BRISBANE, Australia: The Ashes series, which gets underway in Brisbane on Thursday, represents the latest chapter in Test cricket’s oldest rivalry.
After more than a century of Anglo-Australian encounters, AFP Sport looks back at five of the biggest flashpoints:
England captain Douglas Jardine’s tactics of instructing his fast bowlers, led by Harold Larwood, to aim at batsmen’s bodies — in a bid to curb run-machine Donald Bradman — provoked fury in Australia as the tourists regained the Ashes.
The controversy reached a peak during the third Test at the Adelaide Oval when Australia captain Bill Woodfull was struck a blow on the heart while batting.
After he was out, England team manager Pelham Warner passed on his sympathy only for Woodfull to cut him short by saying: “There are two teams out there. One is playing cricket and the other is not.”
1958-1959: Throwing row
England suffered a 4-1 defeat in a five-match series in Australia dogged by controversy over the legitimacy of home paceman Ian Meckiff’s action.
Many within the England camp, and some former Australia cricketers, were convinced that Meckiff, who took 17 wickets at just over 17 apiece, ‘threw’ — regarded as a major cricket offence — rather than bowled the ball with a straight arm. Doubts about his action eventually ended his career, after he was no-balled for throwing in a Test against South Africa in 1963.
1970-1971: England walk-off
The final Test of the series in Sydney saw England fast bowler John Snow hit Australia tailender Terry Jenner on the head with a rising delivery, prompting a warning from umpire Lou Rowan. When Snow returned to his fielding position at fine leg, a drunk spectator reached over to grab him and beer cans and bottles then rained down on the England spearhead.
England captain Ray Illingworth, concerned for the safety of his players, led his team off the field.
As the debris was being cleared, Rowan warned England they risked forfeiting the match if they did not return.
They did head back, with England going on to complete a 62-run victory to win the Ashes 2-0.
1981: Lillee, Marsh bet on England
England were on the brink of going 2-0 down after being made to follow-on in the third Test at Headingley with former England wicket-keeper Godfrey Evans, setting the odds for bookmakers Ladbrokes, making them 500/1 rank outsiders at that stage.
With concerns over match-fixing not as prevalent then as now, the odds were too tempting for Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee.
“I had never seen such ludicrous odds offered for a two-horse race,” Lillee, who laid a bet along with team-mate Rodney Marsh via the driver of the Australia team’s coach, recalled years later.
But a stunning second-innings hundred by Ian Botham, and eight wickets from fast bowler Bob Willis saw England complete a remarkable win.
It was the first of several superb individual displays from Botham that inspired England to a series victory.
2013: Broad refuses to walk
Stuart Broad was on 37 not out in England’s second innings during the first Test at Trent Bridge when he edged left-arm spinner Ashton Agar via wicket-keeper Brad Haddin’s glove to Michael Clarke at slip.
However, he was given not out by umpire Aleem Dar and Broad brazenly refused to ‘walk’, or give himself out. The tourists were incensed.
Broad went on to make 65, and they turned out to be valuable extra runs as England won by just 14.—AFP