Yesterday we listed the first eight (see Part 1 of the 25 Greatest Ashes tests) of what we at The Reverse Sweep consider to be the 25 greatest Ashes tests of them all. Today we unveil the next eight.
3rd Test, Adelaide, 13-19 January 1933 - England won by 338 runs: The Test that nearly broke the Empire. With the series locked at 1-1, England slipped to 30 for four before recovering to 341. Then the real drama unfolded as first Woodfull and then Oldfield were felled by Larwood. Cables were exchanged between the ACB and MCC, mounted police kept a baying crowd from rioting and Jardine maintained his iron rule as England cantered to victory.
5th Test, The Oval, 18-22 August 1934 - Australia won by 562 runs: As had happened four years previously, the two sides went into the timeless decider at The Oval level at 1-1. This time Australia won the toss and a massive 451 second wicket partnership between Ponsford (266) and Bradman (244) put the game out of England's reach. They responded with 321, but Woodfull chose not to enforce the follow on and Bradman hit 77 as Australia made 327. Set 708 to win, England folded meekly only totalling 145 with Grimmett taking five for 64.
3rd Test, Melbourne, 1-7 January 1937 - Australia won by 365 runs: With Australia 2-0 down in Bradman's first series as captain it was do-or-die at Melbourne. But with rain making batting a lottery at times and both sides making bold declarations, Bradman reversed his batting order in the second innings and hit a magnificent 270 from number seven once the wicket had improved. Set 689 to win, England could only muster 323 and the biggest turnaround in any test series had begun.
4th Test, Headingley, 22-27 July 1948 - Australia won by 7 wickets: The Invincibles tag would have never been applied to the all-conquering 1948 Australians without their amazing chase of 404 in the Headingley Test. Bradman (173*) played his last great innings at the scene of previous triumphs - he hit 334 and 304 at the same ground in the 1930 and 1934 series. Morris (182) joined forces with Bradman to add 301 in 217 minutes to render a seemingly impossible chase into a ridiculously easy one.
5th Test, The Oval, 15-19 August 1953 - England won by 8 wickets: After 19 long years, Len Hutton became the first England captain to win the Ashes since Jardine as the home side won a see-saw deciding test. England earned a narrow but crucial 31 run first innings lead thanks to a last wicket partnership of 44 between Bailey and Bedser. Lock and Laker then combined with nine wickets as Australia succumbed to 162 all out. Amidst high tension, Bill Edrich hit 55 not out as England reached their target with eight wickets to spare.
2nd Test, Sydney, 17-22 December 1954 - England won by 38 runs: Having lost the first test by an innings, England looked in real trouble when they were shot out for 154 batting first. The fightback started with Bailey and Tyson sharing eight wickets as Australia's lead was restricted to 74. May then hit a classy hundred as England made 296 second time round, but it was Tyson being knocked unconscious by Lindwall that tipped the scales. The Typhoon was born and took his retribution with six for 85 as Australia were skittled for 184. The tide had turned and England eventually won the series 3-1.
4th Test, Old Trafford, 27 July-1 August 1961 - Australia won by 54 runs: With the series poised at 1-1, an Australian victory would see them retain the Ashes. But when they were bowled out for 190 and England made 367 in reply that didn't look likely. But a century from Lawry and a last wicket partnership of 98 enabled the Aussies to set a target of 256. Dexter wasn't cowed and made a brilliant 76 to guide England to 150 for 2 before Benaud struck, taking 5 for 12 in 25 balls as Australia snatched a 54-run victory.
7th Test, Sydney, 12-17 February 1971 - England won by 62 runs: When rain washed out the 3rd Test at Melbourne, a seventh Test was added at the end of the tour. With England 1-0 up in the series and Australia holding the urn, it was also an Ashes decider. Australia eked out an 80 run lead as controversy struck when Illingworth led England off the field after Snow was first warned for short pitched bowling and was then bombarded with bottles by an irate crowd. The incident seemed to imbue England with renewed steel and a solid second innings performance enabled them to set a challenging target before bowling their hosts out for 160.