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Classic Ashes clashes - 1882, The Oval

1882 - First Test, The Oval
28 & 29 August
Australia won by seven runs

Fred Spofforth
Australia 63 all out
Richard Barlow 5-19
England 101 all out
Fred Spofforth 7 for 46
Australia 122 all out
Hugh Massie 55
England 77 all out
Fred Spofforth 7 for 44

This result led to the famous obituary mourning the death of English cricket and heralded the start of the Ashes.

Australia recovered from a paltry first innings total of 63 to win their first Test in England by seven runs.

The legendary fast bowler Fred Spofforth was the architect of the victory, taking 14 wickets in the game.

"The Demon" took 7-46 in England's first innings and returned to haunt the hosts with a further seven scalps for 44 runs in the second innings.

Australia's poor effort on a sodden wicket in the first innings was the then lowest score in Test cricket.

But England were unable to capitalise in the face of the some sensational bowling from Spofforth, who remained unchanged for 36.3 overs, and pulled out an advantage of just 38 runs.

That was soon eclipsed in a first-wicket stand of 66 between Charles Bannerman and the heavy-hitting Hugh Massie, who finished with 55, the highest score of the match, having been dropped on 38.

But from 70-1 the wickets tumbled, with England's Edmund Peate starring as four middle-order dismissals took his match figures to 8-71.

It is said that Spofforth's match-winning performance was inspired by the sight of team-mate Samuel Jones being run out by WG Grace as he walked out of his crease to do some gardening.

Others stated he overheard some derogatory comments in the pavilion. Either way, whatever the cause, from 51-2 Spofforth ripped through the heart of the innings.

Grace put up the only real resistance with 32, and after the innings stagnated with 12 mid-innings maidens in a row, Australia pulled through in a tense finish.

The tension was such that one spectator was reported to have died of a heart attack, while another is said to have bitten through the handle of his umbrella.

Did you know?
England's defeat spurred them on to their longest spell of dominance. After drawing the next series, they won at home in 1884 and held on to the Ashes for seven series in total. That was superceded by Australia's present run of eight successive series wins from to 1989 to 2002/03.





see also
Ashes Legends XI
18 Sep 06 |  England

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