1990s Ashes Rematch: Drama on day 5

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Last month we pitted a 90s England XI against a 90s Australia XI using International Cricket Captain’s ‘All Time Greats’ mode and the Aussies won. This is the rematch Down Under.

Australia (446-5) trail England (575-5 dec) by 129 runs.

We’ve done some pretty pointless things in our time, but playing out the fifth day of this match and then writing about it is unquestionably the most pointless today.

Here’s what happened on day four.

As we resume, Steve Waugh is on 120, Ian Healy is on 8. England will need to take 15 wickets and also score some runs if they’re to win. Considering we’ve seen an average of 2.5 wickets a day so far, that isn’t going to happen.

Australia could have a bit of a slog and then hope to bowl England out, but that probably isn’t going to happen either.

Let’s get this over with.

Morning session

Ian Salisbury bowls the first over because that’s where we are now. The most exciting possibility here is that Ian Salisbury might take 5-200.

Darren Gough starts at the other end and CLEAN BOWLS STEVE WAUGH SECOND BALL.

No… they couldn’t… could they?

In Gough’s next over, Healy edges over the slips for four and then edges again, this time straight to Jack Russell.

What the flying figjam is going on this morning? Why couldn’t Gough – or indeed anyone – have done this a couple of days ago?

Brendan Julian and Paul Reiffel are at the crease.

Gough bounces Julian who half-plays, half-evasive-manoeuvres it for four.

With the last ball of his fourth over, Gough slams one into Reiffel’s pads. The umpire’s finger dangles limply for what feels like an hour before unexpectedly pinging into the air.

We’re half an hour into the final day, Australia are eight down and still 108 behind. All around people are doing mathematics.

After six wholehearted overs, Gough looks a broken man. He is replaced by Angus Fraser, who also looks a broken man, but isn’t one.

Second ball he finds Reiffel’s edge but it hits Graham Thorpe in the chest before he can get his hands anywhere near it. That’ll be Gus’s extreme pace, that will.

It doesn’t matter. Two balls later he has his man LBW.

Gus bounces Colin Miller first ball and hits him in the chest. He appears to have been possessed by the ghost of Frank Tyson or something.

Fraser beats Miller more times than we can count before eventually getting him caught behind.

Australia are all out, 70 behind.

Change of innings

There are 40 minutes until lunch. England need to bat about six times as quickly as they did in the first innings if they’re to have even the flimsiest chance of winning this.

Mike Atherton hasn’t seen fit to promote anyone instead of himself. He walks out with Alec Stewart.

Oddly, at lunch it’s Stewart who’s the laggard, while Athers has hit an actual six. (Well, he’s mishit one – but it still counts.)

England lead by 106.

Afternoon session

After soup and sandwiches, Athers continues to be the more confident of the two. Stewart is really, really struggling to lay bat on ball.

After half an hour Atherton edges to slip and Chris Lewis walks out, ready to deploy the long handle.

Finally Stewart gets going, but the decision to promote Lewis doesn’t seem justified.

Lewis edges Miller behind for a 27-ball 17.

Graeme Hick emerges.

He top edges a sweep straight back to Miller for a run-a-ball 10.

Nasser Hussain walks out.

Hussain looks better than anyone. Suppose he’s seen more of this pitch than anyone. He hits Miller for four fours in an over, at which point Atherton calls his men in.

Change of innings

There’s just half an hour to go until tea. Australia need 228 to win. England need 10 wickets.

Gough opens along with Fraser. Neither takes a wicket before the break.

Evening session

Salisbury replaces Fraser and Gough switches to the other end.

It’s the leg-spinner who gets the breakthrough – Mark Taylor adjudged LBW for seven. With just 1h40m to go, it’s almost certainly too little too late.

Lewis replaces Gough and Salisbury has Michael Slater caught behind.

There’s 1h20m to go. Maybe spin is the better bet.

Oh! Chris Lewis bowls Mark Waugh with the first ball of his second over.

AND THEN STEVE WAUGH INSIDE-EDGES HIS SECOND TO HUSSAIN AT SHORT LEG!

He’s on a hat-trick! He’s on a hat-trick! Chris Lewis is on a pissing hat-trick!

The Barmy Army do the bowler-running-in-crescendo-roar thing.

Michael Bevan plays the safest forward defensive stroke you have ever seen in your life. That was a bit of an anti-climax.

Decent appeal two balls later though. Probably missing off.

There’s 1h15m to go and Australia are 47-4.

Lewis has another good LBW shout in his next over. He’s bowling at the stumps and letting the crumbling pitch do the work.

But the appeals peter out. There are now 45 minutes to go and there have been no further wickets.

Bevan pulls a couple of fours and we’re nearing the last half-hour.

Athers makes a double bowling change. Gough comes back – obviously – and rather more surprisingly Graeme Hick comes on at the other end. It is turning. Maybe it’s worth a punt.

