Six of the best as England reach 1,000 Tests
England’s 999 Tests to date have featured some famous victories – and the occasional defeat.
England will play their 1,000th Test match next week, against India at Edgbaston.
Here, Press Association Sport picks out six of the most memorable from their 999 so far:
1882 – v Australia at The Oval, lost by seven runs
The #Ashes are almost here - do you know how they started?— ICC (@ICC) November 22, 2017
In 1882, Australia beat England at The Oval, bowling them out for 77 to win by 7 runs. A mock obituary appeared for the death of English cricket, which inspired the aim to 'reclaim the Ashes' from Australia. pic.twitter.com/ac9FD2CXNX
Where it all began … incongruous perhaps to start with a first ever home defeat, but Australia’s shock two-day victory was the birth of the Ashes. Even WG Grace could not defy the demon Fred Spofforth, with his 14 wickets in the match – and as the satirists published their mock obituary for English cricket, history was made.
1902 – v Australia at The Oval, won by one wicket
Gilbert Jessop’s century at The Oval in 1902 came from just 76 balls. However, what made it even more notable was the fact that he maintained a strike rate of greater than a run per ball for his entire innings! #AshesFacts pic.twitter.com/sjV9CBiWip— ICC (@ICC) November 21, 2017
The urn was already back in Australia’s possession and the tourists had Victor Trumper at the top of their batting order, but England held the ace with the big-hitting Gilbert Jessop down at number seven. His century rescued their run chase from 48 for five – and Yorkshire pair George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes famously did the rest … “nobbut just”, though.
1938 – v Australia at The Oval, won by an innings and 579 runs
Same time, late August, same place – 36 years on – step forward another Yorkshireman. Len Hutton, however, was not just another but first among equals, as his world-record innings of 364 was about to prove. The opener faced 847 balls and batted for 797 minutes in a mammoth 903 for seven declared. It took almost 60 years for any Test team to make more, and 20 before Garfield Sobers usurped Hutton with his unbeaten 365. England’s huge margin of victory still stands alone.
1981 – v Australia at Headingley, won by 18 runs
The daddy of them all. After a torrid winter in the West Indies, defeat at Trent Bridge and then Ian Botham’s pair in a Lord’s draw, Mike Brearley took over as captain. All went pretty badly for three and a half days – until, in trouble again following on, “Botham’s Ashes” kick-started with an unbeaten 149 and Bob Willis capped the most astounding comeback win by taking eight for 43 on the final day.
2005 – v Australia at Edgbaston, won by two runs
Another Ashes epic for the ages in a riveting summer which saw Michael Vaughan’s England win back the urn after 18 years. The image endures of Andrew Flintoff with his consoling hand on Brett Lee’s shoulder as the Australian came to terms with his fellow tail-ender Michael Kasprowicz’s dismissal. England won by very nearly the narrowest of margins, two runs, to level the series after Australia’s resilience fell short at the last despite putting on 104 runs for their last two wickets.
2012 – v India in Mumbai, won by 10 wickets
Against this summer’s opponents, the mercurial Kevin Pietersen and England’s all-time record run-scorer Alastair Cook batted brilliantly at the Wankhede Stadium to set up a highly improbable win. England had lost the first Test by nine wickets despite a fine Cook rearguard in the second innings. This time, he and Pietersen did the business at their first attempt. In a double-century third-wicket stand, Pietersen especially played one of his greatest innings – reward for Cook’s pragmatic decision to ensure his recall after a vexed summer. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann then spun India out a second time, the precursor to England’s first series win in India since 1984-85.