BBC Home
Explore the BBC
| Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Classic Ashes matches
1981 - Third Test, Headingley
16, 17, 18, 20 & 21 July
England won by 18 runs

Ian Botham keeps the board ticking over at Headingley
Australia 401 for 9 dec.
John Dyson 102
Kim Hughes 89
Graham Yallop 58
Ian Botham 6 for 95
England 174 all out
Ian Botham 50
England 356 all out
Ian Botham 149*
Graham Dilley 56
Terry Alderman 6-135
Australia 111 all out
Bob Willis 8-43
Single Tests are often dubbed after players, but the 1981 series has gone down in history as "Botham's Ashes".

And the drama started at Headingley with the visitors on the verge of wrapping up an easy win to go 2-0 up.

Upped stepped Ian Botham with a gung-ho 149 to at least make Australia bat again, when an inspired Bob Willis swept through their line-up with 8-43.

It sealed a remarkable 18-run win and signalled an about turn in the series which England went on to win 3-1.

It was the second time in the history of Test cricket that the side following-on had won and England's unbelievable victory defied all logic.

Botham had just resigned the captaincy after a Lord's draw in which he registered his only Test pair. He was replaced at the helm by former skipper Mike Brearley.

Having won the toss, Australia chose to bat and carded 401-9 declared, with John Dyson constructing a diligent 102 and half-centuries coming from Kim Hughes and Graham Yallop.

Botham captured 6-95 and then scored a half-century in England's first innings, but it was the only respectable score and the hosts were invited to follow on.

While Australia were convinced of victory, despite some players betting on an England win at 500/1, Brearley's boys booked out of their hotel on Monday morning in the belief they would be beaten by the end of the day.

Dennis Lillee dismissal of Peter Willey saw him pass Hugh Trumble's Ashes record of 141 dismissals, and at 135-7 it looked as if England had lost the Test - and Lillee and Rod Marsh their money.

But then came the incredible turnaround.

Botham swung the bat, and with support from Graham Dilley, added 117 in 80 minutes. Another 67 came with Chris Old at the other end, and by the close of the day England had to find some hotel beds.

Botham and Willis added just five more runs the next morning to leave Australia a target of 130 to win, and at 56-1 they were firm favourites to do just that.

However, Willis changed ends, and bowling into the wind charged in like a man possessed to take 8-43, the best analysis of his career. Australia were undone - all out for 111.

Did you know?
It was the fourth time in Tests Ian Botham had taken five wickets in an innings and scored a century. He repeated the feat 18 months later in New Zealand to take his career tally to five. No other player has managed it more than twice.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION England wary of Taylor's return
Bell keen to keep opening role
Pietersen to get new England deal
Anderson puts England in control

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs | Headlines for your site


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport