Edgbaston: England’s historic come-from-behind win against India in the rescheduled fifth game at Edgbaston, with the hosts managing their highest successful run chase in Test history, has given a new direction to the team under skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
It’s extremely rare that a team 378 runs in deficit comes back to win a Test, but England played patiently on Day 4 and 5 and rode on superb unflinching performances from their most consistent batters — Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow — to carve out a win against one of the most feared Test sides in the world.
On Wednesday, the ICC listed the most successful Test run-chases ever by Engand before the historic Edgbatson victory.
1. Target 305: New Zealand v England, Christchurch, 1997:
England relied heavily on skipper Mike Atherton in their first innings as he carried his bat for 94 runs off 346 balls in a total of 228. New Zealand built on their 118-run first-innings lead by adding 186 in their second, which seemed likely to be enough until Atherton built on his sublime form.
The opener had enough support this time to reach a century (118) and guide England to 226 before departing as the fourth wicket and sparking a mini-collapse when Nasser Hussain (33) and Graham Thorpe (2) were also dismissed. John Crawley (40 not out) and Dominic Cork (39 not out) then stepped in to put on the remaining runs while Atherton was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.
2. Target 315: England v Australia, Leeds, 2001:
Australia had already won the Ashes by taking the first three Tests of the five-match series but England delivered an upset in the fourth match. Australia took a 138-run lead into the second innings then looked for quick runs until declaring on 176/4 to give the their bowlers — Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie — plenty of time to bundle England out.
Mark Butcher had not scored a century at the highest level since 1998, but played the innings of his lifetime, smashing 23 boundaries and a six. Butcher’s 173 not out would be his highest score in Test cricket and led England to a historic win.
3. Target 332: Australia v England, Melbourne, 1928
The third Test in the infamous Bodyline series saw both teams plunder runs. Australia skipper Jack Ryder, Alan Kippax, Bill Woodfull and Don Bradman scored tons for the home team, while Wally Hammond hit a double century in the first innings for England.
The visitors’ top-order took a slow and steady approach to the chase on a flat track as openers Herbert Sutcliffe (135) and Jack Hobbs (49) ticked off the runs then captain Douglas Jardine (33), Hammond (32) and Patsy Hendren (45) maintained the momentum. A mini-collapse of three wickets for two runs when England needed only six more gave them a fright, but tailender George Geary was able to finish the chase with three wickets in hand.
4. Target 359: England v Australia, Leeds, 2019
After Australia made 179 on a tricky wicket England were embarrassed by a score of just 67 with Joe Denly (12) their only batter to reach double figures. Australia pulled away to a 358-run lead as Marnus Labuschagne (80) led them to a score of 246 on an improving pitch but there was little hint of what was to come. Denly (50) and skipper Joe Root (77) came together with the score on 15/2 then put on a stand of 126 before Ben Stokes arrived to deliver a remarkable Test innings.
Stokes (135 not out) would be the hero as he piled on the runs while at the same time holding the innings together even after Stuart Broad was the ninth batter dismissed with England still 73 runs short. The last man to come in, Jack Leach (1 not out), dug in at one end while Stokes gradually chipped away at Australia’s lead to complete arguably England’s most memorable success in Tests.