England from 526 to 1000.

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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:11 pm

July 23-26, 1992, Headingley. England beat Pakistan by six wickets.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1648 ... gland-1992

Under Graham Gooch's captaincy England began to win the series that didn't require heroic legend to achieve, beating India in the UK and New Zealand away and (post Hadlee) at home. But if they had even found a foothold in their struggles with West Indies, one side got under their skin like no other, and it wasn't Australia. For some time Pakistan had been the second best side in the world, uncontested until the re-emergence of South Africa. But for England under the hardworking, methodical Gooch it felt like Pakistan were beating England with witchcraft.

The sorcery was reverse swing and the England side would remain suspicious of its virtue and provenance until Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram spilled its secret recipe to their county team mates at Glamorgan and Lancashire in the late nineties. It turned upside down what every county pro knew, that you saw the shine off the new ball, and then made hay in the sunshine. A flat pitch was poison for the England seamers, but the Pakistanis were immune. Gooch, Atherton and Stewart would do their hard work, and get to 150-1, and then the sky would fall in.

The 1992 Pakistan team wasn't quite as impressive as the one that toured in 1987 under Imran Khan (who was replaced by Aaqib Javed), but it was still very strong. And after decent starts from the top order, England collapsed to go 1-0 down at Lord's. So the Leeds groundstaff gave Gooch another pitch to order at Headingley. A year on from the win there against the West Indies, England picked four line and length merchants and dropped Devon Malcolm. This was the era of the Headingley specialist; in came Neil Mallender on debut, Tim Munton and Derek Pringle to join Chris Lewis. Typical of England's selection of the time, it was the same plan but three quarters of a new attack from the previous year.

This Headingley foursome bowled out Pakistan for 197 on a sporty pitch. What pain would Waqar and Wasim exact in revenge? Atherton and Gooch saw off the new ball well as they so often did, and then Atherton got out after doing his primary task, as was also common. But Gooch kept on batting, against new ball and old. It was another seven hour knock to set alongside his classic versus the West Indies in '91. England eventually lost their last eight wickets for 28 runs, as was their destiny, but Gooch's 135, supported by Robin Smith's 42, had already won the match.

Neil Mallender bagged 5-50 in the second innings to give him eight in the match. The target of 99 England were set in the last innings was not without hazard, but Gooch's 37 and David Gower's 31* saw them home. Yes, David Gower! Such was the muddled story of English cricket under Ted Dexter, Gower was back again. Gower finally retired from the game after the defeat in the last Test at the Oval, a ground which suited the Pakistan team much more than Headingley. Mallender was retained there but never featured again and today stands as an umpire with a Test bowling average of 21.5. Strange times. It all added up to a series defeat, but the Headingley Test was still a thrilling win against a great side and perpetuated the fragile myth that there there was a formula for England to beat anyone. In 1992 Headingley seemed to be English cricket's Goldilocks pitch.
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Re: England from 526 to 1000.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:48 am

Next time, the deadest dead rubber victory in history.
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Team(s) Supported: Yorkshire/New England.

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