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Ashes 1989 - The Worst Aussie Team Ever - Part Four

  • Ashes 1989 - The Worst Aussie Team Ever - Part Four



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England’s preparations for the series were thrown into confusion as both Ian Botham and Mike Gatting were injured.  Robin Smith and Kim Barnett came in as replacements.  Smith had performed well the previous summer against the West Indies and Barnett had made his debut in the final test of last summer against Sri Lanka.  Another debutant from that match, Phil Newport, was again in the side having taken eight wickets in that match and bowled well in Worcester’s win against the Aussies at the start of the tour.  Of the four new boys from that Sri Lanka game a third, Jack Russell also kept his place.  When it came to the final selection England decided to leave out off-spinner, John Emburey, believing the pitch wouldn’t turn.

Australia handed a test debut to Greg Campbell, who’d taken nine wickets in the previous two warm-up matches.  They also left out a spinner, preferring a four-man pace attack with Lawson winning his place back.  Taylor kept his place from their last series, against West Indies, and was to open with Marsh.  Alderman and Lawson were back in test action in England together for the first time since 1981, having played in the iconic Headingley Test.


FIRST TEST, England v Australia, Headingley, 8-13 June 1989


 Headingley was a venue the Australians had not won at since 1964 and England had lost their last three matches there.  David Gower and Allan Border lined up for the toss, Gower won and under cloudy skies decided to give the visitors first use of the pitch. 

 Marsh and Taylor opened up for Australia with De Freitas and Foster opening the bowling for the home side.  All four England seamers bowled too short and too wide and struggled to make an impression and the two Aussie batsmen made it through to lunch with barely a concern.

 LUNCH: Australia 44-0 (Marsh 16*, Taylor 25*)

 It wasn’t until the afternoon session that the first wicket fell when Marsh was first out as De Freitas got him lbw for 16, 44-1.  Boon was then caught behind by Russell of Foster for 9 and Australia were 57-2.  Border, another survivor from ‘that Headingley match’ then soon took control with Taylor.  Border was playing his 103rd test match, Taylor his 3rd.  Taylor reached his 50 just before tea, his first in his test career.


TEA: Australia 103-2 (Taylor 50*, Border 23*)

They put on 117 for the third wicket to make a mockery of the decision to put them in before De Freitas got his second wicket of the day, having Border caught by Foster for 66.  Dean Jones then joined Taylor and the two continued where Border had left off.  Taylor didn’t quite reach his century before the close but he’d laid the foundations for a decent total.  207-3 at the close of play may not have been the most exciting days entertainment but for the Australians it was an important statement of intent that they weren’t going to be blown away easily.  For England they had to wonder where the conditions had gone to deny them the wickets they were expecting

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY ONE): Australia 207-3 (Taylor 96*, Jones 10*)


England resumed hoping for better fortune than the day before but the tourists continued their tally.  Taylor soon had his debut century, off 256 balls with 10 fours.  He and Jones added a further 66 during the morning but then Foster made the breakthrough trapping Taylor lbw for a wonderful 136.  He’d batted six and a half hours and at 273-4 had put his side in a good position.  In came Steve Waugh, who was part of the Aussie squad beaten at home in the 1986/87 Ashes, and was still to convince some supporters he was worth his place with 91 his best from 26 matches.  Just before lunch Jones brought up his 50.

LUNCH: Australia 327-4 (Jones 56*, Waugh 28*)

After lunch Waugh was the more fluent as he reached his fifty off just 71 balls having hit 8 fours.  England were not sure where the next wicket was going to come from until Phil Newport finally got Jones to edge one to Russell for 79 and Australia’s 5th wicket had fallen with the score on 411.  Healy joined Waugh and they added 30 as Waugh passed his previous highest test score, 91 and finally reached his maiden test century.  It had been a brilliant innings with his ton coming off jut 124 balls, with 16 fours.  He’d passed 50 ten times in tests but never managed to convert to three figures and now he had.  But just as tea beckoned Healy was caught and bowled by Newport and the sixth wicket had fallen.

TEA: Australia 441-6 (Waugh 100*)

Merv Hughes joined Waugh, both of them survivors from the last Ashes series and the two had some fun in the evening session.  Hughes had scored his maiden test fifty in the final test against West Indies in Adelaide when he was unbeaten on 72.  He continued that form here too as he and Waugh produced a plethora of boundaries.  They hit 139 in the session to put Australia in a commanding position at the end of day two.  Waugh’s 150 came up from 196 balls, having hit 21 fours and Hughes reached his 50 off 77 balls, with 3 fours and 2 sixes.  Having come into the game as outsiders, they were now in a position they really shouldn’t lose from.

