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Ashes 1989 - The Worst Aussie Team Ever - Part Twelve

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

FIFTH TEST, England v Australia, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 10-14 August 1989


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England’s bad luck with selection continued.  They had been unable to select the same XI for consecutive tests, poor form accepted, and so it continued as the news of the rebel tour to South Africa which broke at the end of the Old Trafford defeat, meant none of the players who’d played then were now available.  Therefore neither Gatting, Robinson, Emburey or Foster were selected.  Gooch was also told to go back to his county and find his form again, and so there were four changes from Old Trafford, with two new brand new faces.  The public clamour for change had been answered in a small way with debuts for Michael Atherton and Devon Malcolm.  Nottinghamshire’s Eddie Hemmings was chosen to play at his home ground and Yorkshire’s Martyn Moxon was given the job of replacing Gooch.  England had chosen Gladstone Small in their squad but he pulled out on the eve of the game.  His replacement, Greg Thomas, was preferred as twelfth man giving Malcolm his first appearance.  Nick Cook joined Eddie Hemmings as England went in with two spinners.  England were now up to 25 different players for the five Tests so far.

Australia were unchanged for the fourth successive match and had only used twelve players all series.  Border won the toss and it turned out to be important, possibly decisive as Marsh and Taylor simply filled their boots and knocked off record after record.




The morning session saw the inexperienced pairing of Fraser and Malcolm take the new ball but to no avail and even Botham couldn’t produce any magic as the two Aussie openers seemed fairly comfortable, although Taylor was more fluent than his more experienced partner.

LUNCH: Australia: 88-0 (Marsh 27*, Taylor 41*)

During the afternoon Gower rotated his bowlers using both spinners, but again they couldn’t find a breakthrough.  Taylor brought up his fifty, the sixth time he passed that milestone in the series, off 108 balls with 4 fours.  Marsh then finally reached fifty for the first time in the series off 170 balls.  It had taken him over three hours but it was an important innings for him personally as he began the game as the only Aussie batsman with fewer than 200 runs to his name in the series.  Oddly enough, 89 was Australia’s best opening partnership at Trent Bridge before this game and that score was passed with ease.  At 136-0 this became the best opening partnership of the series and then at 170-0 they now had the best partnership of any wicket for Australia at Trent Bridge.

TEA: Australia: 192-0 (Marsh 76*, Taylor 86*)

When the pair passed 201 they now had the highest opening partnership for Australia in England and they just went on and on.  Taylor was first to reach triple figures after four hours and twenty four minutes.  It was his second ton of the series and came off 220 balls with 8 fours.  Marsh then reached his century off 269 balls having hit 12 fours and it took him ten minutes short of five hours.  It was his first test century since Brisbane against England in 1986/87 (22 Tests).  Marsh then passed his highest test score of 118.  Taylor then passed his highest test score of 136, which he scored at Headingley in the First Test.  At 244-0 they now had the highest partnership for any wicket for Australia in England and they brought up the 300 just before the end.  What debutants Malcolm and Atherton made of test cricket was uncertain but they can’t have enjoyed chasing a ball for no reward all day.  Marsh and Taylor had become the first pair to bat through a full day’s play in a Test match in England, and only the ninth in Test cricket anywhere.  They were the third opening pair to bat through the first day of a Test match, the others being Mankad & Roy for India v New Zealand in 1955-56 and Lawry & Simpson for Australia v West Indies in 1964-65.

CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY ONE): Australia: 301-0 (Marsh 125*, Taylor 141*)



Marsh scored most of the runs on the second morning but Taylor reached his 150 off 343 balls having hit 18 fours.  Then at twelve minutes past twelve it was all over.  Nick Cook tempted Marsh to edge him to Botham and he was out for 138.  He had batted for just over seven hours facing 382 balls, hitting 15 fours.  The opening partnership had been 329 and was the highest partnership in a Test at Trent Bridge.

If England had ambitions of getting through the batting line-up they were disappointed as Boon came in and looked equally immovable.

LUNCH: Australia: 365-1 (Taylor 178*, Boon 9*)

After lunch Taylor then passed his previous highest first-class score, 186, and the punishment just went on and on.  He reached his double century off 430 balls, with 21 fours and he’d spent eight and a half hours at the crease.  The four hundred came up, still with the loss of one wicket, and England just wished the whole ordeal to end.  They weren’t bowling that bad either.  Malcolm caused problems at times with his pace and bounce, Cook and Hemmings managed to wrestle some control of the scoring rate, they just couldn’t find another breakthrough.  Then as tea approached Taylor was out stumped by Russell off Cook for 219.  He’d batted for just over nine hours (554 minutes), facing 461 balls hitting 23 fours.  Taylor had now taken his aggregate runs for the series to 720, not bad for his first Ashes.  Only three Australian individual totals have been higher and all of them set by one D.G. Bradman.  Australia were 430-2 and in complete control over their opponents.  Boon then reached his half-century off 170 balls with 6 fours.

