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Lord's Ashes classics: 1989

Terry Alderman celebrates a wicket in the 1989 series
Terry Alderman celebrates a wicket in the 1989 series

In the second of a series of trips down memory lane, we go back to 1989, when Terry Alderman was on fire, David Gower got riled and England were in disarray.

Fresh from a 210-run drubbing in the first Test at Headingley, England were already behind in the six Test series before they reached Lord's - a Ground they had failed to win at since 1934. The Ashes holders, following a 2-1 win in Australia under Mike Gatting in 1986/87, needed to turn the tide of form and history against them.

Scorecard (via Cricinfo)

David Gower, in his second stint as captain, was under pressure.

Tug of Waugh

The summer of 1989 can be remembered as the beginning of one of England's most dismal periods in Ashes history. The surrender of the Urn that year began 16 years and seven series' of successive defeat for England as an era of great Australia teams emerged.

Steve Waugh, later one of the captains who dominated Test cricket, made his name in the series and it was he, Terry Alderman and the cult-hero Merv Hughes who put the tourists in complete control of the match by the close of the third day.

England, batting first after winning the toss, were dismissed for a below par 286, despite Gooch and Gower both making half centuries (one of only two in a miserable series for Gocch) and a nuggety unbeaten 64 from Jack Russell; four Hughes wickets and three for Alderman saw off the hosts.

Australia's batsmen, fresh from making 601/7 dec. in the first Test, initially appeared to have blown their chance to put the Test to bed, stumbling to 265/6. But, as Wisden remembers, the third day was decisive:

"Saturday, which dawned with hope of England levelling the series, turned out to be the day the Ashes went Australia's way. Waugh, the tormentor at Headingley, turned torturer with an undefeated 152 from 249 balls (seventeen fours).

"But the real agony as the tourists' last four wickets added 263 was Geoff Lawson's highest Test score (74 from number ten); he and Waugh put on 130 in 108 minutes, a record for Australia's ninth wicket in England."

Captain's fortunes

Gower hadn't necessarily been the most popular choice as skipper, and he famously angered journalists on the Saturday evening by abandoning a tetchy press conference further inflaming the situation by announcing he had tickets for the theatre and a taxi waiting. The next day was a rest day, and Gower tried to patch things up during a visit to watch tennis at the Hurlingham Club.

But the best response was the one he made with the bat as play resumed on Monday morning. As Wisden said: "Nobody complained about Gower's performance on Monday. The Leicestershire left-hander had hit the ball more sweetly, but never with such determination and purpose."

England, 28/3 on his arrival on Saturday evening, fought hard with Robin Smith making 96 and putting on 139 with his captain, who reached his 15th Test century. At 300/6 with Smith alongside the more than handy John Emburey, England were still in with a shout of posting a tricky fourth innings target.

But, as so often that summer, it was Alderman who turned things around. Alderman was irresistible that summer, rendering Graham Gooch almost stroke-less, as he went on to collect an astonishing 41 wickets at 17.36 across six Test matches - including nine at Lord's. Smith was bowled by the ball of the match, the first of three wickets in 16 balls for the swing bowler which gave Alderman 6/128 and effectively finished off the Test for the tourists.

David Boon's unbeaten half-century lead the charge over the line for a six-wicket win and a 2-0 lead which Allan Border's men never even came close to surrendering.

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