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August 7, 2005
What a Test. 1176 runs, 40 wickets, a run rate of 5 an over almost right through, 18 sixes and 143 fours. And all that in just three days and a session. But those numbers, impressive as they are, do not even begin to describe the nerve-wrenching last hour of what was one of the greatest Tests ever. Few gave Australia a hope of coming close after they came out this morning needing 107 runs with a couple of wickets in hand. They fell short, but only just.
A meagre two runs, paltry in number but gigantic in significance, was the difference between England drawing level in the Ashes and going 2-0 down. This is England's narrowest margin of victory in terms of runs in Test history, a whole run less than their three-run victory against Australia in the fourth Test at Melbourne in 1982-83. Incidentally, this is also the second-smallest margin of victory while defending a score. Once again, Australia have the distinction of losing by the smallest margin ever, a single run, against West Indies at Adelaide in 1992-93.
You cannot help but notice the numerous times Australia have competed in close Tests. It is testament to the kind of cricket they play - with undying self-belief and astonishing confidence. Edgbaston was not for the faint at heart. What magic does Old Trafford have for us?
|England's narrowest wins||Opponents||Match/Venue/Date|
|2 runs||Australia||2nd Test/Edgbaston/2005|
|3 runs||Australia||4th Test/MCG/1982-83|
|10 runs||Australia||1st Test/Sydney/1894-95|
|12 runs||Australia||4th Test/Adelaide/1928-29|
|12 runs||Australia||4th Test/MCG/1998-99|
|13 runs||Australia||1st Test/SCG/1886-87|
|18 runs||Australia||3rd Test/Headingley/1981|
|19 runs||Australia||6th Test/The Oval/1997|
|23 runs||South Africa||5th Test/Headingley/1998|
|25 runs||Pakistan||3rd Test/Headingley/1971|
|1 run||WI/Aus||4th Test/Adelaide/1992-93|
|2 runs||Eng/Aus||2nd Test/Edgbaston/2005|
|3 runs||Aus/Eng||4th Test/Old Trafford/1902|
|3 runs||Eng/Aus||4th Test/MCG/1982-83|
|5 runs||SA/Aus||2nd Test/SCG/1993-94|
|6 runs||Aus/Eng||3rd Test/SCG/1884-85|
|7 runs||Aus/Eng||1st Test/The Oval/1882|
|7 runs||SA/SL||2nd Test/Kandy/2000-01|
(Only narrowest margins of victory while defending a score have been included)
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo, and for the statistics he was helped by Arun Gopalakrishnan from the Cricinfo Chennai officeFeeds: George Binoy
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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