Ashes 2019: Smith joins illustrious list, Broad dominates Warner and England keep streak alive - series in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk September 16, 2019

The Ashes battle is over for this year - England fought hard and made sure they avoided a series defeat on home soil, but a 2-2 result sees Australia retain the urn.

Steve Smith was the catalyst for triumphs at Edgbaston and Old Trafford but, in the main, ball dominated bat.

Pitches offered some assistance to the two high-quality seam attacks and with the English weather occasionally getting involved, there was rarely a dull moment across the five matches between the old rivals.

After the first drawn series since 1972, we have picked some of the notable numbers from Opta...

 

2 - In making scores of 144 and 142 in the opening Test in Birmingham, Smith became the fifth player to record two centuries in the same Ashes Test.

4 - Nathan Lyon is just the fourth Australian bowler to reach 350 Test wickets. He moved above Dennis Lillee into third place on the all-time list for his country, with just Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne now above him.

5 - With victory at The Oval, England are still unbeaten in a Test series on home soil since June 2014. Sri Lanka were the last visiting team to prevail, recording a 1-0 triumph under Angelo Mathews.

7 - Stuart Broad dominated his personal duel with David Warner, dismissing the Australia opener seven times while conceding just 35 runs against him.

8 - England's eight-match unbeaten streak in Tests at Edgbaston came to an end; the last time they had previously tasted defeat at the venue was in 2008 (against South Africa).

10 - An impressive run of successive half-centuries in Ashes games for Smith came to an end in his final knock of the series. The right-hander was caught at leg slip off the bowling of Broad for 23 in the fifth Test.

16 - Broad got more left-handers out than anyone else (16); he averaged just 13.7 against them, compared to 56.3 against right-handed batsmen. 

20 - England had played 20 successive Tests without a draw before the game at Lord's, where rain wiped out the entire first day's play of the second Test.

29 - Pat Cummins set an unusual record - his tally of wickets is the most in a Test series by a bowler without claiming a five-for in any innings.

135 - Ben Stokes posted his highest Test score against Australia with an unforgettable match-winning knock at Headingley that included eight sixes.

390 - Left-hander Rory Burns was easily the top-scoring opener for either team. Australia's trio of David Warner (95 runs), Marcus Harris (58 runs) and Cameron Bancroft (44 runs) all struggled for the visitors.

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  • NFL What Ifs: What if the Colts had picked Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning? NFL What Ifs: What if the Colts had picked Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning?

    Heading into the 1998 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts had what was deemed to be a tricky choice to make.

    Armed with the first overall pick, new team president Bill Polian had two quarterbacks to choose from: Peyton Manning – the son of a former NFL player who starred at the University of Tennessee – or Ryan Leaf, the big man with a strong arm who had decided to leave Washington State a year early to enter the league.

    History, of course, tells us the Colts made the correct call.

    Manning spent 14 seasons in Indianapolis, his hugely successful spell with the team including leading them to glory in Super Bowl XLI. His jersey number (18) was retired by the franchise, while there is a statue of him at the team's Lucas Oil Stadium.

    The San Diego Chargers, meanwhile, claimed Leaf at two. Their marriage did not run so smoothly – or last too long (three seasons, to be precise). He played just 25 games in a career that also included a stop in Dallas, throwing 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions, and is regarded as one of – if not the – biggest draft busts.

    But what if Leaf had gone first instead? Let's start at the beginning…

     

    THE COLTS

    Having the first pick was the ideal building block for Polian, who was always going to hand new head coach Jim Mora a rookie QB to work with.

    Manning started from the outset with the Colts. There were early teething problems and he finished his debut season with a 3-13 record, throwing more interceptions (28) than touchdowns (26).

    However, the chance to learn on the job aided his development. The Colts went on to make the playoffs in the next two seasons and while 2001 was not so successful, a 6-10 campaign led to the arrival of Tony Dungy as head coach and, well, the rest is history.

    Whether Leaf would have developed in the same circumstances has to be considered doubtful with how his career panned out, but Indianapolis would have at least afforded him time in which to prove himself.

    They also had two rather useful pieces to help, as a running back by the name of Marshall Faulk and a wide receiver called Marvin Harrison were already on the roster.

    Had Leaf still flamed out in a similar timeframe with the Colts – it should be pointed out he missed his second season in San Diego through injury - they may well have used the 2001 draft to find a replacement. The Chargers did exactly that, using the 32nd pick on Drew Brees.

    THE CHARGERS

    Here is where an alternative NFL timeline gets seriously interesting.

    Manning as a Charger may not have blossomed in time to keep head coach Kevin Gilbride in a job – he was fired midway through the 1998 season, his second at the helm – but he may well have been the key to keeping the team in San Diego.

    Owner Dean Spanos moved the Chargers to Los Angeles after an unsuccessful attempt to get a new stadium built. A failure to secure tax-payer funding led to relocation in 2017.

