Wish I had been there

Legendary matches that would have been worth watching live

Steven Lynch

February 13, 2012

Comments: 91 | Text size: A | A

Allan Donald is run out and the game is tied, Australia v South Africa, 2nd semi-final, World Cup, Birmingham, June 17, 1999
The tie at Edgbaston, 1999 © Getty Images
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Bodyline, 1932-33
Like many other cricket fans, I suspect, I'd love to have been there when Bodyline kicked off, just to see what all the fuss was about. And the battle between Harold Larwood and Don Bradman - and Larwood and the other Aussie batsmen too - would have been one to savour. If I had to pick one match from the series it would be the third Test, in Adelaide, which was the one in which feelings ran the highest: it was touch and go whether the crowd would storm the pitch at one point. "Not to put too fine a point on it, pandemonium reigned," sighed Wisden. "Altogether the whole atmosphere was a disgrace to cricket."

Australia v West Indies, 1960-61
If the Tardis couldn't quite manage 1932-33, I'd love to have watched the seminal "Calypso" series that revitalised Test cricket after the largely colourless 1950s. With two like-minded captains - Richie Benaud and Frank Worrell - seeking to entertain, this classic series started with Test cricket's first tie, in Brisbane. But there were two other nail-biting finishes too: in the fourth Test, in Adelaide, Australia's last pair (the ungainly Ken Mackay and the unheralded Lindsay Kline) hung on for almost two hours to deny West Indies a victory that would have given them a 2-1 lead. And then, in the final Test, in Melbourne, Australia crept to their target of 258 - and stole the series - with just two wickets left.

Australia v South Africa, Edgbaston, 1999
The 1999 World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston had it all: violent swings of fortune, and the tightest possible finish. "It was a compressed epic all the way through," said Wisden, "and it ended in a savage twist." Australia looked forlorn after making only 213, but Shane Warne dragged them back into it with four wickets, including a replica of his legendary 1993 "Gatting ball", this time to bowl Herschelle Gibbs. Now South Africa were on the ropes, but Lance Klusener pummelled some quick runs, only to fall short at the last, when Allan Donald was run out. It was a tie - but not really, as Australia went on to the final thanks to a superior net run rate in the second group phase.

England v Australia, The Oval, 1882
It would be fun to drop in on the match that started the Ashes legend, after Australia's narrow victory in a climax so exciting that one spectator apparently had a heart attack and another chewed right through his umbrella handle. And who could resist a chance to see the batting of WG Grace, or the bowling of "The Demon" Spofforth - who took 7 for 44 as England, chasing only 85, were skittled for 77 (of which WG made 32)?

India v Australia, Kolkata, 2000-01
In the just days before wall-to-wall TV and web coverage, the extraordinary turnaround in Kolkata early in 2001 would have been a delight to witness first-hand. Australia were pressing for a world-record 17th successive Test victory, and it looked like business as usual when India followed on: they slipped to 115 for 3 when Sachin Tendulkar was out. And then, after some resistance from Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman took over: he scored 281, and put on 376 with the unsinkable Rahul Dravid, turning a deficit of 42 when they came together into a very handy lead. Australia eventually needed 384, and never got close. Harbhajan Singh, who had taken India's first-ever Test hat-trick in the first innings, took six more wickets to finish with 13 in the match.

England v Australia, Old Trafford, 1956
This one's for all the bowlers out there: the match in which Jim Laker took 19 wickets, figures that haven't really been threatened since in first-class cricket, let alone Tests. I'd like to see whether the pitch was as bad as people (especially Australians) say... and try to work out how, on a helpful pitch, poor old Tony Lock managed only one wicket while his county colleague scooped up the rest.

South Africa v Australia, 1969-70
The debate over the strongest Test side of them all usually takes in the Aussies of 1921, 1948 and the early 2000s, and includes a few West Indian sides of the 1980s. But the South Africans of 1970 might have gone on to match them had politics not stepped in and denied them further chances. They walloped Australia 4-0 early that year, and as the saying goes, Australia were lucky to get nil. South Africa did have home advantage, and they didn't have a spinner, but they did have the sublime batsmanship of Barry Richards (who averaged 72 in his only Test series) and Graeme Pollock; the fast bowling of Mike Procter and Peter Pollock; and the bullish allrounder Eddie Barlow. Those five also played for the Rest of the World against England later in 1970, in a series that was hastily arranged when South Africa's tour of England was cancelled, beginning their 22-year isolation from official international cricket.

Australia v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2005-06
A day which produced 872 runs? Bowlers might want to watch it from behind the sofa, but as a display of relentless hitting it's hard to beat. With their one-day series tied at 2-2, Australia hammered 434 in the decider in Johannesburg, and looked home and hosed. But Jacques Kallis perked up the South African dressing room by joking "Come on guys, it's a 450 wicket - they're 15 short!" And he was right: his side somehow chased down the runs, Herschelle Gibbs hitting 175 before Mark Boucher spanked the penultimate ball for the winning boundary. The previous ODI aggregate record of 693 had been blown away.

