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Ashes 1989 - The Worst Aussie Team Ever - Part Ten

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

FOURTH TEST, England v Australia, Old Trafford, Manchester, 27 July-1 August 1989


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England’s selection for this test was a little less fraught than it had been at Edgbaston.  Foster was back and the home side were thrilled with Fraser’s debut performance at Edgbaston.  They decided on two spinners with Nick Cook coming back into the team.  Now at Northants, he last appeared in an England shirt on the Pakistan tour in late 1987.  They also chose to bolster the batting with the return of Tim Robinson to bat at three.  Robinson had played 28 times for his county and was part of the victorious Ashes side in 1985 and he was making only his second test match in the last eighteen months.  This meant both Tavare and Barnett were dropped.  Australia were again unchanged.

Gooch and Curtis again opened for England, and once again the Worcester opener outscored his more illustrious partner.  Gooch was first out, bowled by Lawson, who was now in fine form.  Fifteen minutes later he had his second wicket as Robinson went without scoring on his return to the side.  Gower had won the toss and decided to bat, but whether losing two wickets on the first morning justified this was a matter for debate, but Curtis and Smith negotiated their way to lunch.


LUNCH: England: 48-2 (Curtis 22*, Smith 15*)

Lawson took his third wicket soon after the break when he bowled Curtis for 22.  Smith and Gower then set about building the innings as they added 75 for the fourth wicket as Gower played some typically attractive shots and Smith was at his powerful best.  Smith reached fifty after two hours off 105 balls having hit 6 fours.  Then Gower  was wrapped on the pad by Hohns and was out for 35.  Botham lasted six balls and was then bowled by the same bowler for a duck.  Smith and Gower had put in a lot of hard work and just as the tea break was looming, they suddenly lost two quick wickets to hand the advantage back to the tourists.

TEA: England: 146-5 (Smith 77*, Russell 1*)

Lawson began after the break and soon got his fourth wicket of the innings when he had Russell lbw for 1 and suddenly England were 147-6 and all Smith’s good work looked to be for nothing.  Emburey batted over half an hour with Smith as the scoring dried up and then Hohns took his third wicket when he had Emburey lbw.  Having chosen to bat, 158-7 was not the ideal position but this lead to some decent assistance for Smith as Foster batted with assurance. 

He allowed Smith to reach a fine hundred, his first Test century, off 204 balls with 11 fours.  It had been coming all summer and it was with some relief that he finally achieved the landmark.  The two had taken their partnership to 66 by the close and things looked much better than they might have been an hour or so earlier.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY ONE): England 224-7 (Smith 112*, Foster 36*)


It wasn’t long into the second day before Geoff Lawson claimed his fifth wicket of the innings.  He found the edge of Foster’s bat and the number nine was out for 39, equalling his highest test score.  He’d batted for 100 minutes, facing 68 balls hitting 4 fours and a six and had put on 74 with Smith.  Smith then decided to score as many as possible as quickly as possible before the innings ended.  Fraser was then Lawson sixth victim and his third leg before and then finally Smith succumbed to Hughes for 143.  He batted almost six hours, facing 285 balls hitting 15 fours.

ENGLAND: 260 (Smith 143, Foster 39; Lawson 6-72, Hohns 3-59)


Marsh and Taylor reached 32 before the lunch break as neither Foster or Fraser could find a breakthrough.

LUNCH: Australia 32-0 (Marsh 17*, Taylor 17*)

After lunch all the problems England appeared to have yesterday were not in evidence when Australia batted as Taylor and Marsh looked to enjoy themselves.  Taylor reached fifty off 105 balls hitting 4 fours.  It was the fifth time in seven innings in this series he had reached such a milestone.  As the tea interval loomed large, Botham finally got Marsh to edge one to Russell for 47 and a wicket had been taken at last.

