England against Australia, arguably the greatest rivalry in all of cricket is set to resume this month with a limited over series of 3 t20s and 3 ODIs.
This will be the first competitive series for the Aussies since March when their ODI series against New Zealand had to be quickly abandoned amidst the escalating coronavirus crisis.
The series played inside a “bio bubble” where players can’t use saliva or sweat to shine the ball and not have crowds to cheer them on will certainly be unique.
I certainly hope the stump mics remain up to hear the level of sledging between the two teams, which might be a welcome break from Barmy Army chanting.
Here is a look back at the five greatest ODIs between England and Australia.
5. MCG 1971
Australia 191/5 beat England 190 by five wickets
This match, which was the first ever One Day international, effectively happened by accident. The traditional MCG test match of 1970/71 was ruined by the notorious Melbourne weather and no play was possible for the first three days.
Instead, both sides decided to play a one-day match on what would have been day 5 of the test.
England batted first and the first player to ever bat in an ODI was none other than Geoffrey Boycott who managed a paltry 8 runs from 37 balls. This was typical of the man but far from the high octane scoring rates which are seen in today’s limited over matches.
England managed 190 from their 40 overs while Australia chased down the target with relative ease with more than 5 overs to spare. Ian Chappell top scored with 60 and was ably supported by Doug Walters with a quick fire 41.
4. SCG 2011
Australia 334/8 beat England 333/6 by two wickets
After a rare home ashes defeat, the Aussies really bounced back for the ODI series which followed. By the time the series reached its sixth ODI, England thought they finally would be finally able to chalk up a win. Michael Clarke’s team had other ideas.
England won the toss at the Sydney Cricket Ground, batted first and thanks to a magnificent 137 by Jonathan Trott amassed an imposing 333/6.
The Aussies in reply set about their task methodically, and thanks to some wayward bowling by Jimmy Anderson (1/91 from 10 overs) and perfectly timed acceleration by Clarke (82 from 70 balls) they reached their target with four balls to spare.
At the time, this was England’s highest total ever made in Australia and Australia’s highest total ever chased.
Amazing to think that in this match Steve Smith batted at number 8 and was run out for 0. How times change.
3. Lords 2005
Australia 196 tied with England 196/9
The first dramatically tied final at Lords was not in the 2019 world cup.
People forget that the incredible Ashes series was preceded by an equally amazing triangular one day series which saw Bangladesh beat the Aussies for the first time.
The final, held at Lords was a low scoring thriller with Australia batting first and continually losing wickets at inopportune moments. Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison were particularly impressive with the ball as Australia were bundled out for just 196.
In reply Australia will have felt their target was defendable when England were reduced to 33/5, but Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones hauled England out of the mire with a crucial 116 run partnership. Ashley Giles needed 3 off the final ball against Glenn McGrath to win the match, but only managed a couple as the match was tied and the trophy shared.
2. Eden Gardens 1987
Australia 253/5 beat England 246/8 by seven runs
One of the few England v Australia matches to be played at a neutral venue was the world cup final of 1987. The tournament hosted by India and Pakistan may have not had their team in the final but the crowd at Eden Gardens were under no illusions as to who to support that day. The Calcutta locals took up the anti-colonial cause and this match might as well have been played at the MCG.
The Australians, who started the tournament as rank outsiders chose to bat and Allan Border’s men posted a competitive 253 mainly thanks to a well made 75 from David Boon. In reply, England were cruising at 135/2 when captain Mike Gatting had a brain explosion, choosing to reverse sweep Border’s left arm orthodox. Gatting, not known for his high-risk play was unsuccessful and was caught behind by Greg Dyer, who seemed so surprised at the shot that he almost dropped it.
Their chase never recovered, and they fell seven runs short in the Calcutta dusk, with Australia winning their first of five world cups.
Spare a thought for Mike Gatting against Australia, on the receiving end of Shane Warne’s “ball of the century” at Old Trafford in 1993 and the catalyst for an English world cup failure.
1. Trent Bridge 2018
England 481/6 beat Australia 239 by 242 runs
Aussie fans look away right now.
On a cloudy afternoon in Nottingham England went about plundering the Australian bowling attack to all parts and only broke the world record while doing it. Centuries to Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales along with quick fire fifties to Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan had Australia on their knees, and for a while it was not beyond the realms of possibility that they would cross 500.
Australian coach Justin Langer described the loss as “a brutal shock” and said that his players could not have had a worse day. Australia, who were missing David Warner and Steve Smith due to ball tampering bans were never in the chase, eventually bowled out for 239.