Derek Randall gets hit by a bouncer from Dennis Lillee during the Centenary Test, MCG, March 1977
Derek Randall gets hit by a bouncer from Dennis Lillee during the Centenary Test in 1977 Hulton Archive / © Getty Images

India v Pakistan, Bangalore, 1986-87
There's nothing quite like the tension of an India-Pakistan match, and one of the closest was in Bangalore in March 1987. It was the fifth Test of a series that was still deadlocked as a no-score-draw, but there was always going to be a result here after Pakistan collapsed for 116 and India managed only 145. "The pitch, so encouraging to spin bowling, provided a match of riveting theatre," observed Wisden. Imran Khan battled for more than two hours to help set a target of 221, then Sunil Gavaskar - in what turned out to be his final Test innings - got to work. No one else in the match managed more than 50, but Gavaskar put his head down for five hours and 20 minutes before finally being given out to slow left-armer Iqbal Qasim for a superb 96 ("a wrong umpiring decision," lamented the Indian slow left-armer Maninder Singh, who had taken 7 for 27 in Pakistan's first innings, and later became an umpire himself). The tail couldn't produce a miracle: Pakistan squeaked home by 16 runs, and won a series in India for the first time.

England v Australia, 1948
They have become known as the "Invincibles". The 1948 Australian touring team in England had a peerless new-ball attack, in the relentless Ray Lindwall and the glamorous Keith Miller; they had superb batsmen like Arthur Morris, Sid Barnes, Lindsay Hassett and the young Neil Harvey, and several eager back-up players too. Oh, and they also had Don Bradman, who resolved early on that his final tour of England (he was 39 then) would be a bit special: his side didn't lose a single match on tour (and they played 31 first-class games, including the five Tests). England had a pretty handy side too, with the likes of Len Hutton, Denis Compton, Bill Edrich, Godfrey Evans, Alec Bedser and Trevor Bailey... but they still lost 4-0.

Australia v England, Melbourne, 1976-77
This match, to celebrate the centenary of Test cricket, was a gripping one. After a nervous start by both sides at the MCG, things settled down and England made a spirited attempt at their lofty target of 463, Derek Randall leading the way with 174. Finally Dennis Lillee - another bowler worth going an awful long way to watch - wrapped things up with his tenth wicket, making statisticians squirm with delight when they realised the result was identical (Australia won by 45 runs) to the match in 1876-77 that it was commemorating. But for all the on-field drama, there was almost more off the pitch, as every surviving player from an Ashes Test had been invited to attend. It was therefore apparently almost impossible to walk round a corner without bumping into some sort of legend. It was probably cricket's greatest social occasion, and the match was well worth watching too. In fact, I'm going to look for the video now.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.

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Posted by harshthakor on (February 15, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

In the one day games I would add the 1987 third match of the England-PAK3 match Texaco series which England clinched by 1 wicket in a match of continuous twists and turns.The 1975 Prudential World Cup final and the 1986 Final of the Australasia cup where Miandad hit a six of the last ball were my other selections apart from those listed in the list above.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

Could someone please fix that link to the India-Australia match in 2000-2001? The link takes you to the Ashes test of the 1870s.

Posted by mikey76 on (February 14, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

@Paul Dawson. I think the West Indies set the benchmark. From the mid 70's to the mid 90's. In 06/07 we bossed the Adelaide test and lost it on the last afternoon, had we not the series might have ended differently.This was an injury ravaged team in discord led by an unsuitable captain. I dont think we showed any less guts than Australia in 10/11, this whole Australia are tougher than other teams theory is a myth. In 81 you failed to close out wins in three tests being psyched out by Botham. It was this weakness that led to the Border/Simpson revolution. But you're back to where you were 25 years ago. A talented side with a soft underbelly.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

Add Ashes 2005 to that list.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

i think Pakistan vs India t20 final in 2007 should have been mentioned and Pakistan vs South africa in 2010 where Razzaq made the most entertaining , miraculous century and took Pakistan home by 1 wicket, Sharjah cup Match between Pakistan and India in which Miandad scored 6 on the last bowl to win, Pakistan vs England ind Multan in 2005 where England lost a thrilling encounter by 35 runs .... there were a lot of matches except for Pakistan team worth mentioning too but i thing there can never be a top 10 XI cause there ar5e so many of them .

Posted by F.saleem on (February 14, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

That's harsh the 2010 match between SouthAfrica and Pakistan where Abdul razzaq smashed a 100 from no where and turned the game on its head deserves a mention here...and also Austrailia vs Srilanka where Malinga and Mathews won it for Srilanka

Posted by   on (February 14, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

1999 chennai test india vs Pakistan

Posted by Don_Simon on (February 14, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

@rahulcricket007: Yes it was a good delivery, but what to you mean by 'defying the physics laws'? The ball pitched on the leg stump and went across instead of coming back unlike the previous deliveries. Thats all !!