England’s attack had looked horribly similar, with all the bowlers pitching it too short and too wide.  Many of Waugh’s best shots came off the back foot as he looked as if he was given practice to try perfect the strokes.  The performance of Waugh and Hughes in the evening session just seemed to grind the home side into the dirt, as they increasing took the appearance of a bunch of players just praying for the end of their ordeal.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY TWO): Australia 580-6 (Waugh 174*, Hughes 63*)



 England took the field for the third successive day, wondering how long it would be before Border declared of whether they would take the decision out of his hands by finally bowling them out.  Hughes went early, caught behind by Russell off Foster, giving the Essex man his third wicket.  Amongst the carnage Foster had been the only bowler to seem able to stick to his task and the only one who went for less than three-an-over.  Border finally declared when the 600 was brought up.  Waugh was left unbeaten on 177 having faced 242 balls, hitting 24 fours.

AUSTRALIA: 601-7 dec (Waugh 177*, Taylor 136, Jones 79, Hughes 71, Border 66; Foster 3-109)

Gooch and Broad opened the batting for England with the formidable task of 402 needed to avoid the follow-on.  After hitting a couple of boundaries Gooch was then trapped lbw by Alderman for 13 with just 35 on the board.  It was the worst start for the home side with Gooch being crucial to any chance of matching Australia’s huge total. 

LUNCH: England 54-1 (Broad 25*, Barnett 9*)

(547 behind)

Broad and Barnett made progress in the afternoon but then Hughes knocked over Broad’s stumps and at 82-2 in came Allan Lamb.  Lamb and Barnett set about sensibly building the innings, with both dealing in plenty of boundaries.  Barnett had been fluent in the tour match prior to the Test and brought up his fifty off 78 balls with his seventh four.  He then passed his previous highest score for his country (66), and Lamb too brought up another fifty off 73 balls with 10 fours and they went into the tea break having set a good platform

TEA: England 189-2 (Barnett 77*, Lamb 53*)

(412 behind)

England were in positive mood during the final session of the day but Alderman was again the man to peg them back as Barnett went the way of Gooch, lbw for 80.  He and Lamb had put on 114 for the third wicket and this set Gower up to look to take the innings on.  The England captain batted for an hour adding 48 with Lamb before he was Lawson’s first victim of the series as Healy gratefully took his first Ashes catch.  Robin Smith showed some resistance towards the close with Lamb as there was still much work to do to avoid being put back in.  There was enough time for Lamb to pass his century, off 167 balls with 19 fours and he was providing a vital contribution.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY THREE): England 284-4 (Lamb 103*, Smith 16*)

(317 behind)



Australia had manoeuvred England to a position where they were unlikely to lose, and the pressure was now on the home side to see the game out for a draw.  For now Lamb England’s progress lay at the feet of Lamb and Smith and they needed to get a further 117 to avoid the follow-on.  It appeared the two were well aware of their responsibility as they added a further 39 to take their partnership to 80 and then Alderman made the breakthrough, having Lamb caught by Boon for 125.  He’d hit 24 fours off the 204 balls he faced and England were 323-5 still needing 77 for the follow-on target.  Pringle, in the absence of Botham was now the chief all-rounder in the team, but he went lbw to Campbell for 6.  It was Campbell’s first test wicket and in the context of the match, was an important one.  Phil Newport was next in with a highest score of 26 in tests, but he was prepared to hang about with Smith who brought up his own fifty off 95 balls with 6 fours.  The two added 50 by lunch and England were closer to having another bowl at the Aussies.

 LUNCH: England 388-6 (Smith 63*, Newport 21*)

(213 behind)

Having had twenty minutes to consider the state of the match, it was the Australians who came out rejuvenated as Alderman soon had Smith lbw for 66 with the addition of just four runs after the break.  Newport and Russell guided England passed the follow-on target but with so few wickets in hand they were always unlikely to eat into much of Australia’s lead.  Newport, De Freitas and Russell went fairly close to each other as Alderman ended up with 5-107 and Lawson 3-105.  Newport deserves credit for his spirited 36 but England’s failings were further up the batting order.


