Six great England Test matches

LONDON: The England cricket team will play their 1,000th Test match when they face India at Edgbaston today.

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Their overall Test record currently reads, played 999, won 357, lost 297, drawn 345.

Here are six memorable encounters from those 999 matches.

1902: v Australia, The Oval

England won by one wicket

England seemed set for another defeat in an Ashes series they had already lost when they collapsed to 48 for five chasing a victory target of 263.

But Gilbert Jessop’s rapid century got them back in the game before the last-wicket Yorkshire pair of George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes saw them to a thrilling win.

1938: v Australia, The Oval

England won by an innings and 579 runs

Still the largest innings victory by any side in the history of Test cricket, England´s colossal winning margin was built on Leonard Hutton’s 364. The Yorkshireman batted for nearly 800 minutes, or more than 13 hours, as he posted what was the then-highest individual score in Tests. It would be 20 years before West Indies great Garry Sobers topped Hutton’s mark with 365 not out and nearly 60 before any side made more than England’s 903 for seven declared.

1963: v West Indies, Lord’s

Drawn

One of the great draws, this match went all the way to the very last ball, with all four results still possible.

England captain Ted Dexter took the attack to the fast-bowling duo of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith with a dashing first-innings 70 before Basil Butcher replied with an excellent second-innings hundred.

England, set 234 to win, suffered a top-order collapse before Brian Close’s 70 revived their hopes. But with Hall bowling a marathon spell, they were still six short of their target with two balls left when Colin Cowdrey, who had suffered a broken arm batting in the first innings, walked out to bat with his forearm in plaster at No 11 But Cowdrey didn’t have to face, with David Allen blocking Hall’s final two deliveries to ensure the draw.

1981: v Australia, Headingley

England won by 18 runs

Perhaps still the most astounding win ever known in Test history.

England, following on, were all set to go 2-0 down in the series when Ian Botham, in his first match since being relieved of the captaincy, produced breathtaking counter-attacking innings of 149 not out, while Graham Dilley gave him valuable support with a maiden Test fifty.

A target of 130 should still have been well within Australia´s reach but England, with Mike Brearley back as captain, defied mid-match odds of 500/1 thanks mainly to veteran fast bowler Bob Willis´s inspired return of eight for 43.

2005: v Australia, Edgbaston

England won by two runs

England, 1-0 down in the Ashes after a heavy defeat at Lord’s, turned things round in Birmingham. They had a stroke of luck when Australia paceman Glenn McGrath was injured shortly before play started after treading on a stray ball on the outfield during a warm-up.

England were on top for most of the match from then on until Australia’s last two wickets added 104 runs to take them to within touching distance of victory.

But fast bowler Steve Harmison had tailender Michael Kasprowicz caught down the legside by wicket-keeper Geraint Jones.

The post-match picture of England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff consoling distraught Australia not-out batsman Brett Lee became a defining image of one of the most exciting Ashes series of them all.

2012: v India, Mumbai

England won by 10 wickets

England have often struggled in Asia and having lost the first Test by nine wickets, few gave them much chance when the teams met in Mumbai. But contrasting hundreds from Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, who shared a double-century stand, put the tourists in control.

Spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann out-bowled their India counterparts in both innings as England completed one of their best away wins.

 

-AFP

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