10 Best Boxing Day Tests at the MCG
Melbourne Cricket Ground or the MCG, often referred to as the Colosseum of Cricket is home to perhaps one of the most anticipated traditions in the history of sports,the Boxing Day Test match, which has been held on the 26th of December every year since 1980. Apart from the traditions, we have seen some fierce battles here. On the eve of 2014 Boxing day test, we bring you the 10 best Test matches ever played on this historic ground.
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10. 1994/95 Ashes Tour, 2nd Test
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Australia leaded the 5 match series 1-0. England won the toss and chose to field. Australia were dismissed for 279 with Steve Waugh scoring an unbeaten 94. Shane Warne ripped through the English batting line up taking 6 wickets and dismissing them for 212. Boon scored a century for Australia and set a target of 388 for the visitors. Warne performed the hat-trick in his 13th over dismissing DeFreitas, Gough, Malcolm off his 4th, 5th, 6th deliveries. The English were dismissed for meagre score of 92. Drama at its best!
England 212 (Warne 6/64)
Australia 320/7 dec (Boon 131)
England 92 (McDermontt 5/42)
9. 2002/03 Ashes Tour, Fourth Test
This was the one of the series which showed how dominating the Australians were during the 2000s. They came in this test match winning the Ashes. Mathew Hayden became the first Australian to score six centuries in a single year after scoring 102. Justin Langer scored his career best score of 250 in the first innings. Australia declared after making a mammoth total of 551. In reply English tumbled and were bowled out for 270. Waugh asked England to follow on. They scored 387 in their second innings courtesy to Michael Vaughan’s 147 setting a target of 107. Though English bowlers put in a valiant effort by dismissing 5 Aussies, but still Australia won by 5 wickets.
Australia 551/6 dec (Langer 250)
England 270 & 387 (Vaughan 145, Macgill 5/152)
8. 2007/08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, First Test
Australia won the toss and elected to bat and after surviving,playing and missing and edging some balls through the cordon. Hayden brought up another Boxing Day a hundred after hitting a four. The second day Johnson and Clark batted well before Clark got out leaving Australia with a healthy score of 343. Tendulkar was the highlight of the Indian innings scoring 62 before being bowled by Clark. The rest of the batting line up fell cheaply all out for 196. At 7/351, Ponting declared and sent India in to bat with a near impossible target of 499 to win. The Australian bowlers ripped through the middle order with Johnson getting three along with the match-ending wicket of RP Singh. India were all out for 161 with Australia winning by 337 runs with a day to spare going 1-0 up in the best of 4 series. This also brought up 15 straight Test victories just one behind the record, held by Australia under the captaincy of Steve Waugh.
Australia 343 (Hayden 124, Kumble 5/84)
Australia 351/7 dec
7. 2008/09 South Africa tour of Australia, Second Test
South Africa came to this match after winning the first match at the WACA. Australia won the toss and elected to bat. The highlight of the day was Ponting’s 37th Test century in front of a crowd of 63,263. Australia ended its first innings on 394. South Africa started slowly and reached 141-6. In a remarkable day’s play South Africa reached 459 all out, after Duminy (166) and Steyn (76) put on 180 for the ninth wicket – the third highest all-time. Only captain Ricky Ponting (99) and bowler Mitchell Johnson (43*) withstood the South Africa bowling as Australia was dismissed for 247 in their second innings. Ponting just missed out on a second century for the match which would have made him the only player to have done so four times. Steyn took five wickets to finish with ten for the match. South Africa were set 183 to win the match. Losing only captain Graeme Smith for 75, South Africa reached their victory target in 48 overs sealing the 3 match series.
Australia 394 (Ponting 101, Steyn 5/87)
South Africa 459 (Duminy 166)
Australia 247 (Steyn 5/67)
South Africa 183/1
6. 1988/89 West Indies tour of Australia, Third Test
The home side was trailing in the series. The visitors were dismissed for 280 in the first innings with Terry Alderman taking 4 wickets. In reply,the Aussies were bowled out for 242. Patrick Patterson and Sir Curtly Ambrose took 4 wickets each. In the second innings, Sir Richie Richardson scored a century and West Indies declared for 361 setting a target of 400 runs. Patrick Patterson demolished the Australian middle order and the visitors won the match and the series by 285 runs.
West Indies 280
West Indies 361/9 dec (Richardson 122, Waugh 5/92)
Australia 114 (Patterson 5/39)
5. 2003/04 Border-Gavaskar Trophy,Third Test
Australia came to this match trailing the series 1-0. The match was crucial for Australia, as they had to pull back the advantage and had to squeeze a win for Steve Waugh, who, incidentally was playing his last match in the ground where he had made his debut nineteen years ago, in 1985, and even more coincidentally, against the same opponents.
