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CMJ's greatest

August 01, 2002

Hutton provides platform for England triumph

SYDNEY (England won toss): England beat the Rest of the World by five wickets

ENGLAND squared the CMJ/Wisden Test series in an absorbing match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It was a triumph for England’s bowlers, who performed better as a unit than at any time previously in the rubber and justified Peter May’s bold gamble in putting the Rest of the World in to bat. The match was also notable for another fine innings from Len Hutton, who dropped anchor for a mammoth 182, his fourth century of a triumphant series.

As usual at Sydney, the spin bowlers played an important part — but it was a lightning-quick spell from Malcolm Marshall that unsettled England as they pushed for victory. Fast and furious, Marshall reduced England to 33 for five, needing only 74, before sensible innings from May and Hutton — yet again — inched them over the finishing line.

Ted Dexter and Ian Botham, sent in first to get the innings off to a flying start, had both gone before the score passed 20. Then Graham Gooch, Colin Cowdrey and Alan Knott all fell to Marshall — who at that point had figures of five for 12 — with the score at 33.

Hutton strode in at No 7 and stopped the rot, perhaps reminding May, his captain and batting partner, of the trouble that Freddie Brown ran into when he played fast and loose with his batting order at Brisbane in 1950-51 (England were all out for 122 with Hutton, held back to No 8, high and dry with 62). There were no further alarms as England levelled the series with more than a day to spare.

The Rest of the World had made a good start, with performances to please the purists from the Richardses. Barry dominated an opening stand of 107 with Sunil Gavaskar (52), stroking nine fours in making 72 from 73 balls. Then Viv took over, hammering seven fours and a six in a boisterous 74.

But then England’s aggressive approach paid dividends as they struck back. Jim Laker tore out the middle order, removing Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar before winkling out Garry Sobers for a duck. For once Adam Gilchrist could not inspire a recovery, and Derek Underwood lopped off the tail as the Rest of the World crumbled for a disappointing 242.

Hutton and Dexter put that total in perspective with a gritty stand of 167. Dexter flicked Muttiah Muralitharan to Viv Richards after a commanding 82 that included six driven fours, then Hutton and May put on a further 102.

The lower order could make little of Muralitharan or Shane Warne, who shared nine of the wickets, but Hutton remained solid as a rock. He was eventually the ninth man out, legbefore to Muralitharan, for 182. He faced 493 balls, and hit 17 fours.

After reaching 405 for four England were disappointed to subside to 429 all out, but that still meant a lead of 187. That looked more than enough when Gavaskar touched a Fred Trueman special to Knott second ball. Laker was off the field for a while with an injured hand (he bowled only 6.1 overs in the second innings), and Underwood was too quick through the air to take advantage of the helpful pitch. It was left to the perspiring Botham, who finished with four for 74, to plug away and claim wickets at crucial stages.

Barry Richards impressed again with a fluent 53, but it was Lara who threatened to set England a more ticklish target. He had flowed to 84, with two sixes off an unimpressed Trueman to go with nine fours, when he was run out after a mix-up with Warne. Shortly afterwards the Rest of the World were all out for 261. England needed only 74 to win — but they had some nasty moments making them.

Hutton, with 202 runs for once out, was an obvious choice as man of the match before the caravan moved to India for the decisive final Test in Calcutta.

Computer simulation devised for Wisden.com by Y. Ananth Narayanan, of Hallmark Software, Bangalore, India. Detailed player profiles and a Wisden 20:20 statistical analysis of the match can be found at http://www.wisden.com/

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  ALSO IN THIS SECTION
  Hutton provides platform for England triumph

  Graphic: Scoreboard from the Sydney Cricket Ground

  Heroics by Botham see England on level terms

  Graphic: Scorecards from Bridgetown

  Hutton's heroics only delay win for Rest of World

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