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England v Australia, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 2005

A humdinger for the ages

George Binoy

August 7, 2005

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England take the final wicket of a classic match © Getty Images

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

Narrowest wins Won/Lost Match/Venue/Date
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 office

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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