Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Medium
Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Medium
Ashes Tests: 46
Record: 8 wins, 1 loss
Off the Mark
Steve Waugh inherited an already dominant side, and it turned it into a champion team. Building on the work done by Allan Border and Mark Taylor, Waugh added his own personality to make Australia the unquestionable force in world cricket. 16 Test wins in a row, coupled with a World Cup triumph in 1999, were the highlights in a glittering stint as Australian captain.
Waugh enjoyed a remarkable Ashes career, and would finish with one of the finest records by an Australian in England. His 3,200 runs included ten centuries, and incredibly, he averaged 74 when the series was played overseas. Like Border, he thrived in unfamiliar conditions.
Returning from a calf injury sustained in the fourth Test, Waugh saved one of his best Ashes knocks for his final innings on English soil. Australia won the toss and batted first on a friendly looking Oval wicket. It says a lot about the ground when the second lowest score of the innings was 62. Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn would have been kicking themselves for only scoring half-centuries, as Justin Langer (102), Mark Waugh (120) and Steven (157*) all destroyed the English attack. Australia’s 4/641 was always going to be tough to chase. Shane Warne toiled hard for 44 overs, finishing with seven wickets, as England made 432. Incredibly, it wasn’t enough to avoid the follow-on, which Waugh mercilessly enforced. The old head of Glenn McGrath and Warne then combined for nine second innings wickets as England crumbled to lose by an innings and 25 runs.
Steve Waugh’s final Ashes encounter is arguably the most memorable moment in the England-Australia rivalry. Mark Butcher helped guide the tourists to 362 on the back of his 124. Waugh even chipped in with a rare wicket by trapping Robert Key LBW. Australia’s top four all failed, before Waugh came in. In front of his home crowd at the SCG, Waugh did something that few had done before him; he forced the delay of the 6 PM news. As the evening progressed, you got the feeling something special was on the cards. The final over played out as if it was scripted, with a single to Adam Gilchrist giving his captain the chance to do something legendary. England’s much maligned spinner, Richard Dawson, looked torn between playing the role of hero or villain. Deciding to dart one in, he speared a quicker off-break full outside off-stump, before Waugh cracked one of his famous drives to the fence. Everyone at the ground, watching at home and people all over the world rose as one to give the Australian skipper a standing ovation. Even the English clapped him off the ground. The knock also equalled Bradman’s record tally of 29 Test centuries. That Steve Waugh failed to add to his overnight total and Australia went on to lose the match is inconsequential. Waugh had given Australians an ever-lasting Ashes moment.
It can’t have been easy for Waugh when he replaced Mark Taylor. He had had limited captaincy experience, and was walking into a position where everyone expected him to succeed. Failure was not a word in his vocabulary, and Waugh took the team to even greater heights.
Waugh’s patented mental disintegration broke down even the strongest minded opponents, while his own mental strength made him one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket. Australia’s 16 Test wins in a row broke all kinds of records, largely thanks to Waugh’s attacking mindset.
As a player, Waugh lifted when his side needed him most. In the deciding Test in 1995, he struck 200 as Australia finally beat the West Indies. In Manchester in 1997, Waugh played one of the greatest matches of all time, as he made twin centuries on a green deck that saw all other batsmen fail. He was a terrific all-round cricketer, both on and off the field, whose impact on the game is hard to rival.
Played and Missed
Steve Waugh is the only player to have scored 150 against every other Test playing nation.
Waugh was awarded Australian of the Year honours in 2004 for his charity work in India.
Waugh took 22 wickets against England, which would have been more had a chronic back injury not intervened.
His 168 Test matches was a record when he retired.
He was the first Australian captain to acknowledge cricket as a true profession. Unlike his predecessors, he did not go to university or apply for a trade. Cricket was his life, and that was it.