England v Australia 1970 - 1989
1970-71Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Tests Australia 0 England 2 Drawn 4
ODI Australia 1 England 0
1972Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Illingworth and Chappell locked horns again and this series was every bit as entertaining, with fortunes ebbing and flowing throughout. Snow and an allround contribution from Tony Greig gave England an 89-run win at Old Trafford, but Lord's belonged to the seam of Bob Massie. He took 8 for 84 and 8 for 53 - 16 for 137 in all - on debut to bowl Australia level and they were in charge at Nottingham before running out of time as England reached 290 for 4 chasing 451. The pitch at Headingley left Australia deeply unhappy but it suited Derek Underwood down to the ground. The authorities claimed it was affected by a fungus, fusarium, the Australians suspected skullduggery. Underwood took 10 for 82 and Australia were bowled out for 146 and 136 and an innings loss inside three days. That meant England retained the Ashes, but Australia squared the series as they won the six-day Oval Test by five wickets, and Chappells Ian and Greg became the first brothers to score Test centuries in the same innings.
Tests England 2 Australia 2 Drawn 1
ODI England 2 Australia 1
1974-75Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
England arrived buoyed by a good summer against India and Pakistan, and blissfully ignorant about what awaited an old side which had already shown signs of unrest before leaving home. While there were rumours about Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, the former was considered unlikely to play after a serious back injury and the latter dismissed as a beach bum. Within weeks it was clear that England's batting, already weakened by the self-imposed absence of Boycott, was not equal to the task. At Brisbane, Tony Greig made a classic hundred but Thomson announced his arrival with blistering pace and 6 for 46, as well as breaking the hands of Dennis Amiss and John Edrich, in a 166-run victory. England flew out the 42-year-old Cowdrey and threw him straight into action at Perth, but gutsy though he was, he could not prevent another rout and more injuries. The third Test was in complete contrast, a tense affair with all four innings within 10 runs of each other and Australia needing eight to win with two wickets in hand at the finish. The fourth Test made headlines before it started when Mike Denness, England's out-of-form captain, dropped himself and put Edrich in charge. The outcome was no different and Australia regained the Ashes with plenty to spare. England had Australia 84 for 5 in the fifth Test, but the tail wagged and then Lillee and Thomson (who missed the second innings) ran amok. The final Test gave England some consolation, although Thomson was absent and Lillee broke down early, and led by 188 from Denness, they won by an innings. The single ODI, played between the third and fourth Tests, was poorly attended with only 18,977 at the MCG.
Tests Australia 4 England 1 Drawn 1
ODI Australia 0 England 1
1975Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Tests England 0 Australia 1 Drawn 3
1976-77Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
A one-off Test at the MCG commemorated the first-ever Test exactly 100 years earlier. The Ashes were not at stake but this was nevertheless an epic match. By the tea on the second day few expected the game to last until tea-time on the fourth day when the Queen was scheduled to meet the teams. Australia made 128 and then bowled England out for 95. But Australia rallied, largely thanks to Rod Marsh's belligerent 110, to set England 453. David Hookes announced his arrival with five successive fours off Greig and McCosker hung around with great courage despite having his jaw shattered by Willis in the first innings. Derek Randall's 174 gave England hope but in the end Lillee, who took 11 for 165 was the difference as Australia won by 45 runs ... spookily exactly the same margin as had been the case a century earlier.
Tests Australia 1 England 0
1977Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
The whole summer was overshadowed by the Packer affair, news of which broke as the Australians arrived. It left the tourists a divided and unhappy side without the injured Lillee, while England, under Mike Brearley who replaced the sacked Greig, a Packer ringleader. After a rain-affected draw in the opening Test at Lord's, England went one-up at Old Trafford where Derek Underwood (6 for 66) ran through Australia's second innings despite a defiant hundred by Greg Chappell. At Trent Bridge, Boycott was recalled after a three-year absence and after running out local hero Derek Randall, he made amends with a typically dogged hundred as well as batting on all five days. England brought in Ian Botham for his debut and he made an immediate mark with a first-innings five-for, and a seven-wicket win put England two-up. Boycott again dominated at Headingley, making his 100th first-class hundred in front of his adoring home crowd in an innings win. The final Test at The Oval was marred by rain, but with World Series Cricket looming, international cricket was about to change forever. This was the first Test series in England to be sponsored.
Tests England 0 Australia 1 Drawn 3
1978-79Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
This series was played in direct competition to the unofficial WSC matches elsewhere in Australia and, while England lost a few regulars, Australia fielded what amounted to a third XI. The public responded to this, and emphatic defeats, by staying away in increasing numbers. Although England romped to a 5-1 win, the tour started less convincingly with some unimpressive performances, not least against South Australia when Rodney Hogg gave indications of what was to follow. He alone showed real class, and his 41 series wickets at 12.85 in a losing cause was remarkable. The opening Tests were hard fought, but Australia were not able to put enough runs on the board and lost both convincingly. Predictions of a whitewash ended when Hogg took 10 for 66 to send England to defeat at Melbourne. The series could have been squared at Sydney when Alan Hurst (5 for 28) helped Australia to a 142-run first-innings lead. But Brearley and an epic 150 from Randall tipped the balance, leaving Australia needing 205 in 265 minutes on a wearing track - they made 111. England scored a fourth win at Adelaide when Geoff Miller and Bob Taylor rescued their first innings and Australia's batting imploded, and the rout was completed with a nine-wicket win back at the SCG. It was not only the Australian players who were left traumatised. The board was wounded by poor attendances and declining interest, and it made the settlement with Packer inevitable.
