The Ashes 2019 – Fourth Test: Australia’s United Old Trafford Test XI

Even with the break, this Test has crept up on your humble correspondent. So apologies for the abridgedness (in Nottingham that would be atrentbridgedness) as we tear through the Australian post-World War I men’s Test XI in Manchester (England, England, across the Atlantic Sea – from Darrell Hair: the musical).

 

Well, here ‘tis:

 

 

Bats

Who better to open the batting than the redoubtable Bob Simpson and Bill Lawry? Simpson’s triple came across the first two and a bit days of the drawn 1964 Test and included a 201 run opening stand with Lawry (106). Between them Simpson and Lawry faced 1056 balls in Australia’s first innings. Not surprisingly there was no chance of a result after England replied to Australia’s 8/656 with 611.

 

Lawry’s qualification came three years earlier in Australia’s 54 run win. A fighting first innings 74 bolstered a meagre Australian total of 190 to which England took a 177 run lead. In the second innings Lawry and Simpson erased most of that lead with a 113 run partnership, Lawry falling soon after his century with Australia 33 runs ahead. Substantial contributions by O’Neill (67) and Davidson (77*) helped Australia build a 255 run lead which Richie Benaud (6/70) impressively defended after England was at one stage 1/150.

 

Coming in at three is 1934’s Stan McCabe – there should be more cricketers named Stan (and fewer streaming services). McCabe’s first innings 137 helped Australia to post 491 in response to England’s 9/627. Someone had to pick up the slack after Bradman was dismissed for 30… ok, ok, McCabe was dismissed before Bradman came in but you know what I mean. Unsurprisingly the match petered out into a draw.

 

Coming in at four, a captain’s knock from Michael Clarke in 2013. Sure he believes life should be your greatest century but 187 is also pretty good. Australia’s first innings 7/527 built the platform for this match, including a double century partnership between Clarke and Smith (89). Of course, the weather denied Australia a chance at pushing for victory on the last day, with only 20 overs managed as Australia had England 3/37, chasing 332.

 

Anyone would think this Waugh chap liked playing in England, his twin centuries guiding Australia to a 268 run victory in 1997 (perhaps all of his centuries were twin centuries). Coming in at 3/42 in the first innings, Waugh’s 108 was the only score of note in Australia’s 235 – a 70 run partnership with Paul Reiffel (31) providing a defendable total. After Warne (6/48) and McGrath (3/40) knocked England over for 162, Waugh (coming in at 3/39 this time) added valuable runs with brother Mark (55), Ian Healy (47), Warne (53) and Reiffel again (45) as Australia built a commanding 468 run lead which they comfortably defended.

 

Do you get the feeling Old Trafford was a bit of a flat deck in the 1960s? Coming in at six is 1968 Doug Walters with a pair of eight… ies in Australia’s 159 run win. Walters put on 144 runs with Paul Sheahan (88) on their way to 357. Cowper (4/48) and McKenzie (3/33) then made a mess of England as they fell for 165. Walters was then more watchful in the second innings as Australia struggled to build on that substantial lead. His 189 ball 86 took the innings score from 24 to 211 and a sufficient lead for a win.

 

Keeper

Yeah, I know we’re using batting again to pick a keeper but it would be unfair not to select Ian Healy for his superb undefeated maiden Test century in 1993. Working with a 79 run first innings lead, Healy came in when that lead was already 331 and time was of the essence. His century came in just 133 balls as he compiled an unbeaten 180 run partnership with Steve Waugh (78*). Hughes (4/92) and Warne (4/86) then knocked England off with 179 runs to spare, although England’s second dig is probably better remembered for Gooch given out handled ball when on 133 (always thought Steve Smith should come under scrutiny for this).

 

Balls

Plenty of back-up bowling options in this team with Simpson, Clarke, Waugh and Walters, but the first picked bowler is Shane Warne with 9/111 in 1997 (Hugh Trumble in 1902 is the only Australian man to have taken 10 wickets in a Test at Old Trafford). Warne dismantled England’s middle order in their first innings, dismissing Stewart, Hussain, Thorpe and Crawley (England going from 1/74 to 6/111). This proved the decisive action of the Test.

