England from 526 to 1000.

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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby sussexpob » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:44 pm

Guess it's relative. Myabe pre 70s the gain was fully mainstream, and having lived through the post 2000s decline, it feels like the generation before had it better
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby ianp1970 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:58 pm

Arthur Crabtree wrote:and it competed in news terms with football (which kept the summer months free) reasonably well. Cricket was the national summer game.


Very much so AC.

Only 3 then 4 TV channels as well throughout the 70's/80's: one of which showed all home summer tests (albeit some afternoon sessions had racing and tennis interruptions) from start to finish. TMS was listened to around the country, especially on camping and caravan sites in the holidays (portable TV's were new, and hook-up electricity extremely rare) - we were often asked by passers-by for a score update. Newspapers were read every day, 2 or 3 on a Sunday, with coverage not just of the test matches, but full reports of all county games as well.

Cricket was very much the national summer game!
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:39 pm

June 15-19, 1978, Lord's. England beat Pakistan by an innings and 120 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1712 ... gland-1978

By 1978 England looked damaged by the Packer defections, with Bob Taylor, Graham Roope and Clive Radley transient and inadequate replacements for the players who took the Australian dollar. On the plus side, in the first Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston, David Gower announced himself in international cricket with a four off his first ball (a half tracker from forgotten medium pacer Liaqat Ali).

If England were singed by the Packer takeover, Pakistan were gutted. They lost Asif Iqbal, Imran Khan, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas and Mushtaq Mohammad. Packer later returned for Javed Miandad, Sarfraz Nawaz and Haroon Rashid who featured in this series against England. Sarfraz and Javed were their quality players in '78, but they had a handful of useful batters who would establish themselves in years to come, like the legendary slow batter, Mudassar Nazar, and Wasim Raja who showed up heroically against the West Indies quicks averaging nearly 60 over 11 Tests.

England completed a 2-0 series win at Lord's in a one sided game. It is most memorable for one of the great prodigious displays of Ian Botham's early career. In the first innings, he made his second ton of the series (his third in his first seven Tests) on a pitch green enough for even Liaqat Ali to take a 3-fer (his Test best), turning 134-5 into 324 for nine. The sort of performance that helped establish his mythology. But principally Botham's considerable and prodigious contribution to the game was his second innings bowling of 8-34, propelling a third of England's overs. He cut Pakistan down from 100-2 to 132 all out and this was about as good as he could have ever bowled, with that characteristic orthodox late outswinger utterly unplayable. Bob Willis took seven wickets in the game, but no one remembers this Test for Big Bob.

Pakistan had the better of the dead rubber at Headingley in overcast conditions. Sarfraz Nawaz was transformed there into a menacing quick swing bowler taking 5-39 as the rain closed in and ended the match as a draw. Some similar blitzes in county cricket were well known. In the following winter, Pakistan (with their Packer players back) set Australia 382 in Melbourne to win the Test. At 305-3, Australia, with Allan Border and Kim Hughes at the crease, looked well placed to pull off a monumental run chase. They were bowled out just five runs later. Sarfraz finishing with 9-86. By whatever means, the game had suddenly moved on. From orthodox swing under grey skies in England; to reverse swing, potentially anywhere, anytime. It took most of the rest of the world twenty years to work it out and catch up.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:31 pm

January 6-11, 1989, The SCG. England beat Australia by 93 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1711 ... ia-1978-79

One major contrast with cricket when I first started watching, is how much more facilitated batting is now. Partly due to equipment, particularly the helmet which transformed run making for lower order batters especially. But mainly it's the pitches, which clearly helped the bowlers a lot more and deteriorated faster. One series of bad pitches remains imbedded in my memory above any other, the Packerless Ashes of 1978-9.

Adelaide apart, occupying the crease was like Russian roulette. Any score beyond 200 looked like runs on the board. And England got nowhere near that in their first innings in the fourth Test in Sydney, totalling 152 with only Ian Botham's 59 making it beyond 20. In the circumstances, Australia's lead of 142 in reply, looked huge. When Boycott was out first ball of England's second innings, the game looked lost. But it in fact ushered in one of the greatest England innings of the past fifty years. Derek Randall's 150 in ten hours. Given the conditions, and the heat, and the quality of Hogg, Hurst, and Dymock, Randall's innings was at the very least the equal of Michael Atherton's marathon in Jo'burg.

Techniques were more variable back in the seventies, more characteristic. Randall walked into the stumps as the bowler delivered, with his bat flapping like a stable door in the wind. His lank hair tufted out from under his dark blue England cap, like he was an insubordinate schoolboy game for a lark. And he always seemed to provoke the Aussies. Here, Rodney Hogg in particular.

