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June 11, 2007
When Ian Bell's sharp reflex catch dismissed Corey Collymore soon after lunch, England had won rather more than just the Old Trafford Test. They had retained the Wisden Trophy, at stake in every Test series between England and West Indies since the early 1960s, and so a direct equivalent of the Ashes.
John Wisden & Co, proprietors of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, donated the trophy in 1963 to mark the book's centenary. Frank Worrell guided his team to victory over Ted Dexter's England that summer, ensuring West Indies were the first holders of the Wisden Trophy. England briefly wrested it back in 1968, but when Rohan Kanhai's side won the 1973 series, a long period of West Indian domination began.
It wasn't until September 2000, after 13 unsuccessful series, that England, under Nasser Hussain, ended the long and painful run. The flow of irresistible Caribbean fast bowlers had dried to a trickle and at long last it was England's turn on top. The scenes of jubilation that late summer afternoon at The Oval revealed how much the Wisden Trophy meant.
Once the Trophy is relinquished, it has proved a tricky job to reclaim it, and in all its 44 years, it has changed hands just three times.
The Wisden Trophy will be presented to Michael Vaughan at the end of the fourth Test, at Chester-le-Street. It will be the third time in succession he has received the trophy, making him the most successful English captain.
Only Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, who each led West Indies to four series wins, have better records. The worst performance by any captain is by Mike Atherton, who oversaw England failure three times in the 1990s.
After the match, the trophy returns to the Lord's Museum, where it is on permanent display beside the Ashes.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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