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Thread: Greatest ever Ashes series?

  1. #31
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Couldn't have put it better myself.
    Plus the 1972 series.
    I'm interested to see the high regard that the 1972 series is held in some quarters. I won't repeat my previous comments about it, but I am surprised. Apart from the novelty of featuring possibly the oldest English sides ever to feature in an Ashes series and beginnings of what would become a very good Australian side, what's the appeal?

  2. #32
    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    I'm interested to see the high regard that the 1972 series is held in some quarters. I won't repeat my previous comments about it, but I am surprised. Apart from the novelty of featuring possibly the oldest English sides ever to feature in an Ashes series and beginnings of what would become a very good Australian side, what's the appeal?
    thats a good point...I dont think I have ever really read about that series as being a particularly outstanding one (the one highlight was probably Massies match) in terms of standard of cricket played...pretty much a case of a 60's throw back team vs an emerging power, but still far from its peak
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  3. #33
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy
    thats a good point...I dont think I have ever really read about that series as being a particularly outstanding one (the one highlight was probably Massies match) in terms of standard of cricket played...pretty much a case of a 60's throw back team vs an emerging power, but still far from its peak
    I suppose it raises the question of whether a series can be regarded as great just because the 2 sides are closely matched. I would argue not, and would go further that the 1974/5 series was probably better, depite being horribly onesided, because one of the sides was playing some genuinely world class cricket.

  4. #34
    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    I suppose it raises the question of whether a series can be regarded as great just because the 2 sides are closely matched. I would argue not, and would go further that the 1974/5 series was probably better, depite being horribly onesided, because one of the sides was playing some genuinely world class cricket.
    maybe....

    Its another reason why 81 was so good, both teams were good teams (despite maybe Chappell not touring) and the entertainment value was second to none (although in actual fact for huge passages of play in 81, the cricket was pretty lifeless, but everyone forgets those bits...hehehehe)


  5. #35
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy
    maybe....

    Its another reason why 81 was so good, both teams were good teams (despite maybe Chappell not touring) and the entertainment value was second to none (although in actual fact for huge passages of play in 81, the cricket was pretty lifeless, but everyone forgets those bits...hehehehe)
    Dead right about our selective memories - Lord's & The Oval anyone? Not to mention the first three days at Leeds. The thing about 1981, of course, was the dramatic swings in fortune and the heroic individual performances, even if most of them were by you-know-who. I'm not sure about the quality of the sides though. Aus had a good attack, but I thought their batting was pretty fragile. England, OTOH, looked good on paper, but most of the batsmen underperformed and some of the bowlers were a bit past it.

  6. #36
    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    Dead right about our selective memories - Lord's & The Oval anyone? Not to mention the first three days at Leeds. The thing about 1981, of course, was the dramatic swings in fortune and the heroic individual performances, even if most of them were by you-know-who. I'm not sure about the quality of the sides though. Aus had a good attack, but I thought their batting was pretty fragile. England, OTOH, looked good on paper, but most of the batsmen underperformed and some of the bowlers were a bit past it.
    actually yeah the batting was a bit fragile...apart from Border....and Hughes was pretty good as well.

  7. #37
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy
    actually yeah the batting was a bit fragile...apart from Border....and Hughes was pretty good as well.
    Poor old Kim Hughes - the captaincy was the ruin of what should have been a very fine test career, AFAICS. Who else was batting in 1981? Dyson, Trevor Chappell, Yallop, Wood, & Kent? Not a lot of quality there.

    Anyway, not that anyone asked, here's my 10 most memorable England vs Aus tests since I started watching the game in 1971.
    1. Massie's game at Lord's in 1972
    2. The first test in 1974/5 (Brisbane?), as it was the first sighting of Lillee & Thomson in full flight. IIRC, Greig made a superb hundred.
    3. The Centenary Test in 1977
    4. Leeds in 1977 - Boycott's 100th 100, great English bowling, Randall's fielding & England's first Ashes series win in England for over 20 years
    5. & 6. Leeds & Edgbaston in 1981. Obviously.
    7. The one we won by 3 runs in 1982/3, when Botham took the winning catch on the rebound from tavare after Border & Thomson had almost won it for Aus.
    8. Old Trafford in 1993, if only for the Gatting Ball.
    9. Edgbaston in 1997 - a quite delirious first session and unbelievably good batting by Hussain & Thorpe. Our only win in a live Ashes match since 1986/7.
    10. Old Trafford in 1997, if only out of respect for S. Waugh's twin tons on a spiteful pitch against a more than decent England attack. They won the game and effectively won the series too.