Virender Sehwag delivered one of the most breathtaking innings seen in Australia when he pummelled 195 on the opening day of the 2003 Boxing Day Test. Sehwag’s 233-ball innings included 25 fours and five sixes in front of 62,613. This match featured India’s spectacular demise, as the last 6 wickets fell for 16 runs. India were bowled out for 366. Under pressure Australia scored a mammoth 558 in their first innings with Ponting scoring his career best performance of 257. Indians were bowled out for 286 setting a target of 95 runs. Australia levelled the series by winning the match by 9 wickets.
India 366 (Sehwag 195)
Australia 558 (Ponting 257, Hayden 136, Kumble 6/176)
4. 2006/07 Ashes Tour, Fourth Test
This match was the last Boxing day Test for Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, and Shane Warne. Warne took his 700th test wicket by clean bowling Strauss, who had just reached 50 in the first innings. England subsequently collapsed and finished all out for 159 with Warne taking a further four wickets. Australia looked in severe trouble at 5/84, with the unproven Symonds coming to the crease. Hayden and Symonds wrested control of the match back in Australia’s favour throughout most of the remaining two sessions. Hayden achieved his century just before tea, and Australia resumed the third session at 5/226. Symonds subsequently achieved his maiden test century with a powerful six to long on. Australia all out for 419 (a lead of 260). England succumbed midway through the final session to be all out for a mere 161 runs. The victory margin was an innings and 99 runs, giving Ponting his first innings victory in an Ashes test match. Shane Warne was named Man of the Match for his bowling figures of 5/39 and 2/46, and his resilient 40* with the bat.
England 159 (Warne 5/39)
Australia 419 (Symonds 156)
3. 2010/11 Ashes Tour, Fourth Test
Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bowl. None of the Australian batsmen offered much resistance as they were bowled out for a paltry 98 before tea: their lowest Ashes total at the MCG. All ten dismissals were catches behind the stumps. In reply, England’s openers advanced to 0/157 at the end of the first day’s play before both fell early the following morning. They were bowled out for 513 with Jonathan Trott scoring unbeaten 168. By the time they began their second innings Australia needed to make 415 runs just to make England bat again, a man down (Ryan Harris being unable to bat after his ankle injury), and with more than half the match left to play. An 86-run partnership on the fourth morning between Haddin and Siddle delayed the inevitable, but after Siddle was caught in the deep off Swann, Bresnan dismissed Ben Hilfenhaus for a pair to seal the match. Australia were bowled out for 258 and England retained the Ashes, winning by an innings and 157 runs.
England 513 (Trott 168*, Siddle 6/75)
2. 1998/99 Ashes Tour, Fourth Test
Australia won the toss and chose to field. England started slowly but a century by Alec Stewart guided them to total of 270.
In the first innings of Australia, Steve Waugh reached 7000 test runs milestone and also scored an unbeaten century.
Australia were dismissed for 340. England trailed by 70 runs. In the second innings, England were dismissed for 244 setting a small target of 175 runs.
An aggressive mindset from the top-order saw Australia reach 3-130 inside 34 overs, but Headley’s wicket of Mark Waugh (43) proved the turning point.
The home side lost three wickets for no runs – all to Headley – as the middle order crumbled.
Steve Waugh appeared to be steering Australia to victory when he guided the side to within 14 of the target but he watched on in horror from the non-strikers end as Headley and Darren Gough picked up the final three wickets in five deliveries.
Headley finished his 15 Test career with 60 wickets at an average of 27.85.
England 270 (Stewart 107)
Australia 340 (Waugh 122*, Gouch 5/96)
Australia 162 (Headley 6/60)
1. 1982/83 Ashes Tour, Fourth Test
This was one of the closest test matches ever played. Australia won the toss and chose to field. England were bowled out for 284 with Chis Tavare scoring 89. Rodney Hogg was pick of the bowlers taking 4 wickets. In reply, English bowled out the Ausies for 287 (lead of 3 runs). In the second innings England were dismissed for 294 setting a target of 292 runs.
Australia’s 9th wicket fell for 218 requiring 74 runs. Allan Border and Jeff Thompson survived to stumps, progressing the score to 9-255, leaving 37 to win on the final day. An enthralling last-wicket partnership between Allan Border and Jeff Thomson threatened to snatch victory for Australia before Ian Botham claimed the final wicket with the home side needing just four more runs for the win. Botham bowled a shortish ball outside off-stump that Thomson sparred at it and it took the edge to Chris Tavare at second slip who got a hand to it but the ball popped up and Geoff Miller, who was at first slip, took the catch.
During the final-wicket partnership (70 in 128 min.), Border and Thomson declined to run 29 comfortable singles. For the first time in any Test in which all 40 wickets fell, all innings totals were within 10 runs of each other.
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Australia 288 (Cowans 6/77)