We like (well I like) a good anniversary and I thought I’d share this one with you tonight. 30 years ago we saw a brilliant individual performance by Ian Botham. It would be his last test hundred…
England resumed the first test at Brisbane on 198 for 2 against Australia. On the infamous “can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field…” tour England were decided second favourites but a very good Day 1 had them believing. However, Day 2 did not get off to an auspicious start. Allan Lamb and Bill Athey, the two overnight batsmen fell, and this brought David Gower and Ian Botham to the crease….
The entire England innings highlights are here…
I may have lost a lot of my regard for Sir Ian in his life as a commentator, but this was pure gold and showed why we were big fans of his playing days. Merv Hughes was vaunted as a new leader of the attack. Botham put him to the sword. Add to that the mental impact this had on the series. Hell, who knows if the 30th anniversary had a subliminal impact on Australia in Hobart this morning! We also got DeFreitas making 40 on debut, a half century for Gower and England went on to win the match.
Here’s a report by Tony Lewis on the day’s play:
Happy memories of the Gabba, prior to it being turned into a soulless concrete bowl!
14 years ago today Dmitri was in Port Douglas, and England were in Hobart playing Australia A. It was a lovely Friday morning, and we were fresh off our journey to the Barrier Reef the day before (one of my great lifetime experiences) and Sir Peter and I were readying ourselves for a drive up to Cape Tribulation. Before we left we say Martin Love blatantly smack the cover off the ball when on about 7, the bent Aussie umpire had his deaf aid switched off, and Love went on to make 201 not out.
The match reporter showed the usual Aussie disregard for matters trivial..
I’ll be returning to these tours post Christmas, when we have a large void to fill in the run up to the English summer, but any memories you have of 1986, let me have them….
Tony Lewis was one of the few players-cum-journos who could write. Compare Selfy, Angus F , and all the rest. Nasser really looks like a poly student in comparison.
I got his autobiography out of the library once. As you say he could write, and he had a hinterland. The opening chapters about playing as a boy in South Wales and getting into the Glamorgan side show a depth you don’t get much today.
Also, his description of facing spin in India. The crowd would go quiet as the ball was delivered and he said you could almost hear it revolving as it came down. Then as you played your shot there would be a huge crowd noise.
Just how many posts have you got queued up? Even one from me I think
What a fantastic report. I always thought that was one of Botham’s best innings. Down under, away from home is so much harder. If only there had been a Barmy army there to cheer him on! Could you have imagined the atmosphere.
A few thoughts about that series:
1) Merv Hughes wasn’t quite, at that time, the force he’d become. He’d only played one Test and taken 1/123. I remember a clear feeling that he was a poor man’s Dennis Lillee with the ‘tache but not much else. It wasn’t until he took 13 wickets against West Indies the following year that he showed he was a Test bowler. None of that’s to do Botham down – a match-winning century in an opening Test is still “all that”, especially when it swashes your buckles like he did.
2) I never quite understood what happened to McDermott in that series. I don’t think he was injured but he played just one Test, had good figures and was dropped. Weren’t their some whispers that he wasn’t mentally tough?
3) In retrospect, one can see Australia’s top order starting to come together. Marsh, Boon, Jones, Border and Waugh were all there at different times. Add Mark Taylor and it’s the line-up that scored industrial quantities of runs in 1989.
4) That series was the last time Emburey was remotely effective at Test level. He played another 22 Tests and took his wickets at 62. His average up until then was 31.5.
5) This Test and Headingley ’81 were Graham Dilley’s only wins in a 41 Test career. He was a fine bowler and deserved much better.
6) My strongest memory from that tour is not anything from the Tests but (and contrary to the received wisdom about their forgettability):
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Holy cow, did Steve Waugh ever look this young?
Brilliant. Borders face at the end is a picture
Merve Hughes attracts a fair amount of ridicule in our media but his record is nothing to be sneered at. His performance in the 1993 ashes especially after McDermott was injured were pretty damn heroic.
Going into that tour England were written off as having little chance. Martin Johnsons famous line of course turned out to be wrong, but how nice to have a media who could write feely, and were not some sub section of the touring party, pushing ECB pr. This was the last Aussie tour before the arrival of satellite tv meant you could watch live. 4 years later for the 1991 tour I got a dish and was able to watch through the night. Sky had taken over another fledgling out fit called BSM (British satellite Broadcasting) who had the rights to cricket. They had shown the WI vs England tour. Murdoch soon hoovered them up. I think it was about £4.99 per month then.
I can remember listening to the test on a radio in bed, before falling asleep only to wake to be pleasantly surprised at Botham’s century, and England doing so well. England not only won the test series, but also two ODI series. The Perth challenge, and a three way job against Aus, WI. WI were still viewed as the number 1 team so to win the three competitions was seen as some achievement.
This was the high point of Gatting’s captaincy, and a year later in Pakistan he was involved in the famous confrontation with Shakoor Rana during England’s 1987–88 series. By 1988 we had a barmaid scandal, and rebel tours, and Gatting was gone in disgrace. This 1986/87 tour was probably his greatest achievement.
I seem to remember at the end of this tour the Australian board called off the tour to the WI because they didn’t want their little darlings to be beaten too badly and Borders young team to lose confidence as the WI were going to tour Australia in 1988. This was denied of course. But if true another reason why Australia should always play in yellow.