  8. #38
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    The 1972 series has many times been described as one of the most exciting ever, and that's what constitutes a good series for me, even if the sides weren't especially good (and let's face it - we don't know for certain whether they were just very good or average, because West Indies weren't too much better).
    Yes, Massie's sensational performance was the highlight, but the match at The Oval, Australia twice coming from behind to level, also featured some terrific cricket.
    As for our only live win since 1987... sorry, but a live Test for me constitutes whether the series can still be tied, not won, so The MCG 1998\99 was live as far as I'm concerned.
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  9. #39
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    Apart from the novelty of featuring possibly the oldest English sides ever to feature in an Ashes series and beginnings of what would become a very good Australian side, what's the appeal?
    That's something that really irks me - so what if the England side was pretty old? This one was still far older - oldest team ever fielded in any international sporting contest. The less well remembered abandoned-timeless-Test.
    England in 1972 might have been an old side but it certainly wasn't a bad one.

  10. #40
    International Coach archie mac's Avatar
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    The appeal to me are the players involved in the series, I remember reading the names of the 1902 English side, almost everyone a legend of the game.
    With Australia winning that series 2-1 it shows the quality of the Aussie team. Throw in Trumper scoring a Hundred on the 1st day of a Test, Jessop scoring one of the fastest pressure tons and two of the closest Ashes Tests and I think that would be the series I would visit if a had a time machine. Just after I picked up next weeks paper! (lottery results)

  11. #41
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    It was widely put about at the time (according to Simon Rae, at least) that the 'guilty men in English eyes were.... Jimmy Burke and Keith Slater, and the two fast men, Gordon Rorke and Ian Meckiff'.
    Fingleton called his book about the 1958/9 series 'Four Chukkas to Australia'

  12. #42
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    Anyway, not that anyone asked, here's my 10 most memorable England vs Aus tests since I started watching the game in 1971.
    Weren't the English wins in Australia in 1994/5 and 1998/9 better than the 1993 and 1997 Tests that you have listed ?

  13. #43
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid
    Poor old Kim Hughes - the captaincy was the ruin of what should have been a very fine test career, AFAICS. Who else was batting in 1981? Dyson, Trevor Chappell, Yallop, Wood, & Kent? Not a lot of quality there.

    Anyway, not that anyone asked, here's my 10 most memorable England vs Aus tests since I started watching the game in 1971.
    1. Massie's game at Lord's in 1972
    2. The first test in 1974/5 (Brisbane?), as it was the first sighting of Lillee & Thomson in full flight. IIRC, Greig made a superb hundred.
    3. The Centenary Test in 1977
    4. Leeds in 1977 - Boycott's 100th 100, great English bowling, Randall's fielding & England's first Ashes series win in England for over 20 years
    5. & 6. Leeds & Edgbaston in 1981. Obviously.
    7. The one we won by 3 runs in 1982/3, when Botham took the winning catch on the rebound from tavare after Border & Thomson had almost won it for Aus.
    8. Old Trafford in 1993, if only for the Gatting Ball.
    9. Edgbaston in 1997 - a quite delirious first session and unbelievably good batting by Hussain & Thorpe. Our only win in a live Ashes match since 1986/7.
    10. Old Trafford in 1997, if only out of respect for S. Waugh's twin tons on a spiteful pitch against a more than decent England attack. They won the game and effectively won the series too.
    what about england's wins in 2001 at headingley & the 12 run win at the MCG in1998 should be in that list mate

  14. #44
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    The 1972 series has many times been described as one of the most exciting ever, and that's what constitutes a good series for me, even if the sides weren't especially good (and let's face it - we don't know for certain whether they were just very good or average, because West Indies weren't too much better).
    Yes, Massie's sensational performance was the highlight, but the match at The Oval, Australia twice coming from behind to level, also featured some terrific cricket.
    As for our only live win since 1987... sorry, but a live Test for me constitutes whether the series can still be tied, not won, so The MCG 1998\99 was live as far as I'm concerned.
    Fair enough on your point about 1998/99, and in response to the other guys you can put that in my list instead of Old Trafford 1993 with my blessing.

    I'm just interested in who has actually described the 1972 series as one of the most exciting ever. It was OK, for the reasons you said, and I enjoyed it, but I don't think it's unreasonable to say that the standard wasn't great. The main issue with the age of England's side is there was plenty of evidence that they were in decline. They'd lost a series at home to India the previous year and got absolutely slaughtered at home to WI the following year, whose attack was not remotely as good as it would later become. An ageing side is OK if they deserve to be picked, but several of that side didn't.

    As for Aus, obviously in 1972 the backbone of what would become the great mid70's side was there, but their attack was not great. Massie, as you probably know, did nothing after that series, and beyond him we're looking at guys like David Colley partnering Lillee. In the first test, they even had Greg Chappell as first change, which tells us something.

  15. #45
    International Coach wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie
    what about england's wins in 2001 at headingley & the 12 run win at the MCG in1998 should be in that list mate
    I know this is subjective, but I find it hard to get excited about the 2001 win, as it owed so much to Gilchrist's generous declaration, and it was a dead rubber anyway. Don't get me wrong, Butcher's knock was great, but in a sense the win was artificial. Fair enough about 1998 though, which I would have included if I'd thought for a bit longer about the list.

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