The Ashes have produced some stunning batting performances over the years. But which England and Australia batters have scored the most runs across all series in the history of the famous rivalry?
Australia and England contest one of the great cricket rivalries, with The Ashes firmly established among the biggest events on the global sporting calendar.
The five-match Test cricket series has produced some memorable individual performances with bat and ball since the two teams first did battle way back in 1882.
There are 31 batters who have scored more than 2,000 career runs in the Ashes, though just six of those cricketers have pushed on and topped the 3,000-run mark.
We have looked through Ashes series history to profile the elite Australia and England batters across all the series they have contested, most of whom have tormented bowlers on a regular basis.
Our list looks at the most prolific run-scorers and we have also identified the most likely active players who might add their names to this Ashes record leaderboard in the future.
Don Bradman, Australia: 5,028 runs
It is perhaps no surprise that Australia cricket great Sir Donald Bradman, widely acknowledged as the best Test batsman ever, tops the list of players with the most Ashes runs in history by a considerable margin.
Bradman scored a remarkable 5,028 runs against England, with his first and last Test matches in a remarkable career coming against Australia’s Ashes rivals. Those two occasions were 20 years apart in 1928 and 1948.
The Don played 37 times and batted in 63 innings against England, punishing them with 19 hundreds, seven more than any other player has ever recorded in series history.
Bradman recorded a triple-hundred on July 11, 1930, scoring 334 from 448 deliveries in a drawn third Test at Headingley.
It was a world-record batting innings at the time and it has only been topped once (when Len Hutton scored 364 in 1938) in Ashes cricket since.
He had another triple century (304) in 1934, again in Leeds, and produced a total of eight scores of 200 or more across all his contests with England, helping him to reach the highest Ashes run total. Interestingly, neither of his two remarkable 300+ innings resulted in an Australia win, as both matches were impacted by the weather and ended as draws.
Bradman averaged a sensational 89.78 in the Ashes. While that makes grim reading for England, they restricted him ever so slightly more than India, South Africa and West Indies were able to, as that rate is below his famous Test career average of 99.94.
Jack Hobbs, England: 3,636 runs
Hobbs’ Ashes career spanned 22 years, coming to an end in 1930 just as Bradman had arrived on the international cricket scene.
He was another batting great of that era, scoring 12 hundreds for England against Australia, and is the only player other than The Don to have topped 3,500 Ashes runs.
Hobbs was a consistent scorer, adding to his 12 centuries with 15 fifties. Those 27 innings of 50+ runs mean he is second only to Bradman (31) in Ashes history for that statistical category, just as he is for the most runs overall.
Steve Smith, Australia: 3,417 runs
In the 2023 Ashes series, Smith passed fellow Australian greats Allan Border and Steve Waugh.
Relentless Smith has scored 12 hundreds in The Ashes, the most of any player on either team since Bradman retired in 1948. His most recent came in the first innings of the second Test at Lords as his 110 helped Australia build a dominant lead that England could never claw back.
He has added a further 13 fifties and averages 56.01 with the bat against England, roughly in line with his astonishing Test career overall (58.61).
Smith has tormented England at home and away. He has racked up three double hundreds against Australia’s fierce foes, two of which came on English soil (2015 at Lord’s and 2019 at Old Trafford).
But his best performance came in Perth, as he scored an astonishing 239 from 399 balls in the third Test in 2017. Australia won by an innings and 41 runs after posting a mammoth total of 662-9 declared.
Smith was dominant as he tallied 687 runs in that series, with three centuries, helping Australia romp to a 4-0 home win. They have held on to The Ashes ever since.
Allan Border, Australia: 3,222 runs
Border ranks as one of the best players in Ashes series history.
The former Australia captain scored seven centuries in matches with England and marked his final Ashes series in 1993 with an incredible 200 not out in the fourth Test at Headingley.
Ultimately, though, it was Border’s longevity and consistency that helped him to become so prominent in the all-time Ashes rankings.
AB batted in 73 innings against England, more than anyone else in the top eight, and registered a total of 26 scores of 50+ runs, averaging an impressive 55.55.
Steve Waugh, Australia: 3,173 runs
Australia have four players in the top five positions and Waugh is another of their Ashes greats to have piled on the runs against England.
Memories of facing Waugh are likely to be particularly painful for England fans, even though he lost his first Ashes series in 1986–87.
After that defeat, Waugh was part of the baggy green team which won eight straight Ashes series up until his final campaign in 2003. With Waugh retired, the streak – which remains Australia’s best-ever against England – would finally come to an end in a memorable 2005 series.
Waugh is prominent in the standings despite having six ducks against England and never reaching a double century. He did have 10 hundreds, 14 fifties and an impressive 58.75 batting average.
David Gower, England: 3,037 runs
Gower is the second-highest England run-scorer in the history of The Ashes.
He is the last of six players across both sides to have passed 3,000 Test runs in matches between England and Australia.
Captain Gower’s innings of 215 in the fifth Test of the 1985 series at Edgbaston was not only his highest score in Ashes tests but also the best of his impressive career overall.
It was a memorable Ashes summer for Gower. He had three centuries and helped his country to a famous 3-1 series win, with their last two emphatic victories being by an innings. He was also part of the team which retained the urn in Australia 18 months later.
By the time of his last Ashes appearance in 1991, Gower had nine centuries against the Aussies.
Wally Hammond, England: 2,852 runs
Hammond played in The Ashes between 1928 and 1947. And like Gower, he racked up nine centuries against Australia.
Impressively, on four of those occasions he converted his ton into a double hundred. The best of his four 200+ innings was 251 against Australia in Sydney, as his Ashes career got off to a stunning start in 1928, with England winning 4-1.
Three of his four double centuries came on Australian soil and Hammond is the only player other than Bradman on this list to have more hundreds (nine) than half-centuries (seven).
Herbert Sutcliffe, England: 2,741 runs
Yorkshire great Sutcliffe was an England team-mate of Hobbs and Hammond who also regularly put Australia to the sword and was involved in the bodyline series (1932-33).
His Ashes average of 66.85 is second only to Bradman among all players in series history (minimum of 10 matches played).
Having racked up runs at such a prolific rate, Sutcliffe would likely be much higher in the standings had he played more than his 27 matches against Australia.
The Ashes: Other top run scorers
Australia’s Clem Hill (2,660 runs between 1896 and 1912) and England’s John Edrich (2,644 runs between 1964 and 1975) round out the top 10.
It is a group of big name players who come next on the list, with Geoffrey Boycott (2,579), Mark Taylor (2,496), Alastair Cook (2,493), Ricky Ponting (2.476) and Graham Gooch (2,436) all topping 2,000 runs in Ashes history.
Of the 31 players to reach who have reached that total, only three are active players.
The first is Australia great Smith while the second is former England captain Joe Root, who now has 2,428 Ashes runs. Root may only have four centuries against Australia, with a high score of 180, but he has also added 18 fifties. At 32 he still hopes to have multiple Ashes series left in him. The third on that list is veteran David Warner (2,173 runs).
Dynamic England duo Ben Stokes (1,562 runs) and Jonny Bairstow (1,406 runs) come next, followed by Australia’s Usman Khawaja (1,378) and Marnus Labuschagne (1,016 runs), who are the only other active Test batters to have reached four figures in The Ashes.
No player in Ashes history has hit more sixes than England skipper Stokes (39), who added nine more in his ludicrous 155 in the second innings of the 2023 Lord’s Test. He smashed 15 maximums across a thrilling series, but fell narrowly short of leading his country to a first Ashes series win in four attempts, as Australia retained the urn in a 2-2 draw.