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Archive for the ‘Games That Made The Decade’ Category

Sri Lanka v England

3rd December 2007

Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy

sri-lanka-bowler-murali

From 2004, Muralitharan and Warne had played pass the parcel with the highest wicket-taker in test cricket crown.  When Warne retired on 708, it seemed only a matter of time before Murali it reclaimed once again.  However, for a while the expectation hung like a millstone around his neck.  Stuck on 700, he managed just 4 wickets on the tour of Australia in 2007.  It needed the arrival of his favourite opposition, England, to finally seal the deal.  On his way to 9 wickets in the first test, he clean bowled Paul Collingwood to claim the record.  He currently has 783 wickets – the nearest current bowler is Makhaya Ntini with 388.  Murali might just have the record for good this time.

Australia v England

1st – 5th December 2006

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

warne ade

As good as he has been, Shane Keith Warne is in danger of leaving the Australian side without the Ashes.  The 2006/07 series was supposed to be his swansong, but despite a crushing victory for Australia in Brisbane, Warne is anonymous.   On to Adelaide and for two days he is destroyed by Pietersen and Collingwood.  He finishes with figures of 53-9-167–1, and England are back in the series.  Surely it can’t end this way?

Of course it can’t.  Australia get close to first innings parity, and Warne has his opening.  In 32 overs of the highest quality, he tortures England.  It is mesmerizing to watch.  England are slowly, meticulously, painfully strangled to 129 all out on a good pitch.  Australia go 2-0 up, the Ashes are as good as back, and Warne has his glorious footnote.

India v Australia

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

11th-15th March 2001

laxman

1-0 up in a three match series, Australia look as though they are about to pass the ultimate test in cricket – beating India in India.  A masterful 110 from Steve Waugh leads them to 445 in the first innings of the second test, and Glenn McGrath skittles the Indians for 171.   Waugh enforces the follow on, and India seemingly have only pride to play for.  That is until Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman come together in the second innings.  A magnificent 180 from Dravid is eclipsed by Laxman’s 281, and India can dare to dream of the unthinkable – winning a test match after following on.  Harbhajan and Tendulkar tease the Australians out for 212, and India go on to win the series.  The most astounding turn-around of all time is complete, and Waugh never gets an opportunity to win in India again.

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Australia v. Pakistan

18th-22nd November 1999

Bellerive Oval, Hobart

langer-gilchrist

It is hard to believe that there was a time when Australia were merely thought of as “very good”.  It took a staggering run-chase as the 20th century drew to a close before they were compared to the West Indies side of the 70’s and 80’s.  Pakistan set Australia an enormous 369 to win.  By the time Adam Gilchrist comes to join Justin Langer, Australia are 126/5 and almost down and out.  Langer has scored 1 hundred in his last 12 tests, and Gilchrist is in his second test.  Spin has already accounted for 15 wickets in the match, and Saqlain is responsible 7 of them.

It is Saqlain who takes the next wicket, only it falls at 364.  Australia win the unwinnable and Gilchrist has arrived.  Australia go on to win 16 matches in a row at the start of the 00’s, and the aura of invincibility gets stronger and stronger.

Despite this being in 1999, it is the moment when the dominant side of the noughties was set in stone.

Australia v Sri Lanka

WC Final 2007 – 28th April 2007

Kensington Oval, Barbados

WC

Twenty20 cricket is taking the world by storm.  Administrators, players and journalists are worried for the future of ODI cricket, and the World Cup needs to deliver.  What it doesn’t need is over a month a half and 52 games of mostly meaningless cricket.  By the time Australia beat Sri Lanka in typically farcical circumstances in the final, the world has lost interest

 

 

 

 

West Indies v. England

10th-14th April 2004

Antigua Recreation Ground, Antigua400

In 1994, Brian Lara broke the world record for the first time against England in Antigua.  Since then, the West Indies have declined at such an alarming rate that they have already lost at home to England for the first time in a generation.  Hayden has  made 380 against Zimbabwe to take the record.  Lara himself looks finished – he struggles throughout the series against Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, and with the burden of captaincy has the tired eyes of a man performing the last rites of his career.  On 0 in the final test of the series, in Antigua naturally, he is seemingly caught behind by Geraint Jones.  Darrell Hair gives him not out, and replays prove inconclusive.

From there, he is unstoppable.  In 582 balls of batting masterclass, he makes 400*.  The king retains his crown, and the West Indies finally have something to cheer about.  Lara makes 9 more centuries in two years before calling time on a career we will never see the likes of again.

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