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Classic Ashes clashes - 1956, Old Trafford

1956 - Fourth Test, Old Trafford
26, 27, 28, 30 & 31 July
England won by an innings & 170 runs

England's Jim Laker finished with amazing match figures of 19-90
England 459 all out
David Sheppard 113
Peter Richardson 104
Colin Cowdrey 80
Australia 84 all out
Jim Laker 9-37
Australia 205 all out
Colin McDonald 89
Jim Laker 10-53

England retained the Ashes with a bowling performance that is unlikely to ever be matched - let alone bettered.

Jim Laker finished the Test with astounding match figures of 19-90.

Centuries from Peter Richardson and David Sheppard helped England to a total of 459, before Laker set to work bamboozling the Australians.

The spinner took 9-37 as the visitors were skittled for 84, and when they followed on he claimed all 10 scalps to seal an innings and 170-run victory.

Peter May won a significant toss as by the end of the first day his side were 307-3, after deciding to bat, on a pitch that was already breaking up.

While the Australian spinners Richie Benaud and Ian Johnson were unable to exploit the conditions, Laker and Tony Lock made an immediate impact.

Lock claimed just the one wicket as Australia collapsed in the final session on the second day, during which Laker enjoyed a spell of seven wickets for eight runs in 22 balls.

Audio highlights from the 1956 Ashes series

After two days of poor weather during which only just over 100 minutes of play was possible, the prospects of a positive result were as bleak as the weather.

At lunch on the fifth day Australia were 112-2, but then the skies cleared and Laker made hay in the sun.

The off-spinner had given the toursits notice of his ability earlier in the summer when he took 10-88 against them in an innings for Surrey. He was set to improve on that analysis.

Australia put up more resistance than in their first innings, but as the pitch dried any hope of holding out for a draw receded as Laker captured wicket after wicket from the Stretford End.

The visitors eventually succumbed for 205 and Laker's remarkable control of length and spin not only gave him the best match figures in Tests, but also first-class cricket.

Equally amazing was the fact that Lock finished wicketless in the second innings with figures of 0-69 from 55 overs.

Did you know?
Laker was the first player to take all 10 wickets in a Test match innings. In the near half-century of cricket that has followed, only India's Anil Kumble has matched that feat, taking 10-74 against Pakistan in 1999.





see also
Ashes Legends XI
18 Sep 06 |  England

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