Tests Australia 1 England 5 Drawn 1
ODI Australia 2 England 0
1979-80Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Tests Australia 3 England 0
1980Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
The great and the good gathered at Lord's for the Centenary Test, but the weather spoilt what could have been a tight game. The second and third days had little play but plenty of incident, and one of the umpires was manhandled in the pavilion as tempers flared on the Saturday when the restart was delayed despite glorious sunshine. Australia had a sniff of victory when England were struggling to avoid a follow-on on the fourth morning, but once that had been avoided, it was stalemate although England could have made more effort to chase on the last day. Kim Hughes took the plaudits for glorious strokeplay when making 117 and 84.
Tests England 0 Australia 0 Drawn 1
1981Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Tests England 3 Australia 1 Drawn 2
ODIs England 1 Australia 2
1982-83Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
England were without those players who toured South Africa the previous season, and of all of them Gooch was missed the most as a sound start eluded them almost throughout. Australia missed their two strike bowlers of 1981 - Lillee broke down in the first Test while Alderman was badly hurt trying to tackle a spectator during some ugly crowd scenes in the same match at Perth. England's hero from 18 months earlier, Botham, also had a poor summer. Australia were two-up after the third Test but England staged an unlikely comeback with a three-run win at Melbourne after Allan Border and Thomson had taken Australia to the brink. The Ashes returned to Australia when England turned down a stiff challenge of making 460 on the final day at Sydney. Geoff Lawson was the outstanding bowler of the series (34 at 20.20)
Tests Australia 2 England 1 Drawn 2
1985Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
Australia were an unhappy unit even before they lost three players - including Hughes and Alderman - who were axed after signing for a rebel tour of South Africa. Although most people only remember England's winning 3-1, the series could have gone either way. England took a lead with a five-wicket win at Leeds, set up by Tim Robinson's 175, but their Lord's voodoo continued as they lost there by four wickets. The third and fourth Tests were high-scoring draws which neither side looked like winning. The fifth appeared to be going much the same way when England only declared their first innings on the fourth afternoon, but by the close Richard Ellison had reduced a dumbfounded Australia to 37 for 5 and they slid to an innings loss on the final day. The series was decided at The Oval where Gooch (196) and Gower (157) batted them into submission - and another innings loss - on the first day.
Tests England 3 Australia 1 Drawn 2
ODIs England 1 Australia 2
1986-87Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
An England combination just about at their peak during this tour under Mike Gatting's captaincy in a high-scoring series where a few inspired bowling displays made the difference. Chris Broad scored three centuries for England while Botham blasted a rapid 138 in the first Test at the Gabba. The series was settled in the fourth Test at the MCG when Gladstone Small spearheaded an innings victory inside three days. Australia regained some respect in an exciting final Test on an SCG spinner's pitch.
Tests Australia 1 England 2 Drawn 2
1987-88Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
A one-off Test to celebrate Australia's bicentenary celebrations at Sydney was not for the Ashes. The match was memorable for Broad's tantrum when dismissed after a good hundred - he left the field to booing as a result of him demolishing his stumps with his bat - and an eight-hour 184 by David Boon which steered Australia to safety when they had been forced to follow-on.
Tests Australia 0 England 0 Drawn 1
1989Cricinfo | Wisden Almanack
England were a mess but few expected Australia to inflict such a comprehensive defeat on them. Gower was appointed captain, and even then it was on the chairman's vote as Gatting was favoured by others, but from the off Australia were rampant. At Headingley they made 601 for 7 - they never scored under 400 in a first innings in any of the six Tests - and from then on it was slaughter. Geoff Marsh (442 runs) and Mark Taylor (839) were a formidable opening pair and Steve Waugh (506 at 126.50) dominated the middle order. With the ball, Alderman was back to his best with 41 wickets as if to underline how missed he had been in 1985; Neil Foster was the leading English bowler and with 12 wickets, the only one in double figures. England's selectors seemed as clueless as the team, and they used 29 different players during the series. As if things couldn't get worse, the announcement of a rebel English side to South Africa led by Gatting came during the fourth Test. England lost four matches heavily, and the two they drew they only did so with the help of the weather as they were outplayed in both of those. At Trent Bridge, Marsh and Taylor batted the whole first day on their way to an opening stand of 329. It showed a gulf between the sides that was to remain for almost a decade and a half.
Tests England 0 Australia 4 Drawn 2
ODIs England 1 Australia 1 Tied 1
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo
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