The highest impact Australian batsman in the 2005 classic Ashes series was Shane Warne.

He made just 249 runs at an average of 28. Four Australian batsmen scored more runs and averaged more than him.

How did a bowler who could also bat sometimes (he had an 82% failure rate with the bat through his career) become the highest impact batsman in a side that was indisputably the world’s best at that time. And that too, in a marquee series, that would go on to be the most memorable Ashes series in modern times.

It was the circumstances in which he batted.

Coming in at 137 for 7 (second Test, fourth innings) while chasing 282, he scored 42 to help bring Australia within three runs of winning the Test. Had that happened, they may well have sealed the series.

Coming in at 133 for 5 (third Test, second innings) after England’s 444, which became 201 for 7, he made 90 to help Australia reach 302. Then again, coming in at 264 for 7 (third Test, fourth innings) chasing 423, he accumulated 34 off 69 deliveries and helped Australia save the Test by a solitary wicket.

Coming in at 277 for 6, following on (fourth Test, third innings), he scored 45 off 42 balls and helped Australia get a lead of 128, which was almost enough as England won by just three wickets.

These four innings earned him a Pressure Impact higher than his Runs Tally Impact - a rare occurrence, and that speaks volumes about the value of his runs. None of his batting performances won Australia the match but they took his team much closer and made the series the humdinger it was. As it so happened, no Australian batsman really dominated the series. No one averaged even 45.


Jaideep Varma/Soham Sarkhel

NOTE: This piece is up-to-date as of August 2016