    Surely, though, the presence of Manning could have made a difference. On-field success - perhaps even a Super Bowl triumph like the one the Colts enjoyed - could have led to them getting the backing required to stay put.

    Instead, L.A. is now home, though they have so far struggled in competition with the Rams to attract fans. There have even been rumours that the Chargers could move again soon, this time overseas to become the NFL's permanent residents in London.

    And what of Brees? Manning's presence would have made picking another QB a waste of draft resources. In 2001, the team to next take a player at the position after the Chargers were the Cowboys, meaning Drew could well have gone on to become a star in Dallas instead.

    THE 2004 DRAFT

    Of course, there is another Manning whose career would have changed if you take a sliding doors approach to the '98 draft.

    After life with Leaf failed to pan out, the Chargers had better luck with Brees before then moving on to Philip Rivers.

    However, they selected Peyton's younger brother Eli with the first pick in 2004, rather than Rivers, even though the former Ole Miss quarterback never had any intention of playing for them.

    Eli ended up in New York with the Giants in a trade that saw Rivers, who was drafted at four, head in the opposite direction. The next QB taken that year? Ben Roethlisberger, who went to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 11. The Buffalo Bills also used their first-round pick on the position, opting for J.P. Losman after moving up to 22.

    Yet had Peyton's place been in San Diego, several notable signal callers selected early in 2004 could have ended up in different locations to begin their pro careers.

  • Mourinho's ideal XIs: Which is better? Mourinho's ideal XIs: Which is better?

    Whatever your thoughts on modern-day Jose Mourinho, you cannot deny his legacy in football. For one thing, he wouldn't let you.

    Eight league titles across four different countries, domestic cups with Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United, one Europa League, two Champions Leagues, the 2009-10 treble... Mourinho has a trophy cabinet that would be the envy of most coaches in the game.

    His teams have, of course, boasted their fair share of star names who have helped him on his way to greatness - even if he didn't get on with them all. In fact, last weekend, Marca published a series of ideal XIs from football figures across the world, including one selected by Mourinho himself from his best club sides.

    It's a pretty formidable line-up, but we at Stats Perform think we might have one to match. Each one contains a notable Opta fact for each player.

    See which team you think is best...

    MOURINHO'S BEST XI (according to the man himself):

    Petr Cech
    In Mourinho's first season in charge at Chelsea, Cech kept 24 clean sheets in the Premier League (2004-05), a record in the competition.

    Javier Zanetti
    Zanetti was the only outfield player to play every minute of Inter's 2009-10 Champions League-winning campaign under Mourinho.

    John Terry
    Chelsea's former captain has made more Premier League appearances under Mourinho (187) than any other player, scoring 15 goals.

    Ricardo Carvalho
    The centre-back played under Mourinho for three different sides (Porto, Chelsea and Real Madrid) – indeed, no player has made more Champions League appearances under the Portuguese than Carvalho (54).

    William Gallas
    Only John Terry (15) has netted more Premier League goals among defenders under Mourinho than Gallas (seven – level with Branislav Ivanovic).

    Claude Makelele
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    Frank Lampard
    Lampard scored more Premier League goals under Mourinho (49) than any other player. In 2004-05 Lampard became the first Premier League midfielder to reach double figures for both goals (13) and assists (18) since Matt Le Tissier in 1994-95, whilst only Thierry Henry (39) registered more goal involvements than the Englishman (31).

    Eden Hazard
    During Mourinho's second tenure in charge at Chelsea, Hazard scored in more Premier League games than any other player for the club (24 – 28 goals).

    Mesut Ozil
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    Cristiano Ronaldo
    Ronaldo scored 153 LaLiga goals under Mourinho, 83 more than any other player for Madrid during this period. He also scored 12 Champions League goals in 2012-13: at that stage, only Lionel Messi (14 goals in 2011-12) had scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign.

    Didier Drogba
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    AN ALTERNATIVE BEST MOURINHO XI (according to Stats Perform):

    Iker Casillas
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    Cesar Azpilicueta
    Azpilicueta was Chelsea's Players' Player of the Year in Mourinho's first season back at the Blues in 2013-14.

    Sergio Ramos
    In Mourinho's three seasons at Real Madrid, only Guilherme Siqueira scored more LaLiga goals among defenders than Ramos (10).

    Marco Materazzi
    The treble-winning defender's only Champions League goal came in the 2008-09 season under Mourinho, against Anorthosis Famagusta in the group stages.

    Marcelo
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    Esteban Cambiasso
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    Paul Pogba
    No United player was involved in more Premier League goals than Pogba while Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford (31 – 14 goals, 17 assists).

    Deco
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    Wesley Sneijder
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    Samuel Eto'o
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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    Ibrahimovic was top scorer in Serie A in Mourinho's first season with Inter, scoring 25 goals.

