Bob Borsley looks back on a rare sort of event:
For an England cricket fan the one thing that is better than beating Australia is beating Australia in Australia. It doesn't happen often - only four times in my lifetime: once in the 50s (before I knew what was going on), twice in the 70s, and the last time in 1986-7.According to the usual formula for this series, I follow Bob's memory with a selection of quotations from published accounts of that game:
At the time I had just moved to a lectureship in the University of Bangor, and I was living in a rented house on Anglesey with no central heating. I needed some warming news from Australia, and I got it. England had some surprising heroes. Chris Broad topped the batting averages, scoring three of his six Test centuries, and Gladstone Small topped the bowling averages with 12 wickets for an average of 15. But established stars like Gower, Gatting and Botham all played important roles. Botham in fact scored only 189 runs in the four Tests in which he played, but in the first Test at Brisbane he turned the clock back and with an innings reminiscent of his performances in 1981. England were 198-2 at the end of the first day's play. On the second day, Botham scored 138, taking 22 runs in an over from a relatively young (and slim) Merv Hughes. Part of the over can be seen here. Commentating, Bob Willis remarks that 'People should savour every moment they can watch this player. They only come once in a lifetime.' He was not wrong.
England were finally out for 456 and they went on to win the match by seven wickets and the series 2-1. As Eliot said in 'The Journey of the Magi', 'All this was a long time ago'. I wonder how long I will have to wait for the next time.
Botham's 138, which included an assault on Hughes which brought 22 in the over of his century, was comparable to his 118 at Old Trafford in 1981 for power and control. He batted 249 minutes (174 balls) and hit four sixes - straight drives - and thirteen fours before Hughes sprinted in to catch him at long-leg. - Wisden 1988
His hundred, which occupies him for almost three and a quarter hours, illustrates yet again his determination to finish his last England tour on the highest possible note. - Peter West, Clean Sweep
Brisbane, 1986, will be remembered as one of the days when the mood took him to play with the utmost loyalty and dedication to the cause, and yet to transcend the values of others. - Tony Lewis, The Daily Telegraph, The Battle for the Ashes '87
His century was a magnificent effort. - Mike Gatting, Triumph in Australia
He was given a standing ovation. This is Botham at his best, massive and secure. His back foot shots were as perfect as Hammond's. - Peter Roebuck, Ashes to Ashes
It was a shame indeed that fewer than 8,000 people were there to see him. - Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Grand Slam
[For links to the other posts in this series, see here.]