TEA: Australia: 440-2 (Boon 50*, Border 11*)

Boon and Border continued to plunder the attack into the second evening.  Border had never lost the feeling of humiliation last time he was in England and was determined to rub the hosts noses in, which was certainly the beginning of the ‘mental disintegration’ methods so willingly adopted by Taylor and Waugh after him.  Boon was next out just after they’d brought up the five hundred.  He went the same way as Taylor, stumped Russell off Nick Cook to give the Northants spinner all three wickets to fall.  Boon was out for 73, his fourth half-century of the series.  He’d faced 183 balls, hitting 7 fours.  He had put on 72 with Border for the third wicket and the partnerships were now 329, 101 and 72. 

Dean Jones put on 41 with Border for the fourth wicket but he then fell to a catch by Gower off Fraser for 22.  Remarkably, the one man you’d expect to get a hatful of runs during this massacre, Steve Waugh, failed to add anything to the total.  He lasted eight balls before Gower caught him too off Malcolm to give the Derbyshire paceman his debut Test wicket.  But Border still refused to declare.


CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY TWO): Australia: 560-5 (Border 46*, Healy 5*)



Any hopes England might have in Border declaring overnight ended as he and Healy walked to the wicket on the Saturday.  Even when Fraser bowled the wicket-keeper early on, Border remained unmoved.  He passed his half-century off 121 balls with 6 fours, having batted over three hours.  It was his fourth half-century of the series and he seemed intent on scoring over six hundred.  Trevor Hohns was a willing partner, fresh from his unbelievable innings at Leicester, and when the landmark was reached Border finally handed the baton to the unexperienced England openers to try and follow their marathon.  602-6 had been scored off 206.3 overs at just under 3/over and had not been a belligerent innings rather an accumulating one but there was little doubt the best England could hope for was to come out of this with a draw.

AUSTRALIA: 602-6 dec (Taylor 219, Marsh 138, Boon 73, Border 65*; Cook 3-91)

England’s top three had just sixteen caps between them, Curtis (5), Moxon (10), Atherton(1) and this was a daunting prospect with the follow-on target being 403.  Moxon lasted three balls before Alderman had him caught by Waugh, and then the debutant, Atherton, was wrapped on the pad second ball and England were now 1-2 with Alderman getting both wickets in the first over.  Curtis was joined by Smith and somehow they tried to resurrect the innings.  Curtis managed to last twenty-six minutes before Alderman had him lbw for 2 and England were now 14-3.  Alderman now had twenty-five wickets in the series, fifteen of which were lbw decisions, outlining how close to the stumps he was able to get.  Gower and Smith were able to get to the relatively safety of lunch to try and lick their wounds and work out strategy for the afternoon.

LUNCH: England: 30-3 (Smith 13*, Gower 7*)

England trail by 572

Gower didn’t last long after lunch when he edged Lawson to Healy and England were now 37-4 and things just couldn’t get much worse.  At last as Russell headed to the crease England could at least dream of some order being restored as here was a batsman who’d proved himself willing to stick around and fight for his wicket.  He and Smith added 82 as the two managed to make the tourists work for the first time in the match.  Smith passed his fifty off 80 balls having hit 9 fours as he was ferocious in some of his strokeplay.  He was particularly aggressive against Hughes and for a short time England fans were able to cheer a point where their boys were on top, if only for an hour or so.

But as England were dreaming of only being four wickets down going into the tea interval, Australia mustered one extra effort and Lawson had Russell caught behind by Healy for 20.  The session may have been a good one for England but the start and end just made their predicament all the more precarious.

TEA: England: 130-5 (Smith 78*, Hemmings 5*)

England trail by 472

With the follow on target still a long way off Smith and Hemmings were a little cautious in the third evening but they managed to find batting a little easier.  They put on 53 for the sixth wicket and Smith reached an excellent century off 137 balls having hit 16 fours.  He was alone in negotiating a vibrant Aussie attack and fought fire with fire.  So when he was finally became Alderman’s fourth wicket it was a real blow, and possibly the ultimate one.  Smith was out for 101 having batted for 207 minutes facing 150 balls and thumping 16 fours.  It was his second ton in successive tests and his last four scores in the series were 101, 1, 143 and 96 and he stood out as a beacon above the general banal batting England had served up.

