Here is the all-time Ashes XI as voted for by BBC Sport website users who, over the course of the last week, have submitted almost 150,000 teams.
There’s four Englishmen and seven Australians in the side and, perhaps, one or two surprises.
Read on for a full statistical breakdown and analysis, and find out who members of the Test Match Special team selected.
Sir Jack Hobbs (England) – selected in 39% of users’ teams
Ashes record: 41 Tests, 3,636 runs at 54.26, 12 x 100, 15 x 50, series wins: 5/11
With more runs than any other opener in Ashes cricket – in addition, he scored more than 61,000 first-class runs in a career interrupted by World War One – it’s no surprise Hobbs makes the list. His 142 against Australia in 1929 came at the age of 46 and remains the record for the oldest Test centurion.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “Hobbs was clearly an extraordinary player and was known as ‘The Master’. Our all-time team has a modern feel to it, naturally, but Hobbs is the elder statesman thanks to his incredible run-scoring feats.”
Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott: “I’ve heard so many people say he was the master of playing on uncovered pitches. He was a wonderful player.”
Geoffrey Boycott (England) – 35%
Ashes record: 38 Tests, 2,945 runs at 47.50, 7 x 100, 14 x 50, series wins: 4/10
Legendary Yorkshire opener Boycott might now be better known for his role as a Test Match Special pundit but in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s he stood up to the best Australia could throw at him. His crowning moment came at Headingley in 1977 when he scored his 100th first-class hundred against Australia – his 191 laying the foundations for an innings win.
Boycott, speaking on 5 live after being told the news: “I’m thrilled to bits that people have voted for me. It’s down to perception – are you the guy who is mentally strong enough to get the team out of trouble when they need it?”
Asked if he would have picked himself: “If I had to bat for my life, I’d pick myself, yes.”
Voting breakdown: J Hobbs 39%, G Boycott 35%, L Hutton 32%, H Sutcliffe 31%, M Hayden 24%, M Taylor 22%, M Slater 8%, J Edrich 3%, B Simpson 3%, A Morris 2%.
Donald Bradman (Australia) – 85%
Ashes record: 37 Tests, 5,028 runs at 89.78, 19 x 100, 12 x 50, series wins: 5/8
“Unquestionably the greatest batsman in the game, arguably the greatest cricketer ever.” – Cricinfo
What more can be said about a man who ended his Test career with an average of 99.94? The Don was short in stature but quick on his feet and his much-feted powers of concentration saw him plunder 19 centuries against England – including scores of 334 and 304 at Headingley on the Ashes tours of 1930 and 1934 respectively.
ABC and Test Match Special commentator Jim Maxwell: “He was a phenomenon – the like of which we’ll never see again. He’s the number one Australian down under and most of those people who rank him so highly never saw him bat.”
Agnew: “The Don played the pull shot incredibly well – he must have been infuriating to bowl at. He had the most fantastic cover drive too. Anything short and he’d pull it for four and when the bowler compensated by over-pitching he’d drive them through the covers for another boundary.”
Allan Border (Australia) – 33%
Ashes record: 47 Tests, 3,548 runs at 56.31, 8 x 100, 21 x 50, series wins: 5/11
Few men epitomise the tough, uncompromising nature of Australian cricket better than Allan Border, who plundered thousands of runs while leading his country from being the laughing stock of world cricket to the very top. On Australia’s 1993 tour of England, he scored an unbeaten 200 at Headingley as the tourists wrapped up a series win and in the process ended Graham Gooch’s England captaincy.
Agnew: “Border wasn’t an attractive batsman but he was a fighter. When Australia lost in England in 1985 he returned in 1989 determined there would be no rapport between the two teams despite his own great friendships with the likes of Ian Botham and David Gower. He was nicknamed Captain Grumpy because of this and although he deployed such tactics, he is such an affable chap and remains one person I always enjoy meeting up with.”
Steve Waugh (Australia) – 58%
Ashes record: 46 Tests, 3,200 runs at 58.18, 10 x 100, 14 x 50, series wins: 8/10
If Border took Australia to the top of world cricket, it was Steve Waugh who moulded what became one of cricket’s greatest ever Test sides. The man who coined the term ‘mental disintegration’ led a team of modern-day greats with unflinching ruthlessness – once batting on one leg to score a match-winning Ashes hundred.
Maxwell: “His record got better and better as his career went on. His last-ball hundred in 2003 still gives me goosebumps now and remains one of modern sport’s greatest moments.”
Agnew: “He looked at you with that steely stare, analysed you and then took you apart. He got under England’s skin but I have so much admiration for him. He was a fine cricketer.”
Voting breakdown: D Bradman 85%, S Waugh 58%, A Border 33%, R Ponting 30%, K Pietersen 27%, D Gower 16%, K Barrington 11%, W Hammond 10%, M Waugh 8%, M Vaughan 6%, M Hussey 5%, D Compton 4%.
Sir Ian Botham (England) – 79%
Ashes record: 36 Tests, 1,673 runs at 29.35, 148 wickets at 27.65, series wins: 5/9
Such is Botham’s Ashes legacy, an entire series has been immortalised and emblazoned with his name. With Australia on the verge of going 2-0 up in the 1981 series, Botham’s heroics – which began with a gung-ho 149 not out – rescued victory from the jaws of defeat. The momentum he and England took from ‘the miracle of Headingley’ swept the hosts to an unforgettable series victory.
Agnew: “When Ian got on a roll, he was unstoppable. He dominated everything – from the team dinner, in the dressing room and on the field. He lived life hard and was still able to perform as he did. He could do everything.”
Maxwell: “He was a phenomenal talent who expressed himself more with the ball than the bat but when he came off, he changed the game. He is one of the giant characters of Ashes cricket.”
