Lord’s 1930: The Don’s perfect innings
Donald Bradman’s 254 was his finest, he wrote: “Practically without exception every ball went where it was intended to go, even the one from which I was dismissed, but the latter went slightly up in the air.” Anyone else putting that in their book would sound like a total tosser, but not The Don. Inside Edge mag voted it the best ever by an Aussie, too.
Headingly 2001: Butcher takes axe Aussies
It was no real surprise when stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist declared with a lead of 314 in the fourth Test – he’s an attacking sort of bloke. England lost a couple quick ones early and were two for 33. Right choice, right? Wrong. Unglamorous leftie Mark Butcher bunkered down and couldn’t care less that he was facing one of the finest attacks ever in Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. Butcher’s 173 not out got England home by six wickets. England home by six wickets. His unbeaten 173, containing 23 fours and one six, was one of the finest innings ever played against Waugh’s dominant side.
Old Trafford 1997: Tugga’s tonnes (1)
Former captain Steve Waugh had a flare for the dramatic, and his place down the order gave him a stage to be saviour often. Usually he played the part like Olivier. In 1997, the series was 1-1 and Australia struggling at five for 113 in the third Test. Enter Waugh and he compiles 108 to lead his side to a respectable enough given the circumstances 235. In the second innings, the top order failed again, but nursed the tail with his 116 before declaring on eight for 395 and winning the match by 268 runs.
The Oval 2001: Tugga’s tonnes (2)
Another of his classic was in 2001 when he tore his calf at Trent Bridge but still played at The Oval three weeks later. Clearly not fully fit, he still scored 157 not out. A notable mention for bringing up his hundred on day two of his final Ashes Test in Sydney, his home ground, in 2002/03
Waca, Perth 2006/07: Gilly explodes
Not a fun day for Monty Panesar when Adam Gilchrist was in a rude mood and smashed a 57 ball hundred, which included 24 of one of the England leg-arm spinner’s overs. This was how Gilly reacts when out of form, and the scary thing was he was taking it easy until 50 before he exploded.
The Oval 1902: Crushing Croucher
Gilly’s demolition job was still no match for Gilbert “The Croucher” Jessop though, who puts the keeper-batsman’s inning at second fastest in an Ashes Test. Croucher crushed 104 in 77 minutes to set up a victory for England. One commentator said he “wrecked the roofs of distant towns … when set in an assault”.
Trent Bridge 1938: Bradman’s favourite (not his own)
Bradman didn’t just love his own work, he was a fan of Stan McCabe, in particular his impressive 232. Apparently The Don ordered his men to watch the carnage. “Come and see this. Don’t miss a moment of it. You will never see its like again.” When he was back in the pavilion, Bradman told McCabe, “If I could play an innings like that, I’d be a proud man, Stan.”
Headingley 1977: Century of centuries
Not for his excitement factor, we include Geoff Boycott bringing up his 100th 100 in Leeds for the sheer weight of the achievement. Shame the now commentator did it off Greg Chappell’s pedestrian seamers in the fourth Test, but the fact it was in front of the famous Yorkshireman’s home crowd would have made up for that. He wrapped it up on 191.
The Oval 2005: KP’s cracker
England were three for 68, with Glenn McGrath in a rude mood and fired up after knocking over two of England’s top order in two balls. The Poms had to survive a day for a draw to keep a 2-1 lead and win the series. Out strides cocky Kevin Pietersen who wasn’t in great nick, but you wouldn’t have known it. He scored 15 and was doing it easy, before he edged a sitter to Shane Warne. And was dropped. He then went bananas, scoring a Twenty20 quality 158 before being bowled by McGrath. Check this out.In the next over, Pietersen slog-swept two sixes off Warne and England were away.
Sydney 2002-03: Steve Waugh seriously wanted a movie deal
His final Ashes Test. His home ground in Sydney. It’s the final over of day two and he’s on 95 runs.In his final Ashes Test, Waugh entered the final over of the second day on 95. The bowler was non-turning off-spinner Richard Dawson, who was powerless to stand in the path of destiny. Waugh square-drove the fourth ball for three, received the strike back from Adam Gilchrist, and crunched the last one through extra-cover to perhaps the loudest ovation ever heard at the SCG.