Hemmings was batting well, synonymous of his innings at Sydney in 1983 when he scored 95 coming in as a nighwatchman.  But Alderman ended any plans he had of another half-century when he knocked over his stumps when Hemmings was on 38.  He’d batted for 102 minutes hitting 5 fours off 83 balls.  England were 214-7 and still 388 behind.  He and Fraser had added 42 for the seventh wicket and these were small victories in an increasingly desperate attempt to get something out of the game. 

During Australia’s innings Botham had dislocated a finger when going for a sharp catch at slip and he couldn’t bat until he came in at number nine.  He had already been told he wouldn’t be able to make the final Test, which would mean yet more changes for the home side.  Botham was virtually batting one handed but bravely continued for almost an hour.  At the time England may well have hoped for Botham to make it to the close of play and perhaps be in better shape by the morning.  But little was going right since the first morning and when Hohns bowled Fraser for 29 and then had Botham caught by Waugh for 12, England were almost down and out.  It had been a miserable day for the hosts, punctuated with Smith’s wonderful knock and all eyes were focussed on the weather in the vein hope a draw could be salvaged.


CLOSE OF PLAY (DAY THREE): England: 246-9 (Cook 1*, Malcolm 1*)

England trail by 356 runs



The day began brightly with Malcolm walloping a six but Hughes put him in his place and the innings was over with England still a long way adrift and with much to do.

AUSTRALIA: 602-6 dec (Taylor 219, Marsh 138, Boon 73, Border 65*; Cook 3-91)

ENGLAND: 255 (Smith 101, Hemmings 38; Alderman 5-69, Hohns 2-48)

Australia lead by 347 runs

Border had no hesitation in inviting his counterpart to bat again and this time round Gower took it upon himself to open with Curtis.  In the First Innings England didn’t make it past the first over before losing their first wicket.  Second time round they at least made it to the second over before Lawson bowled Gower for 5.  After his personal success at Lord’s, the England captain had had a miserable run scoring 74 runs in five innings.  Curtis lasted ten balls before he became Alderman’s sixteenth lbw victim of the series for 6.  Curtis had now scored just eight runs from his last three innings and it looked increasingly as if Test cricket may not be for him.

England were now 13-2, a mild improvement on 1-2 the day before but nonetheless still painful.  Smith was at the crease again and English hopes again rested in his square cuts.  He and Atherton fought well and added 54 before Smith was castled by Hughes for 26.  It was a great disappointment he couldn’t replicate his first innings performance but England were soon learning nothing was going right for them during this match, and indeed series.

LUNCH: England: 77-3 (Atherton 30*, Moxon 2*)

England trail by 270 runs

Atherton continued after the break batting with great determination, which was impressive for a man in his first test match and under such pressure.  Moxon stayed with him for almost an hour and a quarter before Alderman bowled him for 18.  Unfortunately, Russell couldn’t hang around like he’d been able to through much of the series  and he went the same way of his skipper when bowled by Lawson for 1.  Atherton had fended off the Aussies for almost three hours when he finally succumbed just short of a well-earned half-century.  Hohns had him caught and bowled for 47, having faced 127 deliveries and scoring just 3 fours.  England were now 120-6 and the end looked nigh.  Fraser was another unable to replicate his first innings exploits and he fell to Hohns for 1.  England were 134-7 and still needed 240 runs to make their opponents bat again.  But Hemmings was able to match his first innings knock as he decided to enjoy himself.

TEA: England: 160-7 (Hemmings 35*, Cook 6*)

England trail by 214 runs

Hemmings had enjoyed himself in the afternoon but as seemed to be the story with this test, every time an England player looked to get ahead of themselves, an Aussie would come along and stamp on his toys.  Hughes had Hemmings lbw for 35 soon after the tea interval and with Botham unable to bat a second time, Malcolm was all that stood between Australia and an innings win.  Hughes took his wicket as well and England were all out for a paltry 167 in 55 overs and three balls.  They had managed to bat for a little more than 130 overs in the match, 76 fewer than Australia had in one innings.  Australia had now been able to win four tests in England for the first time since Bradman’s Invincibles of 1948.  They had won by an innings and 180 runs which was England’s heaviest defeat at home to Australia.  There was little argument in Mark Taylor earning the Man of the Match award for a truly magnificent innings.

AUSTRALIA: 602-6 dec (Taylor 219, Marsh 138, Boon 73, Border 65*; Cook 3-91)

ENGLAND: 255 (Smith 101, Hemmings 38; Alderman 5-69, Hohns 2-48)

ENGLAND: 167 (Atherton 47, Hemmings 35; Hughes 3-46, Hohns 2-29)

AUSTRALIA won by an innings and 180 runs

Australia lead by 4-0



Previous Episodes

Part Eleven - Tour matches v Notts & Leics

Part Ten - Fourth Test

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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