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Revisiting England's milestone Tests

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England_milestone_Tests_CricketAugust 1 was a momentous day in English cricket, as it marked the beginning of the national team’s 1000th Test match, against India at Edgbaston. Not too surprisingly, England have featured in a substantial 43.19% of all Tests played thus far, and even today, they consistently play more Test cricket compared to their fellow Test-playing teams. As the historic Test draws to a close, here is a look back in time at how England performed in each of their previous centenary milestone Tests.

100th Test - lost to Australia by 126 runs, Headingley, 1909

The five-match series was well poised at 1-1 coming into this third Test. Australia squandered a position of 100/2 to get bowled out for 188 but came back strongly to take a six-run lead, courtesy of a career-best 7/58 from slow left-armer Charles Macartney. Despite a haul of 6/63 from the great fast bowler Sydney Barnes, England were left chasing a tricky 214. The pace-spin duo of Albert Cotter (5/38) and Macartney (4/27) combined to bundle the hosts out for just 87.

200th Test - drew with New Zealand, Auckland, 1932-33

This Test, the second in a two-Test rubber, featured a new record for the highest individual Test score. New Zealand were brushed aside for 158 thanks to Bill Bowes’ 6/34, setting the stage for a Walter Hammond epic. Coming in at 56/1, Hammond hit 34 fours and a then-record ten sixes on his way to 336* out of England’s 548/7, to go past Don Bradman’s record of 334. It remains the fastest Test triple ton time-wise - Hammond took just 288 minutes to reach the mark.

300th Test - drew with India, The Oval, 1952

Reeling from a painful outing at Old Trafford, where they were bowled out twice in a day, India escaped a 4-0 clean sweep only because the third and fifth days were washed out. England declared at 326/6 after electing to bat, with captain Len Hutton (86) and David Sheppard (119) adding 143 for the first wicket. Pacers Alec Bedser (5/41) and Fred Trueman (5/48), India’s tormentors throughout the series, did the demolition job again as the visitors were skittled for 98.

400th Test - drew with India, Madras, 1963-64

This was the first of five draws that made for a dreary series. Wicketkeeper-opener Budhi Kunderan scored 192, and aided by Vijay Manjrekar (108), carried India to 457/7. England laboured to 317 in reply, and though Chandu Borde (5/88) was the pick of the bowlers, left-arm spinner Bapu Nadkarni returned the most economical Test figures of 32-27-5-0, including 21 consecutive maidens. England bowled better in the second innings, before ending at 241/5 in pursuit of 293.

500th Test - drew with Pakistan, Headingley, 1974

Pakistan began their fifth Test series in England with a rain-affected draw. Majid Khan (75) held the top order, before Sarfraz Nawaz (53) helped add 76 for the last two wickets, pushing the total to 285. England lost their last five wickets for 11 to concede a lead of 102 but fought back by bowling Pakistan out for 179 late on the third day. A tight finish was in store, as England ended the fourth day at 238/6, needing 44 more to win. Disappointingly, the last day fell victim to rain.  

600th Test - drew with Pakistan, Lahore, 1983-84

England required a win to square the three-Test series, but a rather ordinary display put paid to such hopes. They slumped to 83/5 against the pace of Sarfraz Nawaz (4/49) and the leg-spin of Abdul Qadir (5/84) on the first morning, before a sixth-wicket partnership of 120 between Graeme Fowler (58) and Vic Marks (74) staged a recovery, taking the total to 241. Fast bowler Neil Foster (5/67) inspired an energetic response with the ball, helping reduce Pakistan to 181/8.  

England frustratingly allowed Pakistan to reach 343, with captain Zaheer Abbas (82*) and Sarfraz (90) adding 161 for the ninth wicket. Skipper David Gower’s 173* formed the bulwark of England’s 344/9 in the second attempt, even as Qadir (5/110) took another fifer. Openers Mohsin Khan (104) and Shoaib Mohammad (80) put Pakistan’s chase of 243 on track with a stand of 173, but pacer Norman Cowans (5/42) ensured a draw, with the final score being 217/6.

700th Test - beat the West Indies by 208 runs, Bridgetown, 1993-94

Although the series was lost after defeats in the first three Tests, England’s win at the Kensington Oval was significant, as this was the first time since 1934-35 that the West Indies were beaten in a Test in Barbados. Captain Michael Atherton (85) and Alec Stewart (118), who was later named man of the match, provided England with the perfect start with an opening stand worth 171. The West Indies soon pegged things back, and England had to be content with 355.

Fast bowler Angus Fraser starred with a return of 8/75 to hand his team a lead of 51 (though it could have been much more, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 77 rescued the West Indies from 134/7). Stewart further imposed himself on the game with a masterly 143 that kept Courtney Walsh (5/94) at bay and steered England to 394/7. The target of 446 proved too much for the hosts, especially after the openers were removed by Andy Caddick (5/63) with 43 on the board.

800th Test - lost to Australia by 384 runs, Brisbane, 2002-03

From the moment Nasser Hussain elected to field in the Ashes opener at the ‘Gabbatoir’, England were akin to lambs to the slaughter against the Australian juggernaut. A second-wicket alliance of 272 between Matthew Hayden (197) and Ricky Ponting (123) laid the base for Australia’s match-winning total of 492. England, led by Marcus Trescothick’s 72, seemed to making a match of it at 268/3, but lost their last seven wickets for 57 to surrender a 167-run lead.

Hayden (103) added to England’s woes by rocketing to his second century, enabling a declaration at 296/5 before tea on the fourth day. Staring at a massive target of 464, England caved in abysmally. Only Mark Butcher (40) showed the stomach for a fight, as Glenn McGrath collected 4/36 to give himself 8/123 in the match. Shane Warne (3/29) completed the last rites to condemn England to 79 in just 28.2 overs, and this victory set the tone for a 4-1 series triumph.

900th Test - beat Pakistan by 354 runs, Trent Bridge, 2010

A dominant all-round show, spearheaded by James Anderson’s swing, gave England a crushing win inside four days in the first Test of the four-Test series. Paul Collingwood (82) and Eoin Morgan (130) propelled England to 354, after which Anderson (5/54) restricted Pakistan to 182. Matt Prior (102*) cemented England’s position on the third day, before Anderson (6/17) repeated the dose to the Pakistani batsmen, who collectively crumbled to be bowled out for 80.

 

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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