TEA: Australia: 137-1 (Taylor 83*, Boon 1*)

Australia trail by 123 runs

England began the evening session well as Emburey enticed Taylor down the wicket and Russell gleefully whipped off the bails when another century was in sight.  Taylor was out for 85 giving him over 450 runs in the series with potentially five more innings left.  When Boon was bowled by Fraser for 12, Australia had slumped to 154-3 and three wickets had fallen for 19 runs.  But Dean Jones came in and carried on from his form at Bristol in the tour match and outscored his captain.  By the close they’d added 65 taking them closer to a lead.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY TWO): Australia: 219-3 (Border 19*, Jones 49*)

Australia trail by 41 runs



Jones wasted no time on day three in reaching fifty.  He’d batted for 85 balls his 6 fours and a six and was scoring much more fluently than his skipper.  But Border got going this morning and the two took their partnership to 120 before Jones was bowled by Botham.  His 69 gave him 1,000 First Class runs for the tour and Australia were now in front with six first innings wickets remaining.  Border then passed fifty off 161 balls with 7 fours having batted for over three hours.

LUNCH: Australia: 293-4 (Border 54*, Waugh 13*)

Australia lead by 33 runs

Having been denied confirming the series win by the weather in Birmingham, Border appeared determined to ensure he took his time to build a lead here.  He was circumspect yesterday evening but took the opportunity this morning to get his team in front.  After lunch he returned to his circumspection as Waugh took up the cudgels of entertainment.  They only scored 58 runs in the afternoon session but England were being gradually warn down as well as being left behind.

TEA: Australia 351-4 (Border 77*, Waugh 46*)

Australia lead by 91 runs

England again began a session well when Foster got Border to edge behind to Russell for 80.  He’d batted for over five hours and 219 runs had been added whilst he was at the wicket and the lead was over a hundred.  Waugh and Border had added 88 for the fifth wicket and if it had come as a relief to the home team Foster then had Healy lbw next ball and he was on a hat-trick.  He didn’t get it but there was hope for the home side, albeit briefly.

Waugh then reached yet another fifty in this series, off 102 balls with 4 fours.  Hohns stuck around for just over an hour to allow Waugh to head towards another century.  Hohns then became Cook’s first wicket of the innings and then Hughes became his second ten minutes later.  Fraser finally drew Waugh into an error and he was caught by Curtis for 92.  He was now averaging 242.50 for the series and from a player who had a decent record, he was rapidly emerging as a really good player.  Of course he would go on to be great, but this was the series where he finally began to deliver the promise many thought he showed as a youngster.  Lawson and Alderman frustrated England further by hanging around for the twenty-odd minutes at the end of the day.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY THREE): Australia: 441-9 (Lawson 13*, Alderman 5*)

Australia lead by 181 runs



The innings was wrapped up for the addition of just six runs when Fraser picked up his third wicket of the innings, bowling Lawson for 17.  Australia’s lead was 187, and the pressure on England and their captain was huge.

ENGLAND: 260 (Smith 143, Foster 39; Lawson 6-72, Hohns 3-59)

AUSTRALIA: 447 (Waugh 92, Taylor 85, Border 80; Fraser 3-95, Botham 2-63)

Australia lead by 187 runs

Gooch and Curtis came out for the home side with a daunting task of trying to reduce the arrears.  The hope the home crowd had probably lasted all of five minutes when Alderman got Curtis to edge one to Boon for a duck, 10-1.  Robinson was on a pair and four years ago he and Gooch laid into the Aussie bowlers, but this time was a whole different prospect.  He avoided the dreaded pair but was hit on the pads by Lawson for 12.  Robinson’s return had seen him bat for just 47 minutes, 25-2.

The first innings century maker, Smith, the joined the fray but he was caught behind by Healy off Alderman for 1, and then next over Lawson grabbed the wicket of Gooch for 13.  The innings was fifty minutes old and England were now 28-4 and still trailing by 159 runs.  Botham then became Alderman’s twentieth victim of the series when lbw for 4 and England were in a deeper hole at 38-5.  The captain found Russell a determined ally as the lunch break just couldn’t come soon enough.

