Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Size Of England’s Task…

In the previous post, it was mentioned that England have only won 3 Ashes tests on Australian soil since winning the Boxing Day test of 1986, which sealed the series for England.  Here is a reminder of those tests…

26-30 January 1995: 4th Test, Adelaide – England (353 & 328) beat Australia (419 & 156) by 106 runs.
Having lost the first two tests by 185 and 295 runs respectively, England responded by putting themselves into a good position to win at Sydney. May & Warne’s rear-guard action saved the draw, and ensured Australia retained the Ashes.

For the fourth test, England batted first & posted a par score of 353, Gatting making his last test century in this test with 117.  Australia then went on to take a 66 run first innings lead, debutant Greg Blewitt made 102*.  England then set Australia 263 runs to win with their second innings score, with an 81 run 7th wicket partnership between Crawley (71) and DeFretas (top score of 88) helping England to that position.  Mark Waugh spun his way to 5 for 40.  Australia then collapsed, with Devon Malcolm (4/39) and Chris Lewis (4/24) doing the damage.

26-29 December 1998: 4th Test, Melbourne – England(270 & 244) beat Australia (340 & 162) by 12 runs
Another win for England in a dead rubber, England managed to draw in Brisbane, with the rain coming to their rescue, before losing in Perth (7 wickets) and in Adelaide (by 205 runs).
Play on Boxing Day was washed out.  This meant that play in the remaining days were elongated to compensate for the loss in play.  This resulted in play on the 29th December lasting for nearly 8 hours, as the test came to an exciting conclusion. 

Alec Stewart smashed his first Ashes century on Australian soil as he made 107 in England's 270.  In reply Steve Waugh rescued Australia, taking them from the parlous 98/3 to a first innings lead of 70 with his 122*.  Darren Gough nabbed the bowling honours with 5/96.  Stewart, Hussain & Hick all made 50’s as England could not get going, and set Australia a gettable 175.  Australia were on their way, but collapsed from 140/5 to 162 all out.  Dean Headley got 6/60, including the wicket of Darren Lehmann which started the rout.
Vaughan with his man of the match & man of the series gong's

2-6 January 2003: 5th Test, Sydney – England (362 & 452) beat Australia (363 & 226)
Yet another win for England in a dead rubber, this one meant that they avoided a 5-0 series whitewash as Australia had won the previous four.  Butcher scored his second century on Australian soil with his 124, while Hussain & Stewart made half centuries in their last test appearances on Australian soil.  In reply Australia were struggling on 56/3, when that man Steve Waugh entered the stage once again.  Cue an emotional century, which included Waugh passing 10,000 test runs when he reached 69*.  Waugh was rumoured to be retiring (or to be retired by the selectors), before that hundred.  Gilchrist top scored with 133 as Australia only scraped past England’s score.

In England’s second innings, it was once again the Michael Vaughan show (left), as made his highest Ashes score of 183.  In doing so, Vaughn equalled the feat of Chris Broad in making three centuries on Australian soil (having made 177 in Adelaide and 154 in Melbourne).  His century helped England set a target of 452 to win, which proved to be difficult on a wearing pitch.  The night watchman Andy Bichel made 49 as Andy Caddick took 7/94

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