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  Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Heady days of English success
Mike Gatting (right) celebrates winning with his team
England's last series victory over Australia seems only a distant dream today.

It came 15 years ago, and in the intervening period England have failed to regain cricket's oldest trophy on seven occasions.

England travel Down Under in a better state than Mike Gatting's team did in 1986.

Gatting's men travelled having failed to win a match in 11 outings and the captain himself had not won a game at the helm of the national team.

But perversely his team had more hope of victory than Nasser Hussain's team do in 2002.

Their last series win had come over the auld enemy 18 months earlier and Australia were stuck in even more of a rut.

Allan Border's team started the series in the midst of a 10-match run without a win.

Although they broke that sequence with a win in the fifth and final match of the series in Sydney, by then any hope of Australia winning their first series in three years had passed them by.

Botham on the attack
England came out of the traps fast in the opening Test in Brisbane, despite their poor form in the warm-up matches, and it was Ian Botham who set the standard.

After a solid opening day of action that saw the visitors close at 198-2, Botham put Australia to the sword after two quick wickets early on the second day.

The English all-rounder bludgeoned the ball to all corners, peppering the Sir Gordon Chalk and Clem Jones stands en route to 138.

He hit Merv Hughes for 22 runs in one over alone, although the Australian had the last laugh, catching Botham on the boundary off a top-edged hook.

It had been more than 20 years since Australia had followed on at home in an Ashes Test, but Gatting had the luxury of asking Border to do just that when the hosts fell nine runs short of the target.

Graham Dilley's five wicket haul did much of the damage and when John Emburey matched his effort in the second innings, victory was just a matter of time.

Following the rarity of asking Australia to follow on, Gatting became the first English captain since Ray Illingworth to declare in Australia in the second Test.

Following centuries from Chris Broad, David Gower, Jack Richards and a 96 from Bill Athey, Gatting closed the innings on 592 for 8.

Largely due to Border's battling 125, Australia just crept past the follow-on target ensuring the match petered out to a draw.

The teams were deadlocked in Adelaide as well, although Australia finally showed some form.

David Boon reached three figures in a total of 514 for 5 before England made 455 in response, with centuries from Broad and Gatting.

At Melbourne Broad joined an exclusive club with his third successive Ashes ton.

Broad deservedly won the man of the series award
Only Jack Hobbs had achieved the feat in Australia in a quartet that also included Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond.

And after Botham and Gladstone Small had ripped through the Australian line-up with five wickets apiece, it was Broad who lay the foundations to England's response.

However, from 163 for 1 and 273 for 5, England's effort subsided to 349 all out to give Australia hope.

But the hosts capitualted in a similar manner when their turn at the crease came and they went down by an innings for the second time in the series.

Gatting's men had pulled off England's first three-day victory in Australia since 1901/02 and with it secured the Ashes.

Not even defeat in the last match in Sydney, which went down to the penultimate over, could dampen English celebrations.

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

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17 Oct 02 | Sports Talk
16 Oct 02 | Sports Talk
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