Randall set himself to single mindedly save the game by whatever means. Some of that plan involved audacious stretches of time wasting. But the main part was made of immense concentration and determination. Do England players now seek to occupy the crease in adversity so dutifully as the Notts batter did on days 3 and 4 at the SCG? It's hard to believe they do. So focussed was Randall on the draw, he couldn't even contemplate the win that his later batting partners began to propose between overs. He just wanted bat until stumps on day five. England had lost the previous Test at the MCG, to reduce their lead to 2-1. Another defeat in Sydney would wipe out their early advantage completely.

England eventually set Australia 205 to win. They were bowled out for 111 by Emburey and Miller. Because the pitch was still a dog. At the MCG, Allan Border made his debut. In his second Test, in his home town, he wasn't dismissed in either innings, making 105 runs on an appalling surface. He was clearly a class above his team mates and of course went on to be one of the great Test batters.

Randall's innings to win the Fourth Test was one of the best by an England player I can remember, though it, and this hard fought win is rarely mentioned now. In his superb book on the series, The Ashes Retained, captain Mike Brearley said this was the most brilliant victory in adversity that he knew of. But two years later it was eclipsed for all living memory by the miracle of Headingley. Sydney and Randall's heroics faded from recollection.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby DiligentDefence » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:23 pm

Arthur Crabtree wrote:June 15-19, 1978, Lord's. England beat Pakistan by an innings and 120 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1712 ... gland-1978

By 1978 England looked damaged by the Packer defections, with Bob Taylor, Graham Roope and Clive Radley transient and inadequate replacements for the players who took the Australian dollar.


That's extremely harsh on Bob Taylor who was a superb wicketkeeper ( I would argue better than Knott who he replaced) and he was hardly transient either.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:49 pm

Well he was a very good keeper, but even by the late seventies we were looking for the keeper to be a batter. Knott came back for a bit once the Packer days were over. Taylor wasn't a good enough batter to last for too long and no one who came after him was as much of a specialist as him. His Test average of 16.3 (three fifties and no tons) wasn't enough. He got 57 caps though, so he lasted longer than I thought.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:56 pm

Scored a very memorable 97 in Adelaide though. And a player I quite liked.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:45 pm

February 15-19, 1980: The Wankede Stadium. England beat India by ten wickets.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1705 ... ia-1979-80


The Packer affair had been good to England, but in the winter of 1979-80, England and Australia crammed in another series a year after England had won 5-1 down under. With peace brokered between the ACB and Channel 9, and Lillee and Greg Chappell et al back in the XI, Australia won the three match series 3-0. But no matter, England had refused to put the Ashes (only a notional trophy anyway, really) up for contest. So England left the lucky country having been whitewashed but still retaining the urn.

A week later, England were playing a one off Test in Mumbai to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Indian Test cricket. India were still a hard team to beat at home back then, though their legendary quartet of spinners (Bedi, Venkat, Prasanna and Chandrasekhar) had retired. Their attack was led by Kapil Dev and they had a fine batting team with Sunil Gavaskar at his peak. The Indians hadn't been touched by the Packer revolution. England had Underwood back, who never really looked convincing in coloured clothing.

Outside of the Ashes, overseas radio cricket broadcasting back then was stronger on atmosphere than clarity or reliability. Coverage of an Indian (and even more-so from Pakistan) tour was sketchy. There would be CMJ and either Blofeld or Don Mosey plus a couple of hacks working for the press. The vibe was of Martin-Jenkins transmitting from a radio receiver hidden in his suitcase, perhaps for the resistance. Periodically the sound of the Lincolnshire Poacher would float upon the waves, which heralded ten minutes of sequences of numbers which were being broadcast to Soviet agents in Europe. Frequently the line would be lost and we'd get a snatch of the Archers theme back in the studio and an advert for the show, and then some trad. jazz for however long it took to get 'the line' back, while we shivered in our dressing gowns at 4am in the UK with the heating off.

Newspapers would take 24 clear hours to get a report and a scorecard back to Blighty. Details were scarce and actual satellite footage non existent. For series other than England, you might as well wait for Playfair or Wisden to come out the following spring. So impressions are second or third hand. But what we do know about this game is that it came at a time when England were no longer a dominant side like they were in the fifties, and India were no longer emerging lightweights. And we know that Ian Botham gave (statistically at least) one of the all time great all round displays in the pantheon. Let's not forget, in Mumbai/Bombay, not Leeds or Christchurch or Brisbane.

