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The Best of Tests: A 33-week journey across the ocean to Australia and an intoxicated England spinner

©Reuters
 

Test cricket mirrors life. The ebbs and flows of the format have given birth to some of the most breath-taking cricketing epics. A Cricket World Series, The Best of Tests, highlights the finest of these spectacles.

 

Match Summary

ENG 325/10, 437/10 (181.4)

AUS 586/10, 166/10 (68)

Result - England won by 10 runs

 

The Melbourne Cricket Club, in association with the trustees of the Sydney cricket ground, agreed to bear the travel costs of the English team if they arrived at the Australian shores for the 1894-95 summer.

With WG Grace having injured his finger, Andrew Stoddart led the England side which departed on the RMS Ophir on September 21, 1894 and finally reached Australia after a 33-week trip.

Australia batted first on a good SCG surface. George Giffen cracked 161 while Syd Gregory become the first man to score a Test double hundred in Australia with 201.

Batting in the second innings with the pressure of Australia's 586, England were bowled out for 325. Following on, Albert Ward scored a brilliant century and with contributions from the lower order, the team gave Australia a target of 177.

England players, seeing no chance of winning the game, drunk to their heart's contentment on the eve of the 6th day. However, with heavy overnight train, Yorkshire slow left-arm bowler Bobby Peel, who was felt intoxicated on the morning of the day, ran through the Australian batting line-up.

Peel recorded figures of 6/67 as the hosts were bowled out for 177. Much to the dislike of the 25,000-strong Australian audience, England registered an exciting 10-run victory.

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