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banner Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Randall's Ashes exploits
Geoff Lawson appeals against Derek Randall in Perth in 1982
Derek Randall faces Australia in Perth in 1982
by BBC Sport Online's Mike Burnett

Usman Afzaal will be following in some famous footsteps if he makes his Test debut against Australia on Thursday.

Nottinghamshire batsmen have a habit of thriving against the old enemy.

Chris Broad and Tim Robinson were prolfic scores in the mid-1980s when England won and held the Ashes.

But none was better known to the Australians than Derek Randall.

Derek Randall
Nervous energy: Randall
Randall, who turned 50 in February, is still full of the same nervous energy for which he was famous.

His international Test career spanned the late 1970s and early 1980s when England were the dominant force in the Ashes.

Many will remember him for his epic performance in the Centenary Test in March 1977.

England, faced with the monumental task of chasing 453 to win, ended up only 45 short, thanks mainly to 174 from Randall.

His wish of playing in a Test at Trent Bridge was finally fulfilled in three months later in the Jubilee Test, but marked one of the rare occasions that Randall failed to shine.

He was run out for just 13 after Geoff Boycott had called for an impossible quick single.

Randall had his fair share of mix-ups with Boycott and openly admits it.

"The problem was that Boycott always thought he was right," joked Randall, now coaching at Bedford School.

Graham Thorpe
Thorpe is a big loss
Despite the confusion, the Jubilee Test ended happily with Randall hitting the winning runs, Boycott staying firmly at the crease and both going off the field arm in arm.

England were at a high ebb at the time, but Randall is aware that things have changed now as Nasser Hussain's side get ready to face Australia on Thursday.

"If they hang in there at the start, they have the grounding to win," he said.

"It'll be a really big blow losing Graham Thorpe, because they're really going to have to fight in batting."

But Randall is convinced that if England stay steady and "don't go hell for leather" they have a chance.

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