Magellan Ashes 2017-18

Best Aussie Ashes XI: The Openers

Cast your vote to help build the best Aussie Ashes Team since 1977 as we take a look at some awesome opening batters

Cricket Network

21 November 2017, 08:44 PM AEST

Best Aussie Ashes XI: The Openers

During the Magellan Ashes series, we are asking fans to help us build the greatest Australian Ashes XI of the past 40 years.

Firstly, every great cricket team needs a strong opening pair and we urge you to peruse the Ashes stats of our short-list, watch the above video which features some memorable moments from each player's career and then cast your vote below to have your say on which two players should make the final team.

To help you pick your side, click the link above to check out Australian Cricket Legend Ricky Ponting's own choices for his Best Aussie Ashes XI.

Mark Taylor (1989-99)

Tests: 33 | Runs: 2496 Ave: 42.30 | HS: 219 | 100s: 6 | 50s: 15

Taylor hits out during his maiden Ashes in 1989 // Getty
Taylor hits out during his maiden Ashes in 1989 // Getty

Mark Taylor made one of the most stunning entrances to Ashes cricket since Bradman when he plundered a breathtaking 839 runs on Australia's breakthrough 4-0 success in England in 1989. The left-hander was a stylish shot-maker in his youth and stunned England with two hundreds and five fifties in his first Ashes series, before developing into one of the most revered leaders in Australian history. His topped 400 runs in the 1993 and 1994-95 series, while in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 1997, he broke a run-scoring drought with an emotional hundred. After the 1998-99 series, he retired on top after another Ashes success – making it a decade of utter dominance: six series, six wins for the boy from Wagga Wagga.

Michael Slater (1993-2001)

Tests: 20 | Runs: 1669 | Ave: 45.10 | HS: 176 | 100s: 7 | 50s: 4

Slater at his cavalier best during the 1998-99 Ashes // Getty
Slater at his cavalier best during the 1998-99 Ashes // Getty

Four years after Mark Taylor had shocked England, another Wagga Wagga product followed suit. Michael Slater was at his dashing best with a maiden Test hundred at Lord's in 1993 in just his second Test. After that introduction, the explosive right-hander took a liking for Ashes cricket, plundering three hundreds in back-to-back home series after missing out on the 1997 Ashes tour. His 123 out of 184 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the New Year's Test of 1999 deserves special mention; it remains the second-highest percentage of a completed innings total and set Australia on the path to victory.

Matthew Hayden (2001-07)

Tests: 20 | Runs: 1461 | Ave: 45.65 | HS: 197 | 100s: 5 | 50s: 2

Hayden on the attack during the 2006-07 Ashes // Getty
Hayden on the attack during the 2006-07 Ashes // Getty

Matthew Hayden was narrowly beaten to the vacant opening spot by Michael Slater on the 1993 Ashes tour he finally got his chance eight years later. An under-par 2001 tour to England was followed by an utterly dominant home series in 2002-03, in which the big opener smashed 197 and 103 in the first Test at the Gabba and followed it up with a century in the Boxing Day Test. After a lean time of it again in England through most of the 2005 series, he scored 138 in the final Test at The Oval, and completed his Ashes career with another MCG hundred during Australia's five-nil rout in 2006-07.   

Chris Rogers (2013-15)

Tests: 15 | Runs: 1310 | Ave: 48.51 | HS: 173 | 100s: 4 | 50s: 8

Rogers celebrates an Ashes hundred at the SCG, 2014 // Getty
Rogers celebrates an Ashes hundred at the SCG, 2014 // Getty

Chris Rogers only played Ashes Tests across three years but his late ascension to the top of the Australian order coincided with a period in which cricket's oldest rivalry was being fought back-to-back. The left-hander was picked during the 2013 series largely for his experience in English conditions and he didn't disappoint, posting a century and two fifties on his first tour. In Australia during the summer that followed, he hit a purple patch of form, with a brilliant century in a tricky run chase in Melbourne, and another in the following Test in Sydney. But his finest moment came at Lord's in 2015, when he made a majestic 173 before bowing out at series' end.

Justin Langer (2001-07)

Tests: 16 | Runs: 1222 | Ave: 50.91 | HS: 250 | 100s: 4 | 50s: 3

Justin Langer walks out to bat at the MCG in 2002 // Getty
Justin Langer walks out to bat at the MCG in 2002 // Getty

Justin Langer debuted in Test cricket January 1993 but had to wait almost six years after that to get his shot at Ashes cricket. When he did, he made it count, firstly with a superb 179no in Adelaide in the 1998-99 series, and again when he was recalled to the side for the final Test of the 2001 tour, when he made an aggressive 102. From there, he didn't look back, as a run of super form was highlighted by a mind-blowing 250 at the MCG in December 2002 – the highest individual score in this 40-year period of Ashes cricket. Another century at The Oval came in 2005 (a series in which Langer topped the Australian run-scorers), before he signed off from Test cricket in the 2006-07 whitewash, kick-starting that series with scores of 82 and 100no at the Gabba.

David Warner (2013-15)

Tests: 13 | Runs: 1074 | Ave: 46.69 | HS: 124 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 8

Ton up for Warner at the WACA, 2013 // Getty
Ton up for Warner at the WACA, 2013 // Getty

David Warner made a lone half-century in three Test on the 2013 Ashes tour but when England came Down Under for the return bout that summer, Warner – perhaps chastened by the Joe Root incident – was a different proposition. He peeled off centuries in Birsbane and Perth, made a couple of fifties in between, and was a key plank in Australia's charge to another five-nil series triumph. On the 2015 Ashes tour, with question marks surrounding his ability to perform in English conditions, he passed fifty in all five Tests, though a century against the Old Enemy on their home turf proved elusive.

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21