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England v West Indies

The six times England have defended targets of 200 or less in Test cricket since 1980

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

As England seek to defend 200 against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl, here are the six times that England have successfully defended sub-200 scores since 1980.

England v Australia, Leeds, 1981

The most famous game on this list. At one stage on day four, England were 135-7 following on needing another 92 runs just to make Australia bat again. Ian Botham played one of English cricket’s most famous innings, scoring 149* alongside tailenders Graham Dilley, Chris Old and Bob Willis to leave Australia with a target of just 129. For all of Botham’s heroics, Australia were still overwhelming favourites before Willis produced a magical performance with the ball running in from the Kirkstall Lane End to practically bowl Australia out for 111 himself.

England v Australia, Birmingham, 1981

One Test later and another Botham Ashes special, this time with the ball. Defending 150 at Edgbaston, Botham took 5-11 from 14 overs as Australia collapsed with the win in reach for the second Test in a row.

England v Australia, The Oval, 1997

An underrated Ashes classic. With the series already decided, Australia looked set to complete a 4-1 series victory when England left them needing just 124 in the fourth innings at The Oval. Phil Tufnell and Andrew Caddick combined sensationally to run through an Australian line-up containing Mark Taylor, the Waugh brothers and a young Ricky Ponting, taking 9-69 between them as Australia fell 19 runs short.

Australia v England, Melbourne, 1998 

The fourth and final Ashes encounter on this list. With Australia 2-0 up after the first three Tests, they had already retained the urn going into the fourth Test at the MCG but the series was still alive; if England won the final two games, they would avoid a series defeat. At 130-3 chasing 175 with the Waugh brothers at the crease, Dean Headley and Darren Gough conspired to rip through the Australia lower-order, taking their last seven wickets for just 32 runs.

England v India, Birmingham, 2018

A Test that pretty much had everything. Virat Kohli’s 149, an innings later named Wisden’s Test innings of 2018, carried the tourists towards first-innings paritym shifting the momentum in India’s favour. At 87-7 in their second innings, England were in a spot of bother before Sam Curran, in just his second Test, smashed a quickfire 63 from No. 8 to leave India 194 to win. After his first-innings century, Kohli was the key man in the run chase and after passing 50, he looked likely to guide his side home before Ben Stokes trapped the Indian captain in front for 51. India’s next three wickets fell for just 21 as England sealed a 31-run win.

England v Ireland, Lord’s, 2019

Days after lifting the World Cup at the Home of Cricket, England were 85 all out at the very same ground against Ireland. England’s comeback was kickstarted by Jack Leach’s 92 as a nightwatchman but later stuttered after a customary England middle-order collapse. Ireland need 182 to secure their first victory in Test cricket but they were blown away in a new ball burst from Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, who combined to bowl Ireland out for just 38.

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