LUNCH: England: 53-5 (Gower 14*, Russell 6*)

England trail by 134 runs

Having had forty minutes to consider how to get out of this mess, England advanced just six runs before they were sinking further.  Lawson had Gower caught by Marsh for 15 and England were now 59-6.  The two ‘old stagers’ Alderman and Lawson almost had 100 wickets in First Class matches between them on the tour and were irresistible. 

TEA: England: 123-6 (Russell 47*, Emburey 23*)

Rain curtailed the day, which was probably just as well for England as they may have struggled to get through it otherwise.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY FOUR): England: 123-6 (Russell 47*, Emburey 23*)



England approached the day just hoping to hold off their opponents for as long as possible.  Remarkably, Russell and Emburey batted through the session.  Russell soon reached his fifty off 119 balls with 6 fours.  He’d batted two and a half hours and in each test had shown a dependency others struggled to make.  Emburey reached his fifty off 157 balls with 7 fours.  Their partnership was now 134 runs and England had at last taken the lead, but how big a lead they were likely to enjoy was a matter of concern.

LUNCH: England 193-6 (Russell 74*, Emburey 63*)

Emburey’s innings came to an end soon after the break as Alderman bowled him for 64.  Emburey had batted for just over three and a half hours, hitting 10 fours.  It was Alderman’s fourth wicket of the innings and his fiftieth of the tour.  He soon made it five wickets when he bowled Foster for 6.  Fraser stuck around with Russell who scored his maiden test century, off 260 balls hitting 11 fours.  He’d batted really well, deserved his accolade.  Fraser faced 32 balls for his 3 before Hohns had him caught by Marsh.  The innings ended when Cook was caught behind by Healy off Hughes for 5 and England only had a lead of 77.  Russell ended unbeaten on 123, having been at the crease for almost six hours.

TEA: ENGLAND: 260 (Smith 143, Foster 39; Lawson 6-72, Hohns 3-59)

AUSTRALIA: 447 (Waugh 92, Taylor 85, Border 80; Fraser 3-95, Botham 2-63)

ENGLAND: 264 (Russell 123*, Emburey 64; Alderman 5-66, Lawson 3-81)

Australia had two hours to confirm they’d won the Ashes back.  Taylor and Marsh had few problems putting on 62 before Emburey had Marsh caught by Robinson for 31.  Taylor ended unbeaten on 37 and he and Boon saw them to victory.  They’d been ahead all game and the hosts have provided little resistance.  3-0 up with two to play, yet there was no sign of any let-up.  Australia had lost the last two Ashes series but with their World Cup win in 1987 and now the Ashes, there was further hope this was a new dawn for Australian cricket.

ENGLAND: 260 (Smith 143, Foster 39; Lawson 6-72, Hohns 3-59)

AUSTRALIA: 447 (Waugh 92, Taylor 85, Border 80; Fraser 3-95, Botham 2-63)

ENGLAND: 264 (Russell 123*, Emburey 64; Alderman 5-66, Lawson 3-81)

AUSTRALIA: 81-1 (Taylor 37*, Marsh 31)


AUSTRALIA won by 9 wickets

MAN OF THE MATCH: Geoff Lawson

Australia lead 3-0



After the match the media was full of news of another rebel tour to South Africa.  Australia had just about recovered from the effect of theirs and now England were to experience another one.  Former captain, Mike Gatting was to lead the party with three of the players who’d played in the Fourth Test, Robinson, Emburey and Foster, signed up to go.  Dilley, who would’ve played had he not been injured, was also in and there were four others who’d played in the current series who were booked on the plane, Broad, Jarvis, De Freitas and Barnett.  Of the remaining seven, six were former internationals with David Graveney the only yet to be capped.  The tour was to take place between January and March 1990 and all players would effectively be banned from playing international cricket for England for the next seven years.

Previous Episodes

Part Nine - Four tour matches including Hants & Gloucs

Part Eight - Third Test

Part Seven - Tour matches v Universities & Glamorgan

Part Six - Second Test

Part Five - Tour matches v Lancs & Northants

Part Four - First Test

Part Three - Tour matches v Warwicks & Derbys

Part Two - Texaco Trophy One-Day International Series

Part One - Opening tour matches

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