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  • England 4 min read

    Ashes Test guide: What is England's record at the WACA?

    As England take on Australia at the WACA for the final time, what's our record like there?

    England's Ashes record at the WACA

    Wins: 1
    Losses: 9
    Draws: 3
    Highest total: 592/8d v Australia in 1986
    Lowest total: 112 in 1998
    Highest score: Chris Broad 162 in 1986
    Most runs: David Gower - 471
    Best bowling: Ian Botham - 6/78 in 1979
    Most wickets: Bob Willis - 14

    WACA woe

    Are you sitting down? Good, because England’s record at the WACA makes for difficult reading.

    There is just one victory to the tourists' name in 13 visits, that sole success coming back in 1978, and in more recent times, Australia have enjoyed a run of seven straight wins.

    The last time England avoided defeat at Western Australia’s home since the 1970s was in 1986. And with Joe Root's men 2-0 down after Adelaide it is going to take a big effort to get back into series.

    But, no longer is the WACA a lightning fast deck of folklore. It has flattened out in recent years and there have been runs galore in the opening matches of the Sheffield Shield season. The last two fixtures there have seen 2,809 runs scored, including a successful final innings run chase of 325/5 by South Australia in mid November.

    It is the final Ashes Test the ground will host, with the new 60,000 seater Optus Stadium, just a short hop across the Swan River, ready to host the one day international between the two sides in late January.

    Willis does the business

    England’s sole triumph came in 1978, when they blitzed a depleted Aussies 5-1 in a six-match series, many of their frontline players opting to play in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket competition.

    A typical Geoff Boycott knock saw the Yorkshireman grind out 77 from 337 balls before a 21-year-old David Gower scored a magnificent 102 in over 100 balls fewer as England posted 309.

    Bob Willis took 5/44 as Australia were skittled for 191 and after setting the hosts 327 to win, John Lever took 4/28 as Australia rolled over for 161 to lose by 166 runs.

    Mixed fortunes

    After a draw in 1970, which was the first Test to be held in Perth, Australia routed England by nine wickets four years later as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson wreaked havoc.

    That match was better known for a 41-year-old Colin Cowdrey answering an SOS call and flying halfway around the world to face the menacing Aussie pace duo, and David Lloyd being struck in the nether-regions by a fired-up Thomson.

    Lillee's aluminium bat caused a furore in 1979 but the bowler would have the last laugh, dismissing four of England's top six as Australia cantered to a 138-run win. Ian Botham, who took 11 wickets in the match, would have felt aggrieved to be on the losing side.

    It was another Australian bowler who grabbed the headlines during the drawn Test in 1982. Terry Alderman, who took 40 wickets in both the 1981 and 1989 series, dislocated his shoulder when he rugby tackled a pitch invader.

    There were happier times for England in 1986 as Chris Broad, Gower and Jack Richards all posted centuries in a match that meandered to a tame draw.

    Dominant run

    It has been total domination by Australia in the seven Ashes Tests since then. Even on England’s successful tour of 2010/11 they came a cropper at the WACA.

    After bowling the hosts out for 268, England were unable to cope with Mitchell Johnson whose reverse swing earned figures of 6-38 and sent Andrew Strauss et al crashing from 78 without loss to 187 all out.

    Despite Chris Tremlett taking five wickets, Australia made 309 in their second innings with Mike Hussey cracking a wonderful 116 to set England an unlikely 391. The tourists did not come close, bowled out for 123 in 37 overs with Ryan Harris taking 6-47.

    Last time out, in 2013, current Aussie captain Steve Smith scored 11 as Australia were all out for 385 in their first innings, Alastair Cook’s 72 the top score in England’s reply of 251.

    Centuries from David Warner and Shane Watson allowed Australia to declare and set England an improbable 503 for victory, but their 353 all out was notable for Ben Stokes’ first Test century, compiled against hostile bowling from Mitchell Johnson et al.

    Ashes England v Australia in Perth

    1970: Draw
    1974: Australia won by nine wickets
    1978: England won by 166 runs
    1979: Australia won by 138 runs
    1982: Draw
    1986: Draw
    1991: Australia won by nine wickets
    1995: Australia won by 329 runs
    1998: Australia won by seven wickets
    2002: Australia won by an innings and 48 runs
    2006: Australia won by 206 runs
    2010: Australia won by 267 runs
    2013: Australia won by 150 runs

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