He took 6-58 and 7-48 with the ball and scored 114 in 206 minutes in his only innings. Underwood bowled seven overs and didn't take a wicket, though apparently the groundsman prepared a grassy pitch in order to negate Deadly's threat. Big mistake! At 25, this was probably Botham's peak, though it was seen by few England supporters. An unstoppable force of nature and a law unto himself. And captain in waiting, when Mike Brearley would elect to leave the stage the following summer, with the West Indies set to tour.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby ianp1970 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:02 pm

Good stuff AC :thumb

From what I remember, the Indians were very keen on the great 'Iron Bottom!' Many stories - probably apocryphal! - of queues around the team hotel hoping for an autograph...
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:16 pm

England only lost 1-0 to WI that summer! A great result. But put the pressure was on ITB and didn't relent when they had the misfortune to tour there the following winter... And that was only 2-0 (though in four games as Georgetown was rained off). It would get much worse.

1981 next. I wonder...
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:21 pm

Obviously going to go for the Ashes, but the final Test in Jamaica has always held my interest. Gooch got 150 in the first innings and Gower 150 in the second. At a ground that usually helped the quicks. Who were Holding, Marshall, Croft and Garner!

Or was that Test scrapped in Guyana because Jackman was on the tour?
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:24 pm

Yes, the Guyanese Government wouldn't let Jackman in.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:06 pm

July 16-21, 1981: Headingley. England beat Australia by 18 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1703 ... gland-1981

No need to get fancy here.

This is a game that is so famous that it is recognisable by the title, the Headingley Test, though this is one match among 76. But the intensity of the memory has allowed myth to influence of our perception. In 1980, a working class lad from Yeovil was promoted from the ranks but stumbled when asked to take charge of the national team. In the summer of 1981 an experienced, grey haired graduate of public school and Cambridge returned at this time of crisis and restored leadership to the group and made them more than the sum of their parts, and beat the Australians and keep the Ashes at the home of cricket.

Well, yes and no. Ian Botham was initiated to the captaincy with a five Test series against the mighty West Indies which they lost merely 1-0. And then led England to the fortresses of the Caribbean where they conceded a four match series 2-0. When England went 1-0 down in the Ashes of 1981 at Lord's, the members gave Botham the silent treatment and the call went out for Mike Brearley to take over. Like David Niven introduced to a failing flight crew in a WWII film, Brearley went to work on the psychology of the group. But Brearley had been whitewashed by the Aussies in 1979-80. And he never played against the West Indies. The myth conforms to a common media narrative, but is simplistic.

Not to say Botham was a good captain or Brearley a poor one, but what is most obvious about the Headingley Test is that Ian Botham with the bat and Bob Willis with the ball won one of the best and closest contests in the long and fabled history of the game. At the time, it was Botham's last gasp long handle that gripped the imagination of the public, as he went down swinging to 149* in the company of Graham Dilley and Chris Old. Botham also took six wickets and scored a fifty in the first innings.

But now, it seems to me that it is Bob Willis' 8-43 that remains the most folkloric. Australia chased 130 and from a serene 56-1 collapsed to 75-8 and 111 all out. It is partly the intensity of Willis performance that was unique, as criticism from the press forced Willis deep inside himself, his face a taut mask of menacing resolve. And his bowling was so goddam nasty, the short ball taking off into the upper body of the Aussie batters and ricocheting arbitrarily around the infield. It was like a bloody, and shameful atavistic tribal hunt. And the slender target just made the collapse all the more intense. It was the first time I my pulse had quickened in that way to such a spectacle. And the first cut is the deepest. It remains unforgettable.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:52 pm

December 26-30, 1982: The MCG. England beat Australia by 3 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1696 ... ia-1982-83

1982 was a year of stasis for the England cricket team as a premonition of an imminent decline began to gather. They lost to India in a dreadful series away, then narrowly beat India and Pakistan at home, with David Gower and Ian Botham making particularly high quality double hundreds. But over this period, decent players toward the end of their career began to be inadequately replaced.

Until the appointment of Michael Vaughan, there wasn't even an argument to be had about the best England captain of my lifetime; it was Mike Brearley. Not Keith Fletcher or the dilettante Gower, or the incompetent Mike Gatting. And maybe only fans of his tv work would think Bob Willis was a good choice. Willis' body began to fail, and fine bowlers like Old, Hendrick and Lever gave way to Pringle, Cowans and Jackman. There were signs that Botham was slowly evolving from a whippet slim swing bowler with a wicked yorker to a fat bloke with a sore back and a bad attitude. Boycott went to South Africa with Graham Gooch and only one of them would return. Instead, we got Chris Tavare, Allan Lamb and Graeme Fowler. None of them would average over 40. An astonishing number of players were tried and discarded leaving barely a trace. Tim Lloyd. Andy Pigott. Paul Terry....

