@ovshake42 10 minute read
England’s win against Pakistan was one of their greatest overseas triumphs. Abhishek Mukherjee lists England’s 12 most famous wins away from home.
Only thrice in the history of Test cricket has a side won after following-on – but only one of them has one away from home, in Sydney in 1894/95. Syd Gregory made 201 and George Giffen 161 in Australia’s 586. Giffen, arguably the greatest Test all-rounder of the 19th century, then took 4-75 and 4-164 across 118 overs, but Albert Ward’s 117 helped England set 177. Nevertheless, Australia were 113-2 overnight, with Giffen and Darling at the crease.
It then rained overnight. A distraught Bobby Peel had too much to drink, but now his teammates woke him up, for the Yorkshire left-arm spinner could be unplayable on these pitches. ‘Drewy’ Stoddart then put him under a cold shower. Once sober, Peel asked his captain “give me the ball, Mr Stoddart, and I’ll get t’boogers out before loonch!” He did. England won the series 3-2.
Plum Warner’s men – the first England team sent officially by MCC – were not favourites to regain the Ashes. When Australia put up 285 and reduced England to 117-4 in the first Test, in Sydney, the predictions seemed valid. But ‘Tip’ Foster batted for seven hours for his 287 – then the highest Test innings, and still the highest Test score on debut – to take his team to 577.
Victor Trumper now conjured a dazzling unbeaten 185, but England’s seemingly endless list of all-rounders kept coming to their rescue. Ted Arnold had taken 4-76 in the first innings and Len Braund scored 102. Now Wilfred Rhodes claimed 5-94, and when England were 82-4 in pursuit of 194, George Hirst (60*) joined Tom Hayward (94) to see them through. The underdogs returned home with a 4-1 win and the urn.
Meticulous preparation by Douglas Jardine, with inputs from Percy Fender, Arthur Carr et al, perfected by Harold Larwood, Bill Voce, and Bill Bowes, everything – had already put England 2-1 up in the series. Bill Woodfull had been hit on the chest, Bert Oldfield knocked out, the police summoned, words had been exchanged between cricketers, cables between boards.
But the series was yet to be won, and that happened in Brisbane. After Australia made 340, England became 216-6. Jardine ensured Eddie Paynter, down with tonsilitis, refused medical advice and left his hospital bed to bat four hours in excruciating heat for his 83 and put England ahead. Larwood then took 3-49 (to go with his 4-101 in the first innings), and England needed only 160. This time Maurice Leyland stepped up with 86, though – fittingly – Paynter provided the final touches. England won 4-1.
The England selectors knew what they were doing when he picked four fast bowlers for the tour. Len Hutton’s decision to bowl in Brisbane backfired (England lost by an innings). At Sydney, too, Australia needed only 223 to win, but not before Frank Tyson had vowed to give it back to Australia after Ray Lindwall knocked him “out of consciousness” with a bouncer.
Tyson took 6-85. From 77-2, Australia collapsed to 184. England took the Ashes with a 3-1 win.
1984/85 Madras (now Chennai)
On November 27, 1984, Percy Norris, British Deputy High Commissioner of Western India, was shot dead in Bombay. The England team stayed put, but lost the Test match that began the next morning in the same city as a teenage leg-spinner called L Sivaramakrishnan took 12 wickets. England then levelled the series in Delhi and drew in Calcutta.
At Madras, Neil Foster showed up, after having taken 12 wickets at 51 in six Test matches until then. Picked after his five wickets in the tour match against South Zone, stunned India with 6-104 and 5-59 on either side of double-hundreds by Graeme Fowler and Mike Gatting. England won by nine wickets and took the series 2-1.
Had this list been ranked by difficulty, the Bridgetown Fortress Breach would have ranked very close to the top. West Indies had already taken a 3-0 lead. In their previous Test innings, England had been bowled out for 46. And no touring team had won in Bridgetown in 59 years.
Yet, against Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, and the unrelated Benjamins, Alec Stewart carved out 118 and 143. Between the two classics, Angus Fraser had taken 8-75. Andy Caddick then provided the final rites with 5-63 to seal a 208-run win.
Across the 1980s and 1990s, England won 46 Test matches and lost 82, and sunk to the bottom of the Wisden International rankings in 1999. Then began a remarkable turnaround with two famous wins in the subcontinent. After two draws, England came to Karachi for the decider, not having won a Test match in Asia since 1985. Here, Michael Atherton batted for nearly 10 hours for his 125, but England still fell 17 short.
Pakistan, 71-3 at stumps on the fourth day, then collapsed to 158 in the fourth afternoon. England, chasing 176 in a minimum of 44 overs, became 65-3 before Graham Thorpe and Graeme Hick added 91. As England inched closer to a win, Pakistan captain Moin Khan tried to slow things down – until the umpires intervened. It was dark when Graham Thorpe scored the winning runs in the 42nd over.
In the same winter, England were thwarted by spin in Galle but levelled the series in Kandy. In the decider, England extracted an eight-run lead before Darren Gough (3-23), Caddick (2-29), and Ashley Giles (4-11) shot out Sri Lanka for 81. England needed only 74, but even that seemed a mountain against Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya that seemed to deteriorate with every over. England lost six wickets, but Thorpe’s remarkable composure saw them home.
England’s 2-1 win in the inaugural Basil D’Oliveira Trophy was their first on South African soil in four decades. Coming into the fourth Test match with the series 1-1, England conceded an eight-run lead. They needed quick runs for a declaration, and Marcus Trescothick’s 248-ball 180 allowed him exactly that.
South Africa needed 325 in just over two sessions. Having already taken 5-144 in the first innings, Matthew Hoggard claimed the first six wickets to reduce South Africa to 118-6. But Herschelle Gibbs (98) kept South Africa in the hunt, as did a concussed Graeme Smith (67 not out), who emerged at No.8. England eventually won by 77 runs as Hoggard took 7-61.
England won the Ashes in Australia after 24 years, and of their three innings wins, this was the biggest. Everything worked for England here. James Anderson (4-44) and Chris Tremlett (4-26) shot out Australia for 98 in under 43 overs, and England were in lead with all 10 wickets in hand after a day’s play.
Four England batters then got half-centuries, while Jonathan Trott made 168 not out as they amassed 513. Australia made it to 99-1 before falling apart against Tim Bresnan (4-50). The match was over in the fourth morning.
India, 1-0 up in the series, made 327 here against Monty Panesar (5-129) and Graeme Swann (4-70), and reduced England to 68-2 when Kevin Pietersen joined Alastair Cook. As Pietersen demolished the famed Indian spinners with a 233-ball 186, Cook seemed at ease for his 122, his second hundred of the series. India then collapsed to 142 as Panesar (6-81) and Swann (4-43) shared the wickets.
England won the Test match by 10 wickets, won in Kolkata, and drew in Nagpur to win their first series in India after 28 years.
The pitch was flat, threats of bad light loomed, and half the team was ill – to sum up, the stage was set for England to play for a draw. Yet, England came out all guns blazing as Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107), Ollie Pope (108), and Harry Brook (153) all made hundreds on the first day.
England scored at 6.50 in the first innings and 7.36 in the second and made a bold declaration before Ollie Robinson (4-50) and Anderson (4-36) sealed a famous win with minutes to spare.