Bats Left Hand.
Bowls Left Arm Orthodox
Bats Left Hand.
Bowls Left Arm Orthodox
Ashes Tests: 47
Record: 13 wins, 6 losses, 10 draws
Off the Mark
What Allan Border lacked in flair, he more than made up for with grit and determination. Coming in at a time when Australia was the laughing stock of the cricketing world, Border left it as the envy of every other nation. A reluctant leader, Border helped change the psyche of Australian cricket, and with the help of coach Bob Simpson, turned Australia into the force that dominated the 90’s and 00’s.
Border enjoyed a stellar rivalry with England. His 3,548 runs from 47 matches came at an average of 56.31. Only against Pakistan did he average more. In all, he struck eight centuries against the old enemy, and passed 50 a further 21 times.
After losing the first Test of the 1985 Ashes, many expected Border’s side to crumble. Instead, they lifted for the most important game on tour; the Lord’s Test. England made 290 in the first innings, with David Gower scoring 86, and Craig McDermott snaring six wickets. In reply, Captain Grumpy stepped up to produce the highest knock by an Australian captain at the venue. His 196 propelled Australia to a 135 run lead. Bob Holland then claimed five wickets as England set the tourists a manageable 125. With Sir Ian Botham having already taken five wickets in the first innings, nightmares of 1981 would have been flooding back when he removed both openers early on. A steady flow of wickets saw Australia slump to 5/65, before Border came to the rescue with an unbeaten 41.
The 1989 tour signalled a change in Australian Test cricket. With confidence slowly building, a win overseas was crucial to keep momentum going. Centuries to Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh took the tourists to 601 before they declared. A five-for to Terry Alderman helped roll England for 430, before Border made his second half-century of the match as Australia declared for a second time. England fell 210 runs short of victory, with Alderman collecting his second five wicket haul for the match.
In 1993, Border made it 18 Ashes matches in a row without defeat when he led Australia to a crushing innings win at Headingly. David Boon (107) and Steve Waugh (157*) played second fiddle to Border, who smashed a sumptuous 200*. With 653 runs on the board, Australia rammed home the advantage with the ball. Merv Hughes struck in the first over, before Paul Reiffel tore through the middle-order. Forced to follow-on, England started well, before Tim May of all people sparked a top-order collapse. Australia won by an innings and 148 runs to inflict one of the biggest defeats on English soil.
When Allan Border assumed the captaincy role from a tearful Kim Hughes, he knew what he was getting himself into. He openly admitted his reservations, but was proud enough to accept the responsibilities. No Australian captain has had to endure such tough times, and Border went 15 matches without a Test win. But the team that emerged on the other side of the bleakness was almost unrecognisable.
A hardened edge, instilled by Border and Simpson, turned young players with potential into superstars. Players like Taylor and Waugh would become future captains, while Hughes and Boon would intimidate from either end of the scale.
Before he became captain, border had scored 12 centuries, with only one of them coming in a Test match victory. His side depended on him in the early years, but as the team started to perform, Border could relax a bit. He didn’t always have to play the grinding role form number five to save his country anymore. He was allowed to be human.
There were some agonising losses along the way, none more so than the heartbreaking loss to the West Indies in 1992/93. Yet Border was able to turn these defeats into positives. Captain Grumpy certainly earned his name. He wasn’t afraid to tell his teammates how he felt. And don’t think the opposition got off lightly. Border was a terrific sledger, and knew how to get under their skin.
Border’s impact on the game is credited as the turning point in Australian cricket. In a time of great need, a great man stepped up. He was named Australian of the Year in 1989, and the country’s highest cricketing honour is named after him.
Played and Missed
While Border is most famous for his time as a batsman, many feel he underused his spin. In 1988/89, Border ripped through a star-studded West Indies side with match figures off 11/96.
Border was the only cricketer to have scored 150 in each innings of a Test match.
He retired as the leading run scorer in history, with a whopping 11,174 from 156 appearances.
His 156 catches was a record, while his 93 games in a row as skipper also topped the charts.
Incredibly, Border finished his career with a superior record away from home. He averaged 56.57 on the road, yet only managed 45.94 in Australia.