At the end of the year, England toured Australia. The proliferation of Ashes contests between 2013 and 2015 wasn't unprecedented. Between 1977 and 1983, England had at least some Ashes cricket every year. Hence more than a little ennui threatened to suffocate the meeting of 1982-83. The England team under Bob Willis was unfamiliar and feeble and struggled against a clearly stronger Australian side with Allan Border, Kim Hughes and the old guard, Greg Chappell, Lillee and Thomson and Rod Marsh. Geoff Lawson was a matchwinner. Bruce Yardley got a measure of revenge for the indignity of the 5-1 thrashing of 1978-9.

One game breaks through the fog of memory, mainly because of the tight finish. The Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. It wasn't a dead rubber, though England started the game 0-2. A couple of unlikely wins would see the Ashes retained. It was a tough batting series everywhere and England's 284 was only matched by Australia's 287. England then set a mammoth 292 to win thanks to Pringle and Bob Taylor scoring runs down the order.

Australia should have got nowhere near, and at 218-9, they weren't. And so followed one of the most famous last wicket stands in the history of the game, between the great competitor, Allan Border... and the very limited Jeff Thomson (who never made a Test fifty in 13 years of batting). They held out together for an hour, Border very familiar with the heroic last chance (batting for 230 minutes overall). They saw off a new ball and an overnight break for the close of play and got within three runs of the target the following morning before Thommo edged Botham to Chris Tavare. Who shelled the absolute sitter. Which looped up to Geoff Miller on the rebound. Two players who would never have been in a decent England side combined to put them back in the series at the last.

England only drew at the SCG and Australia won back the Ashes 2-1. Unfortunately for the Baggy Greens, the only incident anyone remembers is England winning at the MCG merely a lucky four away from defeat. Border and Thomson added 71 pugnacious, never-say-die runs. But they needed 74. Them's the breaks. It was the kind of win that England fans would grow used to celebrating as the decade passed; unexpected, and against a panoramic background of defeat.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:01 pm

August 11-15, 1983: Lord's. England beat New Zealand by 127 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1694 ... gland-1983


England only played four Tests in 1983, with much of the summer taken up by India winning the World Cup at Lord's. They completed a series loss in Australia and then beat a strong New Zealand team 3-1 at home. This was a new era in its infancy, when the England supporter learned to take the adrenaline rush of success fleetingly and without expectation. There were heroes of these kinds of win, like Angus Fraser and Robin Smith and particularly Graham Gooch. Whole careers played out against an expanse of defeat.

English cricket became a vehicle for fatalistic national introspection, at first anguished and eventually satirical. There were two chief classifications for this sense of loss. If England were playing West Indies, the press would dwell on where the English fast bowlers would be found. If they were in Asia, they would yearn for the great spinners of long ago. The conclusions were more truly representative of the nature of the journalist than the state of the sporting nation. I remember more than one scribe lamenting the influence of the decline of mining on English quick bowling.

I remember watching the debut of Darren Gough 1994 and being jerked from my gloomy reverie into the consciousness that I was witnessing the debut of the first genuinely exciting pace bowler since Ian Botham in 1977. For a spinner I waited longer. I didn't see a slow bowler of international quality debut until Graeme Swann in 2008. We saw plenty of raw recruits along the way, and occasionally a player would emerge who looked like the young pretender, only to fade away back to county cricket until it was time for a benefit and retirement.

At Lord's in 1983, Leicestershire slow left armer Nick Cook made his debut and briefly delivered a frisson of perhaps being a replacement for Derek Underwood. He was called up after Phil Edmonds hurt his back getting out of a taxi. New Zealand had drawn level at Headingley and England made the usual sweeping changes, giving debuts to NGB Cook, Neil Foster and Chris Smith and recalling Mike Gatting. Cook took 5-35 and 3-90. He was tall and slim with a fine powerful action, and he turned the ball (no guarantee back then among England slow bowlers) from the start. And he had that effect, that somehow all good international players bring with them, of seeming to belong. His short black hair and dashing hawkish features gave him a pleasingly retro look, like a golden age reproduction on a cigarette card. A mate said he looked like Raffles, and I was taken by the comparison.

Cook picked up nine wickets at Trent Bridge as England wrapped up the series and was named Player of the Match. In the winter he starred in England's 1-0 defeat in Pakistan and after a year in international cricket had 35 wickets in six Tests at 26.1. He would win a further nine caps, taking 17 wickets at 45.5. He faded away. Other spinners would come in and debut in his place, like Eddie Hemmings, and Edmonds and Emburey would return again and again. But none of them would touch Nick Cook in his first year of Test cricket and no one would provoke similar optimism, however brief, until the debut of Phil Tufnell at the MCG in 1990.
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