ANI Photo | England’s Zak Crawley reigns supreme over Australia’s fearsome ‘Big Three’ pace trio in Ashes 2023

In every Ashes series, legends have made an impact, careers are made, new stars are born. In the 2023 Ashes, perhaps the biggest success story is England opener Zak Crawley, who overcame a mountain of criticism, inconsistency to emerge as his country’s top batter in the hotly-contested series, which has kept fans on the edge of their seats every second. 
Before this much-anticipated series, Crawley came under fire for lack of technique, recklessness and for edging the ball too often. Despite immense backing received by skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, who counted on his ability to make an impact over consistency, there were calls to drop him from the squad. 
With 1,724 runs in 34 Tests, 63 innings at a poor average of 28.26, three centuries and eight half-centuries, Crawley looked like pretty much all those previous 20 something opening batters that England had tried and discarded since the retirement of legends like Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss. A disappointing performance on a stage as big as The Ashes for England, a country aiming to get the prestigious urn that it lost in the 2017-18 series, would have been career-ending for the opener. 
But instead, Crawley delivered a statement of intent, smashing Australian skipper Pat Cummins for a boundary on the very first ball of the series. In the next two matches, some useful 30s and 40s followed. The batter chose to fire big in the fourth Test at Manchester, beating every bowler into submission with his knock of 189 in 182 balls, consisting of 21 fours and three sixes. Though the match was drawn and The Ashes urn slipped away from England, Crawley had proven his naysayers wrong. He followed it with scores of 22 and 73 in the final Test. 
During this whole series, his game against pace bowling, especially the Aussie’s ‘Big Three’ trio consisting of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc was remarkable. 
As per ESPNCricinfo, against Cummins, he faced 171 balls in which he scored 130 runs. These runs came at a strike rate of 76.02 and an average of 65. He was dismissed twice by the bowler. 
Crawley opened his arms even more liberally against a fearsome Mitchell Starc, smashing him for 114 runs in 125 balls. These runs came at a strike rate of 91.20. He gave away his wicket to Starc only once in the series and made his runs at an average of 114.00. 
Hazlewood was the bowler he faced the least, scoring 65 runs in 76 balls against him. He scored these runs at a strike rate of 85.52 and did not give his wicket to him even once. 
Overall against these three elite Aussie pacers, Crawley scored a total of 309 runs in 372 balls at an average of 103, losing his wicket thrice to them. These runs came at a strike rate of 83.06. 
His fearless striking against these three pacers is a reason why England can still walk away from this series with a 2-2 draw. 
At of now, he is England’s leading run-scorer in the series. In five matches and nine innings, he has scored 480 runs at an average of 53.33, at a strike rate of 88.72. He has scored one century and two fifties, with the best score of 189. He has outscored star players like Joe Root (412 runs), Ben Stokes (405 runs), Steve Smith (currently at 319 runs) and Marnus Labuschagne (currently at 315 runs). (ANI)

Subscribe to our Newsletter

ANI News Logo
About ANI


ANI is a leading multimedia news agency.