There’s a huge, huge, huge, huge appeal from Gough for LBW against Greg Blewett. The Yorkshireman crumples to the floor when it’s not given, a beaten man, and then knocks out middle two balls later.

Australia are 79-5 but there are now just 15 minutes to go.

And that’s the last of it.

Chris Lewis was in the Waughs, Mike Atherton played the greatest cricket shot in history, but it’s Nasser Hussain who’s man of the match.

Moral victory to England.

England hold The Moral 1990s Ashes.

Stumps

We’re actually pretty deflated by that.

With hindsight, Graham Thorpe’s 255-ball 71 feels almost actively counterproductive. But then things definitely seemed to accelerate on the final day to the extent that it was only really in that final session that batting seemed at all a challenge.

Frankly, we blame the Kookaburra ball.

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31 comments

  1. This proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that England’s 1990s cricket has finally turned the corner.

    I am filled with optimism and near-feverish expectation for this England 1990s squad’s next match.

    The 1990s Aussies must be shitting themselves.

  2. I’d completely forgotten all about this after day 2. Read through days 3, 4 and 5 just now, not really knowing what had happened other than “DRAMA ON DAY 5!”

    Was scrolling down the page with a genuine sense of excitement, expectation and anticipation. So of course it was a draw 🙂

    1. A very weird element of this is that we can’t get any real sense of what it must be like to read. Normally we can distance ourself from what we’ve written and have sort of an idea, but here the discovery is such a key part of things.

      1. I find they are rather like reading an exciting section of a book you’ve not read previously. You have to avoid scrolling too far so as to not spoil, just as you would have to avoid secretly using your periphery to see the next page of the book (or was that just me?). Like when you know the big reveal is on its way in a mystery novel or something. The day-by-day release adds something to it as well, but I’m not quite sure what.

      2. @Robb Yes I felt this exactly, I realised as I was reading that it wouldn’t work for a T20 or ODI. Well, unless maybe you released it in 10-over chunks, but then the pacing is wrong – the nice thing is that this day-by-day thing is like following a proper Test in “real time” via the highlights or match report. Also why it helps if the titles are somewhat mysterious. And you definitely have to avoid glancing ahead.

      3. The titles are really hard. We eventually settled on ‘vague but pathetic’ as the lesser of the two evils.

      4. Surely the next logical step is to play out one of these matches in real time and stream it live on YouTube?

  3. All set for England to lose the next three matches in a row comfortably, and then win the dead rubber.

    20 years later Darren Gough and Nasser Hussain will make a youtube video for Sky about that match they nearly won if just three or four hours of cricket had gone differently.

  4. We flippin murdered em!

    I Would definitely like to see more 90s-England matches whilst we wait for the resumption…maybe in anticipation of the England-WI series, we could have a three match series where 90s England face off against 90s Windies, then 00s Windies, then 2010s Windies?

    Or maybe just a T20 between 90s England and 2010s Windies…they may have Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle, but surely none of them can match the innovation of Atherton’s Shot?

    1. Honestly feel like Athers should retire in the wake of The Shot. Where do you go from there?

      1. But Athers hit a six in this match.

        Athers sixes were almost as rare as hens’ teeth.

        His only T20 six was one of the first ever free hits, if I remember correctly.

        The Shot was just a minor aberration. It’s the 1990’s. You have to persevere with Athers.

        Nasser, on the other hand, for his mere (frankly sedentary) double-hundred, should be dropped for Ramprakash.

    1. That’s fantastic! 55 overs ODI, played in whites, can it really be as recent as 1995? Yet so it is. I think my memories are being distorted by the proximity between 1995 and the 1996 World Cup, which makes this look more antediluvian than it actually was. (Though even the 1992 World Cup was 50-overs and played in pyjamas, and, though I just had to double-check this to confirm, even by 1987 the World Cup had switched from 60 to 50 overs.)

  5. 144 ball hundred that! 196-3 in 47th. Guess the acceleration came in the last 3 overs

      1. I think you’re correct, Ged. Certainly all of the bilateral and multilateral 1995/6 ODI series were 50 overs, as you’d expect with 55 overs being an English peculiarity and other sides having abandoned 40 or 60 overs by then. And subsequent English summers were all 50 overs.

        When was the last time England wore whites in ODIs? Judging by highlights clips on youtube NZ were doing so up to 1999 and England wore white for the bilateral ODIs vs South Africa in 1998, though donned colours for the tri-series against SA and Sri Lanka. Where they always PJed up after that?

        Looking at some of the highlights reminded me that my memories of the Hollioake brothers in ODIs were largely in whites, so the era had gone in to the later 90s a bit longer than I’d first remembered.