 

About time we had a player from 1989 as Geoff Lawson runs in with 9/153 in Australia’s nine wicket win. Henry had the ball talking stumpwards in England’s first innings 260 with two bowled and three LBWs from his six wickets. Australia’s first innings 447 (highest score SR Waugh’s 92) gave the bowlers almost enough to knock it over by an innings – Jack Russell’s 128* the only thing forcing Australia to bat again.

 

Yes, I think we shall have Terry Alderman’s 1981 9/197 next. Although it was in a 103 run defeat Alderman did his best to keep Australia in the game but their first innings 130 had them on the back foot. This was further exacerbated by Ian Botham’s second innings 118, coming in with England at 5/104 and taking the game entirely away from the visitors.

 

About bloody time DK Lillee made a side, with his 8/106 in 1972. Sadly another loss for Australia after a first innings failure (making 142 in response to England’s 249). Lillee was at his demonic best to bring Australia back into the fight, running through England’s second innings middle and lower order, taking them from 4/182 to 234 all out. Unfortunately only Rod Marsh (91) and John Gleeson (30) with a 104 run partnership put up enough of a fight as Australia fell 89 runs short at 252.

 

So, there it is, Australia’s Old Trafford Test XI. A first innings of 9/933 followed by 5/526 while taking 35 English wickets for 628 should be sufficient to wrap up the Ashes. Make it so!

 

Enjoy your cricket!

 

 

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About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"

Comments

  1. Love these,Dave ( personally amazed more so called cricket nuts don’t click on face book ) glad to see.KD Walters in the side v good point re the back up bowlers available.Will be interesting to see how many grounds,Steve Smith has covered when he retires

  2. Peter Crossing says

    Dave, thanks for your interesting compilations of teams from best Ashes performances. While it does not fall within your criteria, the Victor Trumper century before lunch on the first morning of the Old Trafford Test in 1902 must stand as one of the great Test innings. The first pre-lunch century on the first day of a Test match. At lunch Trumper had made 103* of 173 in 105 mins on a damp wicket. He was out for 104, shortly after play re-commenced.
    Neville Cardus, who saw the innings as a 12 year old later wrote in his autobiography, “His cricket burns in my memory with the glow and fiery hazard of the actual occurrence … his swift and apparent daring, the audacity of his prancing footwork were governed by a technique of rare accuracy and range”.
    I am not sure that Cardus would have said the same of Bob Simpson’s compilation of 311 in 743 mins on a flat deck.
    I saw much of the Steve Waugh’s first innings century while drinking a port or two in the front bar of the Transcontinental Hotel, Quorn, first stop-over on an outback camping odyssey. It was a memorable occasion for several reasons. Earlier in the evening Slim Dusty’s “Lights on the Hill” was belted out from the jukebox at volume and seemingly the whole bar clientele joined in. Then there was the Waugh innings and the characteristic, cavalier, smashing square drives. I was glad for the port. The next morning when I awoke there was a fair dusting of frost on the swag.

  3. Dave, absolutely loved reading this – what memories it brought back. Wish Doctor Who was real so I could hitch a ride in the TARDIS to see Trumper’s fantastic innings. Keep up the good work.

  4. PS While I/m at it , a slight detour to ’32 to witness McCabe’s fabulous innings was also be in order.

  5. DB- in my mind at least I. Healy has possibly suffered because A. Gilchrist and his pyrotechnics followed him in the Test arena, and then in the later part of his commentating career when he was dogged by his own boorishness and a certain laziness; so it’s good to see him here and be reminded that he was an excellent glovesman and a more than competent bat. Thanks for this latest entry, Dave.

  6. Thanks for the read and comments, folks. What a difference a day makes, hey? Steve Smith has now comfortably replaced Doug Walters in the middle order, leaving McCabe as the only top order batsman not to have captained Australia.

    Thanks for that Peter, Cardus was a superb writer at a time when prose could tend towards the turgid. Quorn is certainly a singular town.

    McCabe suffers from the company he kept, Fisho, but I would happily also watch his batting in the Bodyline series, aggressively hooking the short stuff sent in his direction.

    Agreed Mickey, I was a great fan of Healy’s batting because you could see how hard he worked. I have clear memories of watching this century, willing him on while doing my Year 12 studies.

  7. Mark Duffett says

    Yes to more cricketers named Stan. Also statisticians.

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