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The Atherton gift to Donald that followed the 1998 Trent Bridge battle

Donald Atherton
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Michael Atherton and Allan Donald’s famous on-field duel in 1998 was followed by “some beers”, a gift from Atherton to Donald, and a “bit of a giggle” at the end of a riveting fourth day of the Trent Bridge Test.

Reliving the action on Sky Sports Cricket’s Watchalong, Atherton and Donald, along with Nasser Hussain, recalled what transpired off the field after Atherton dramatically survived Donald’s wrath in a 40-minute battle, taking England to safety at 108-1 at the end of the fourth evening in pursuit of 278.

“Michael came to the dressing room actually and brought some beers and gave me his right glove,” Donald recalled. Hours before, Atherton had ‘almost walked’ after gloving one behind to Boucher off Donald, only for umpire Steve Dunn to dismiss the appeal. Atherton survived the rest of the day, staying unbeaten on 43.

“It is so, so amazing to be able to share that moment and have a drink afterwards, even though you have given your absolute everything out there,” Donald said. “To sit down and have a bit of a giggle, and then walk away and go, ‘Right! We go again tomorrow morning.’

“That (having beers) to me is – not only [as] Nasser said it’s sportsmanship – that’s what I enjoyed. You play it so tough out there and then you can be able to chill a little bit and have a bit of chat and we see each other tomorrow.”

Donald wasn’t the only one who went home with prized memorabilia after the game. When England lapped up the chase the following day, pushing the series to a decider at Leeds, Atherton and Donald exchanged gifts to bring a sweet end to the fierce battle.

“I think at the end of the game, I think I got the Man of the Match or something, so I got Allan to sign – we used to get big Jeroboam foams of Veuve Clicquot in those days – I got him to sign that and I signed the gloves. I am sure he’s got it somewhere, I’ve got the bottle of champagne somewhere, down in the cellar.”

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