      2. We persevered with List A cricket in whites in England (the C&G at least) until 2002, then went pyjamas.

        I wrote a sartorially-oriented Middlesex career obit for Sven Koenig which harped on that point, not least doing monstrous mischief with the numbers, writing with serene dignity afforded to only the very few writers.

        https://www.cricketnetwork.co.uk/main/s66/st60814.htm

        So farewell then, whites in List A matches, 2002.

      3. Yes I remember it going on for longer in the C&G, especially as lacking a satellite subscription there wasn’t much other chance to county cricket on TV. I’ll always remember watching the breakdown of Scott Boswell’s bowling in the 2001 final, especially with him being bigged up on the basis of his matchwinning semifinal performance. One day, one set of inexplicably sweaty palms, and that day happens to be the big one. Then poof, there’s your career and livelihood gone. For all the inspirational stories that sport serves up, it’s those moments where a human life and psyche is humbled in the course of a “game” that really stick with me. Makes me glad I wasn’t any good at sports myself…

        http://espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/9161.html

      4. Gosh yes, the Scott Boswell “yips in the final” incident. It was agony to watch.

        Strangely, one of the Bristol nephews, Manolete in the following early KC piece…

        https://www.kingcricket.co.uk/middlesex-v-lancashire-pro-40-match-report/2009/09/28/

        …is named Scott Boswell in real life. I so clearly recall telling Daisy she had to see this player, who had bowled so well in the semi-final and who shared a name with our nephew.

        No wonder it was only the other Bristol-based nephew, Belmonte, (plus nephew-in-law Escamillo Escapillo of course) who retained an interest in cricket. Manolete must have got such a ribbing from his mates back then about that.

      5. Re Sven Koenig by the way, always thought it was a shame he didn’t play for Denmark with a name like that. The Italian connection amused me at the time – for the likes of Michael di Venuto the link was always a bit more obvious!

        Top nominative coincidence there. I have for the first time discovered this (rather old now) Guardian interview with Boswell:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/sep/18/scott-boswell-and-the-yips

        He moved on to a career in teaching and coaching youngsters. The effect on the guy sounds devastating. Suspect it didn’t help when a “senior figure at the club” told him “not to f*** up” the night before. My respect for George Sharp (the umpire) and Jimmy “best player in my own family” Ormond is increased though.

        “I had heard about people getting the yips gradually,” Boswell says. “But I got the yips because of an occasion. I choked.” It has taken him a long time to be able to use that word. He can laugh about it now, just about. “It’s OK when the jokes are on my terms, but when somebody comes to me and talks about it, even a little kid, I find it a little bit raw.” If the pupil is old enough, he will explain that what happened that day cost him his job. …

        … Boswell was still playing [club cricket]. And he still couldn’t bowl. He was a batsman for a club side in Leicestershire. “There was a guy there called David Pounds, a club cricketer. We were playing a second XI match and he forced me to bowl. I bowled a 28-ball over. The opposition were OK, because he had told them about me. But I hated it. The ball was going everywhere.” And then, it happened. “My 28th ball, I landed it. I got an lbw. Everybody ran up to me and I was on the floor in tears. I was the most embarrassed man in the world, but I had a wicket.

        “After that, I gradually began to get back to bowling.” Now, at the age of 38, Boswell can put the ball wherever he wants. “But it is always there in the back of my head, when I’m bowling it will pop into my head: ‘I could bowl a wide, I could bowl a wide.'”

      6. On the subject of monster overs, remember this one from Daryl Tuffey against Aus in 2005?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvpnfrgZYxk

        I was “watching” via the medium of Cricinfo live text. Started with a no-ball that Gilchrist hit for four and got worse. I actually grabbed a screenshot of it, still there on my computer as “tuffey.jpg”, at the point where, at the seventh attempt, the first legal ball had been bowled! Which Gilchrist drove for a second four. On top of four previous no-balls (including the first one to go for four) and the subsequent two wides, this left the score at 14/0 after 0.1 overs and Cricinfo was displaying a run-rate of 84.00!

        What I didn’t take a screenshot of, unfortunately, was that the next ball was also a wide, at which point the RR crept up to 90.00 – you can see this crazy graphic at 5:06 on the youtube clip. The highest finite run-rate in ODI history?

    1. It seemed astonishing at the time. I don’t think Athers had many at all after 20 or 30 deliveries. They were different times though. The bats were, apparently, different and that.

      1. We worked with a James Anderson when James Anderson made his Lancashire debut. James Anderson was also into cricket so we kept really, really close tabs on him and then, before too long, he was playing for England and we carried on keeping really, really close tabs on him.

  6. My brother-in-law is a James Anderson. My Sister’s family firmly believe that Jimmy must be a cousin. I wonder if they’d still be thinking that if he hadn’t taken the best part of 600 test wickets? I’m sure Suave used to refer to him as Shithead Anderson, during the wide long hop part of Jimmy’s career.

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