Alan Davidson
Remembered as one of Australia’s great allrounders, Davidson’s bowling average of 20.53 very much stands the test of time; only Sid Barnes (16.43) boasts a lower mark among bowlers to have taken 150-plus Test wickets. His 186 Test wickets were the most by any Australian left-armer until Mitchell Johnson came along, and like Johnson, he was renowned for his power hitting and ability to swing a match with a few lusty swings from his position in the middle to lower order. Took 25 wickets in South Africa during the 1957-58 series and back it up the following season with 24 scalps in the 58-59 Ashes. Perhaps his crowning glory came with a remarkable all-round effort of 44, 80 and 11 wickets in the tied Test of 1960-61 against West Indies.

Mat

Inn

Wkt

Ave

SR

BBI

BBM

5wi

10wm

Runs

Ave

HS

100s

50s

44

82

186

20.53

62.2

7-93

12-124

14

2

1328

24.59

80

0

5

9. Mitchell Johnson
Johnson burst onto the scene after none other than Dennis Lillee labelled him a once-in-a-generation bowler. The Townsville product lived up to the billing in the summer of 2008-09 in back-to-back series against South Africa with a host of devastating performances with bat and ball. After being named the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year, Johnson’s career stumbled badly as he was hit by a loss of confidence and an unfortunate run with injuries. The nadir was the 2009 Ashes in England, during which he was the chief focus of taunts from a merciless Barmy Army. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and Johnson’s summer of 2013-14 was very much testament to that. Clear of injuries, focused and determined, he found career-best form to torment the English with pace, bounce and sheer hostility. From five Tests, he claimed 37 wickets to lead Australia to a series whitewash, before backing that up with 22 more scalps in a 2-1 series victory in South Africa that saw Australia climb to the No.1 Test ranking.

Mat

Inn

Wkt

Ave

SR

BBI

BBM

5wi

10wm

Runs

Ave

HS

100s

50s

59

113

264

27.42

50.1

8-61

12-127

12

3

1637

22.18

123*

1

8

10. Bill Johnston

An indication of Johnston’s prowess is that the left-arm speedster holds his own special place in history despite lining up alongside the legendary Miller-Lindwall duo for much of his 40-Test career. Starred on the Invincibles tour of 1948, just his second series, taking 27 wickets and going on to claim 100 in record then time (22 Tests). Also averaged 102 on that tour – though a series of not outs certainly helped his cause. Not even a serious car accident in South Africa could slow Johnston down, as he recovered from a head injury in time to take six second innings wickets and put Australia on track to a four-nil series victory. Johnston had the rare ability to bowl either flat-out pace or left-arm orthodox spin – his versatility adding another dimension to the Lefties' bowling stocks.

Matches

Inn

Wkts

Ave

SR

BBI

BBM

5wi

10wm

40

75

160

23.91

69

6-44

9-183

7

0

11. Bert Ironmonger
And you thought Mike Hussey was a late bloomer. Bert Ironmonger, born in April 1882, had to wait more than 46 years for his Test debut, but like Hussey, he took his chance when it arrived. Highlights of a 14-Test career were undoubtedly a four-Test series against South Africa that garnered 31 wickets at 9.67 (and included a match return of 11-24), an 11-wicket haul against West Indies, and a ridiculous bowling average of 17.97. Amazingly, all this was achieved despite the absence of a finger on his left hand – a fact that makes his inclusion into our Left-hander’s XI all the more noteworthy.

Matches

Inn

Wkts

Ave

SR

BBI

BBM

5wi

10wm

14

27

74

17.97

63.4

7-23

11-24

4

2

12. Bill Lawry (12th man)
There were better fieldsmen, and arguably unluckier candidates to miss out on a spot on the first XI, but Bill Lawry’s legendary sense of humour gets him across the line for this sought-after drinks-running position. That, combined with his fierce parochialism and wealth of Test match experience, gets the legendary commentator the nod. The man known as ‘Phantom’ played 67 Tests, 25 of them as skipper, and scored 13 hundreds. From 1961-68, Lawry formed a formidable opening partnership with Bob Simpson, the pair racking up a combined 3,596 in union at the superb average of 60.94.

Matches

Innings

NO

Runs

Average

HS

100s

50s

67

123

12

5234

47.15

210

13

27

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 13 August, 2014 9:05AM AEST

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