  • Welcome to Wrestlemania! Fury, Tyson, Rousey and the sports stars who starred in WWE Welcome to Wrestlemania! Fury, Tyson, Rousey and the sports stars who starred in WWE

    It is exactly 35 years since Wrestlemania I took place and never has the mantra 'the show must go on' been more apt than in the world of WWE.

    While the globe has been ground to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic, Vince McMahon's global sports entertainment behemoth has continued with its weekly television shows Raw and Smackdown filmed in the absence of live audiences at the company's performance center.

    Indeed, WWE's flagship event Wrestlemania is going ahead in the same fashion despite the breakout of COVID-19, which curtailed hosting the show at the original location of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

    Fan favourites including John Cena, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Edge, Randy Orton and Bill Goldberg are scheduled to appear on a bumper card shown over Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

    But there will also be the presence of former NFL star Rob Gronkowski, who is slated to serve as host of Wrestlemania 36.

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    WAYNE ROONEY

    England and Manchester United's record goalscorer had a run-in with Wade Barrett during a November 2015 edition of Monday Night Raw.

    Preston fan Barrett, incensed by what he felt was a dive by Rooney in an FA Cup tie between his team and United nine months prior, said the now Derby County midfielder embarrasses his son "every time you step on a football pitch". Rooney retaliated with a slap.

    RONDA ROUSEY

    "Ronda's gonna kill ya..." was the chant emanating around Levi's Stadium as the fearsome Ronda Rousey stepped between the ropes at Wrestlemania 31.

    Accompanied by WWE great Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, now a worldwide movie star, UFC icon Rousey was involved in a spat with the legendary Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon.

    Three years later, Rousey partnered Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle to defeat 'The Game' and 'The Billion Dollar Princess'. In January 2018, she became an in-ring regular and won Raw's women's title, which she dropped to Lynch a year ago.

    SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

    Better known for slam dunks, former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal got in a choke slam at Wrestlemania 32.

    The four-time NBA champion had a stare down with the Big Show, before the two combined to slam the 'Big Red Machine' Kane.

    RICKY HATTON

    Ricky Hatton earned hordes of fans throughout a brilliant boxing career.

    In November 2009, 'The Hitman' stepped into a different kind of ring to host an episode of Raw from Sheffield Arena.

    Hatton even donned the gloves to land a knockout punch on Chavo Guerrero Jr., with whom he had feuded on the evening.

    FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. has beaten them all in the boxing ring, as his 50-0 record proves.

    But it was a true case of David vs Goliath when Mayweather, approximately 5'7" and 150lbs, came up against the 7'2", 500lb giant The Big Show at Wrestlemania 24.

    Despite the notable size advantage, Big Show was distracted by a member of Mayweather's entourage hitting him with a chair and 'Money' delivered a telling blow, albeit while wearing brass knuckles, to knock out his huge opponent.

    PETE ROSE

    Pete Rose is a legend of the baseball world, holding MLB's all-time hits record and winning the World Series on three occasions.

    Rose was part of the 1970s Cincinnati Reds team that earned the nickname 'The Big Red Machine'.

    But his run in with WWE's own 'Big Red Machine' Kane during the late 1990s and 2000 have become the thing of wrestling folklore.

    On one such occasion at Wrestlemania 15, Rose was disguised as a chicken and earned a beatdown from Kane, including his devastating tombstone finishing manoeuvre.

    MIKE TYSON

    'Iron' Mike Tyson is no stranger to a WWE ring.

    'The Baddest Man on the Planet' had an infamous showdown with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, one of the all-time greats in WWE, on an episode of Raw and had seemingly sided with one of the company's most famous stables D-Generation X before one of its members Shawn Michaels faced Austin at Wrestlemania 14.

    However, during the event Tyson showed his true allegiance, counting the pin for Austin and clocking Michaels. Some 12 years later, Tyson buried the hatchet with his DX foes, unveiling a shirt with their logo on and knocking out Chris Jericho during a Raw segment.

    MUHAMMAD ALI

    Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee - did you know this boxing legend starred in WWE?

    Okay, sure, back then it was known as WWF when Ali was one of the guest referees at the first Wrestlemania at New York's Madison Square Garden for the main event between 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan and A-Team star Mr. T versus 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper.

    BROCK LESNAR

    Few men strike fear in their opponents quite like Brock Lesnar, who is as well known for his two stints in WWE as he is for being a former UFC heavyweight champion.

    Lesnar is a multi-time champion in the organisation and will defend his WWE title against Drew McIntyre this weekend.

    TYSON FURY

    'The Gypsy King' recently crowned his own personal road to recovery by knocking out Deontay Wilder to become the WBC heavyweight champion.

    The big-talking Briton warmed up for that bout by enjoying a short run in WWE, feuding with 'The Monster Among Men' Braun Strowman, which resulted in Fury in earning a count-out win over his huge opponent at WWE's Crown Jewel pay-per-view last October.

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