Voting breakdown: I Botham 79%, A Flintoff 11%, K Miller 7%, W Rhodes 2%, T Greig 1%.
Adam Gilchrist (Australia) – 74%
Ashes record: 20 Tests, 1,083 runs at 45.12, 96 dismissals, series wins: 3/4
Gilchrist ripped up world cricket’s rulebook when he burst onto the scene at the turn of the new century. The swashbuckling wicketkeeper has become the standard for every glovesman in the world to aspire to. In his maiden Ashes Test in 2001 he hit an unbeaten 152 off 143 balls, while his last century against England – at Perth in 2006 – took just 57 balls. Game-changing.
Maxwell: “Alan Knott was a pretty fair player – a beautiful wicketkeeper and excellent batsman – but Adam was in another world. He could change the direction of a game in an hour – his hands moved like Muhammad Ali. He was so fast.”
Agnew: “If I had been asked to vote purely on glovework, I would have gone for Knott but Gilchrist reinvented the position. I saw him utterly destroy poor Monty Panesar in Perth. It was a ridiculous innings. He played the game hard and fair too, I loved that about him. He was very sporting.”
Voting breakdown: A Gilchrist 74%, A Knott 10%, I Healy 6%, R Marsh 5%, A Stewart 4%, B Haddin 1%
Shane Warne (Australia) – 88%
Ashes record: 36 Tests, 195 wickets at 23.25, series wins: 7/8
Shane Warne was tormenting England batsmen from the moment he delivered his first ball in Ashes cricket – the mesmerising leg-break to Mike Gatting which shocked the cricketing world in 1995 was quickly dubbed the ‘Ball of the Century’. Warne had England in a hypnotic grip from which they very rarely escaped and almost 200 wickets against the old enemy underlines both his potency and longevity.
Maxwell: “If Bradman was the batting phenomenon, Warne is the bowling phenomenon of Australian cricket. He could land it on a tuppence and he gave it an almighty rip. He was the full package.”
Agnew: “We always think about Warne and his big leg-spinners but I remember a flipper he bowled to Alec Stewart. It was such classical leg-spin bowling. Before his injuries he had everything. He would have made a fantastic captain for his country too. He was so intelligent on the field.”
Voting breakdown: S Warne 88%, J Laker 7%, R Benaud 2%, D Underwood 2%, H Trumble 0.6%, B O’Reilly 0.4%.
Dennis Lillee (Australia) – 73%
Ashes record: 29 Tests, 167 wickets at 21.00, series wins: 5/9
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if Lillee doesn’t get you, Thommo must.”
Alongside Jeff Thomson, Lillee made up the other half of the most fearsome Australian pace attack in Ashes history. Snarling beneath his trademark handlebar moustache, he started his career as a lightning-fast quick – taking 31 wickets in five matches in the 1972 series in England – before injuries took their toll and he transitioned to rely on nous over raw pace. He took 167 wickets against England, often saving his best for Ashes contests.
Maxwell: “His partnership with Jeff Thomson in 1974-75 was the most lethal, intimidating partnership we’ve ever seen in Ashes cricket.”
Agnew: “In my time there have been two perfect fast bowling actions – Michael Holding and Dennis Lillee. He was a maestro.”
James Anderson (England) – 39%
Ashes record: 26 Tests, 87 wickets at 35.87, series wins: 4/6
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker is a surprise inclusion to many but he has twice taken more than 20 wickets in successful Ashes series wins. In 2010-11, his canny bowling returned 24 wickets at an average of just 26 as England won down under for the first time in 24 years. Can he ensure his legacy this winter?
Maxwell: “This is the most controversial selection of the lot. His record outside England isn’t as good as it is in his own country. Is his record better than Ray Lindwall, Bob Willis or even Frank Tyson (for a short period) in Ashes cricket?”
Agnew: “I’m not surprised he’s been included – because I was a swing bowler, Anderson is the bowler I admire the most. He’s got the skill to swing it both ways and is able to conceal it. It’s fantastic to watch.”
Glenn McGrath (Australia) – 83%
Ashes record: 30 Tests, 157 wickets at 20.92, series wins: 6/7
Glenn McGrath won six of seven Ashes series. In the one series he was defeated – in 2005 – he missed the two decisive games in which England won because of injury. He targeted England’s captain and best batsman as a matter of course and his 5-0 series prediction finally came true in 2006-07. Statistically the greatest fast bowler there has ever been in world cricket.
Maxwell: “Has anybody challenged the outside edge and off stump more than this man? He was extraordinarily relentless. He and Warne strangled England’s batting in every series they played together.”
Agnew: “He wasn’t necessarily fast but he was metronome. He tormented Michael Atherton, for instance. Every ball challenged your technique. If you had him and Shane Warne in your team, you didn’t need anybody else.”
Voting breakdown: McGrath 83%, Lillee 73%, Anderson 39%, Willis 22%, Trueman 19%, Thomson 17%, Larwood 11%, Alderman 10%, Johnson 9%, Barnes 9%, Spofforth 5%, Tyson 3%.
Over to the experts…
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan’s XI: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Botham, Gilchrist, Warne, Lillee, McGrath, Johnson.
Former England spinner Phil Tufnell’s XI: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Border, Compton, Botham, Gilchrist, Warne, Lillee, Thomson, Anderson.
TMS statistician Andrew Samson’s XI (based on best averages): Sutcliffe, Hutton, Bradman, Barrington, Hussey, Miller, Gilchrist, Laker, Spofforth, McGrath, Lillee.
Pick your own team
Can’t see the selector? Visit this page. All pictures via Getty Images. Statistics from all Tests involving England and Australia. Shortlist was drawn up by Test Match Special commentators, pundits and BBC journalists.