No single cricketer has ever dominated the battles between Australia and England in one decade as Ian Terence Botham did during the 1980s. In 27 Ashes tests he played during the eighties starting from the 2nd test of the 1979-80 test series to the fifth test of the 1989 Ashes in England, Botham’s test figures read 1324 runs @ 30.79 , 104 wickets @ 30.27 and 45 catches @ 1.67. He also hit 4 hundreds and 4 fifties and had five 5-wkt hauls and a 10-wkt haul. His overall record during that decade (1st Jan 1980 to 31 Dec 1989) was even more stellar with 75 tests yielding 258 wkts @ 32.40 4051 runs @ 33.76 and 79 catches @ 1.05. He started the decade by top scoring with 27 in England’s 1st innings total of 123 and then returning with figures of 4 for 28 helping England to bowl the Aussies for 145 in the 2nd test of the 1979/80 series. In the next test at Melbourne he made a glorious 119* in the 2nd innings in another England loss.
He then single handedly won the test match for England against India at Bombay in the Jubilee Test with an unparalleled all round performance of hitting a century and taking 10 wickets in the same match. First he took 6 wickets 58 runs in India’s first innings total of 242, five of the victims coming via Bob Taylor’s record breaking effort behind the stumps. He then paired up with Bob Taylor again to add 171 runs for the 6th wicket after England were reeling at 58 for 5, though he has to thank India’s captain Gundappa Viswanath ’s generosity of calling back Bob Taylor after he was given out. Botham changed the whole complexion of the game as England gained a lead of 54 runs and when India batted again he took 7 for 48 making his match analysis 13 for 106 runs in addition to his century in England’s first innings. But that was not the last of test matches that he has lent his name to during the 80s.
Botham was appointed as captain of England after that 1980 Golden Jubilee test in India. But the burden of leading the side in addition to the absence of one of the shrewdest minds of English cricket, Mike Brearley whom Botham has replaced resulted in some lackluster performances from him. He led England against the mighty West Indies led by Clive Lloyd and did well enough as a captain by keeping the margins to 0-1 and 0-2 in two back to back test series losses. He also led England to a draw in the Centenary test at Lord’s against a strong Australian side, though he may have to thank the weather gods for that. But it was his performance in those matches which left a lot to be desired and made his critics looking for his head. He made just one half century in 17 innings of those ten tests and did not produce even a single 5-wkt haul in an innings. Many of his critics thought his days of glory were behind him and wanted Mike Brearley to lead the battered England side against the Aussies in 1981 Ashes. And when England lost the 1st test at Trent Bridge and in the second test at Lord’s Botham bagged a pair lasting just four balls at the crease and resigned from the captaincy, everyone thought it’s only a matter of when Botham would be dropped from the English team. But all that changed in the next test at Leeds as Botham’s brilliance resurfaced again with the appointment of Mike Brearley as the captain of the remaining four tests. With Botham producing an innings of a lifetime and Bob Willis doing the same while bowling, England won the test after being asked to follow-on in one of the most remarkable turnarounds the game has ever seen. That Botham’s test of 1981 Ashes transformed a whole nation into a euphoria that lingered for more than a quarter century till last year’s Ashes victory with Freddie Flintoff’s comparable deeds.
It was a decade of enthralling and entertaining cricket by both Aussies and England and by the end of the decade Australia built an all conquering team and regained the Ashes in 1989 in England with Alan Border becoming the first captain since Bill Woodfull in 1934 to have regained the Ashes in England.
Let us look at some trivia about the enthralling eighties in this edition of Ashes countdown quiz.
Ashes Countdown 8 Quiz: Enthralling Eighties.
Q61. In the centenary test played at Lord’s in 1980, the Australian vice Captain Kim Hughes became only the third cricketer achieve a certain feat. Three more players recorded the same feat in last 25 years. What is this rare feat and who else have registered this feat in test cricket.
Q62. Which cricketer who played in the 1980 centenary test later ended his life tragically by committing suicide?
Q63. Which well known name in test cricket has started and ended his test career during the 1981 Ashes?
Q64. During the sixth test match of the 1981 Ashes series, Dirk Welham of Australia hit a century on debut and became the second batsman in the history of test cricket to achieve two different records. He still remains as the last cricketer to have achieved both those records. Whose and what records did he emulate?
Q65. What unique distinction does English opener Graeme Fowler, who played his only Ashes tests during the 1982/83 series, hold in the history of cricket which he achieved while playing for Lancashire in 1982.
Q66. This English Cricketer had a more successful career in football playing for Manchester United and his only test appearance during the 1985 Ashes. Incidentally his son too made a single appearance in test cricket 16 year later. Name the father and son.
Q67. This Australian cricketer played his last test during the 1986/87 Ashes. He holds the distinction of being the first player to have batted as night watchman in both innings of a test match. He also headed the first class bowling averages for the Australian team when they toured England in 1993. Name him.
Q68. Which current member of the academy team for England was just one and half year old when his father was fined $500 for showing his anger at getting out in the Bicentenary Test match played at SCG in 1987/88 England’s trip to down under? Name his father and the reason why he was fined.
Q69. By claiming 41 wickets in the 1989 Ashes Australia’s Terry Alderman achieved a unique distinction. Shane Warne might want to emulate it when he takes on the Englishmen during this winter’s Ashes. What unique record does Terry Alderman holds in the test cricket history?
Q70. This Australian cricketer made his test debut during Australia’s 1989 Ashes campaign and his nephew is now one of the leading batsmen in Australia. Name the uncle and nephew.
This is the seventh of the 10 quizzes for the Ashes Countdown. Three winners will be selected at the end of the 10th quiz after tabulating all the results. The winners will be awarded exciting prizes courtesy of dreamcricket.com. In the event of a tie, we will have a tie-breaker among the top three positions.