AUSTRALIA: 601-7 dec (Waugh 177*, Taylor 136, Jones 79, Hughes 71, Border 66; Foster 3-109)

ENGLAND: 430 (Lamb 125, Barnett 80, Smith 66; Alderman 5-107, Lawson 3-105)

Australia lead by 171

Australia batted again with a healthy 171 run lead and with over five sessions still to go in the game they had the chance to really turn the screw.  Of course if England could bowl them out cheaply then they had to hope they could still force a win.  When Foster had Marsh caught behind for another low score, England fans were upbeat with Australia 14-1.  Taylor and Boon got to tea with the lead over 200

TEA: Australia: 30-1 (Taylor 14*, Boon 7*)

Australia lead by 201

Taylor continued his first innings form and passed fifty for the second time in the match, off 93 balls hitting 6 fours.  Boon and Taylor added 83 for the second wicket before Taylor was caught by Broad off Pringle for 60.  Boon then fell lbw to De Freitas for 43 and Australia were 129-3 with a lead of 300.  England’s bowlers still hadn’t learned from their first innings misdemeanours and Australia were able to rattle along at more than four-an-over.  Border and Jones then set about really grinding England into the dirt and the determination both had was evidenced by Border’s refusal to take the umpires offer to go off for bad light.  In the end he had to concede when rain started to fall, but he was clearly not going to give an inch.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY FOUR): Australia 158-3 (Border 31*, Jones 12*)

Australia lead by 329


The final day of the match was all about how many Australia would set England to chase and whether England would have to bat for most of the day to try and get out with a draw.  Border and Jones continued in their vein from the night before, as they took their partnership to 101 before Border declared the innings closed.  He set England an unlikely 402 to win.  Border’s second fifty of the match came up off 72 balls, having hit 7 fours.  Jones hit a brisk 40 off 34 balls.

AUSTRALIA: 601-7 dec (Waugh 177*, Taylor 136, Jones 79, Hughes 71, Border 66; Foster 3-109)

ENGLAND: 430 (Lamb 125, Barnett 80, Smith 66; Alderman 5-107, Lawson 3-105)

AUSTRALIA: 230-3dec (Border 60*, Taylor 60)

England require 402 to win

Headingley had been the scene of many an Ashes drama and when Gooch and Broad went out to bat few believed they had any chance of getting anywhere near the target so they needed to be able to see out two and a half sessions to keep the series level.  Predictably, it was Alderman who struck first as he had Broad lbw for 7 with the score 17-1.  Gooch and Barnett saw England to lunch adding 49 and there was hope for the rest of the day, particularly as Barnett had rattled off 7 fours.

LUNCH: England 66-1 (Gooch 22*, Barnett 34*)

England require 336 to win

As happened the day before, Australia came out after a break the more determined and again it was Alderman who struck early.  He had Barnett caught by Taylor at slip for 34 and England were 67-2.  Lamb was unable to follow his first innings performance as Alderman grabbed his third wicket when Boon caught him for 4.  77-3 chasing 402 is not ideal but Gower was able to stick around with Gooch and the two put on 57 for the fourth wicket, but then the captain was caught behind by Healy off Lawson for 34, just as he was the first time round and England were now 134-4.  Smith had battled hard in the first innings but this time he lasted three balls before Lawson had him caught by Border for no addition to the score.  Hughes then came on and had Gooch lbw for 68 and the writing was on the wall for the home side.  Gooch’s fifty had come up off 81 balls with 7 fours but with him gone it seemed only a matter of time, particularly with no Botham or Dilley in the side.  Pringle had helped add 19 for the sixth wicket with Gooch without contributing anything himself and he soon followed his partner when caught by Border off Alderman for 0.  153-7.  The tea break came giving England some shelter from the inevitable but you knew who was resting the more satisfied.

TEA: England 154-7 (Newport 1*, Russell 0*)

England require 247

Newport and Russell seemed to think the best option was to try and bat out the day but Hughes got the England keeper to edge to Healy with 166 on the board and then Newport soon followed him when Alderman picked up his fifth wicket of the innings and his tenth of the match.  De Freitas knocked up a quick 21 off 18 balls but when Hughes knocked over his stumps Australia had picked up an impressive, if not a little surprising, win by a massive margin of 210 runs.  With Taylor and Waugh putting in bids for Man of the Match, Terry Alderman gained the accolade for his ten wickets.

AUSTRALIA: 601-7 dec (Waugh 177*, Taylor 136, Jones 79, Hughes 71, Border 66; Foster 3-109)

ENGLAND: 430 (Lamb 125, Barnett 80, Smith 66; Alderman 5-107, Lawson 3-105)

AUSTRALIA: 230-3dec (Border 60*, Taylor 60)

ENGLAND: 191 (Gooch 68; Alderman 5-44, Hughes 3-36)

Australia won by 210 runs to lead series 1-0

MAN OF THE MATCH: Terry Alderman

Part Three - Build up to the First Test

Part Two - Texaco Trophy, One-Day International Series

Part One - Opening tour matches


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