Posted by harshthakor on (February 14, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

I would always include the 1981 England-Australia test match at Leeds where England won after following on and being placed at 133-7 in the 2nd Innnings.Ian Botham's batting resembled a hurricane emerging and Bob Willlis complemented him bowling one of the greatest spells in test history.It was like watching a most unexpected end in a Hollywood classic.Chasing a mere target of 130 runsfor victory the Aussies appeared cruising at 5501 before Bob Willis broke the heart out of their batting.

Other games I would include were the 1999 3rd test of the Frank Worrel Trophy series at Barbados where Lara's unbeaten 153 clinched a thriller,in match when West Indies at 2 junctures seemed certain to lose.I may also add the 2nd test of the last series between S.Africa and Australia which had a series of continuous twists and turns or even the 3rd test of the 1982 series between Pakistan and England at Leeds which England clinched in a thriller.

Posted by thephill on (February 14, 2012, 2:22 GMT)

@Mairaj - a true cricket fan appreciates the history the game of the as much as they do the present stars. There was actually some pretty decent cricket played before the likesTendulkar and Sehwag were around you know? Consider articles like this part or your cricketing education!

Posted by sablue on (February 14, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

Two points to consider-1) India v Australia 1986 Madras-the 'other' tied test & 2) The myth of the 1969 South Africans--wonderful players but lets not forget that they came up against a weary Australian side that had spent 4 months in India and were physically and mentally spent and more importantly they NEVER played against anyone other than England,Australia and New Zealand-hardly fitting to bestow the 'could have been champions if not for isolation' that still keeps on getting bandied about....

Posted by Trinidadian071 on (February 14, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

no recent west indian matches ? no? WI vs Aus - Barbados 1999 , Lara's 153* ...no? WI vs Aus - Antigua ---> WORLD RECORD test chase ....no?

be serious

Posted by drinks.break on (February 13, 2012, 23:03 GMT)

@Michaela Royer, I had always assumed Steven Lynch was British, given the amount he writes about County cricket and the relatively little he writes about Sheffield Shield. I suspect the fact Australia comes up in 10 of his 11 selections is to do with two things:

1. The main thing is Australia's historic strength. Only in the 1980s could Australia be said to have a weak team (there's no other world team you could make that claim for), and since this list focuses on historic matches, Australia is bound to feature more than most.

2. "Australianism" (John Arlott's expression). Is it a myth that Australians, more than any other side, refuse to give up until the last run is scored or the last wicket taken? Perhaps this list is evidence that it isn't.

Posted by Omarrz on (February 13, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

Pakistan vs India Karachi 2006 Test (a.k.a. The Akmal Test) was the most memorable one for me.

Anyway, the hyperlink to this test: India v Australia, Kolkata, 2000-01 is pointing to the The Oval Test of 1882 (Australia vs England)

Posted by Stark62 on (February 13, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

Hello, where is Pak vs Ind Chennai?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

I was at the Australia SA semi Final, all i remember getting the bus back and a distraught South African fan saying 'and Klusener was not out' about 20 times!!

Posted by ahmadz on (February 13, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Pak v Eng 2012 2nd test was in the same line, off course if you were supporting pakistan

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 20:06 GMT)

Here are some of my most memorable matches-

1. The 1948 test Match where Australia managed to scored over 400 on the last day to snatch victory from England. I would have loved to have seen Morris, Bradman and Harvey in action. A feast of great batting. I know I didn't actually see that game, but it would have been awesome to watch

2. The fourth test of the Frank Worrell trophy where West Indies won by One Run, what a tense last day

3. The 2nd Test 0f the 1999 Australia vs Pakistan series at Belrieve where Gilchrist and Langer almost single handedly, batted to also snatch victory

4. World cup 1996 Semi Final at Chandergar, Australia coming from behind to beat west indies and qualify for the final, in a low scoring affair.

5. For sheer humour, I would love to see Ian Healy and Arjuna Ranatunga in action at the 2nd Final of the Benson and Hedges world series cup between Australia and Sri Lanka, Healy calling Ranatunga Porky after Ranatunga came in to bat, hilarious

Posted by Masey on (February 13, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

Edgbaston 2005, a game that gripped the country.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

was that put together by an australian?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

India Vs England - Oval (I forget the year), same test where Gavaskar got 221, India almost got 436 to win, England almost got India all-out (if I remember right, India were 425 for 8 in the end). India Vs WI, Chennai 1974..Vishy Vs Roberts effectively.

Posted by Saad.Z.Khan on (February 13, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

2 matches come to mind immediately: the most recent Eng-Pak test where Pakistan came back from nowhere to win after being shot out for 99 on day1, that too after winning the toss and batting!! and secondly, the 1987 one-day between India and Pakistan in India, where Pakistan were down and out but Saleem Malik played a blinder; 72 off 30-odd, to seal an emphatic win for Pakistan...

Posted by bestbuddy on (February 13, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

I was at the 434 game - at lunch we were so shocked we could barely speak, people in the crowd would randomly start laughing in disbelief. Even when we were 174/1 after 20 overs we were behind the run rate. Every time we got close to having some control Aus took a wicket...then someone played a blinder...and we got closer and closer...four!...wicket!...Ntini on strike, just need him to get a single...glanced to third man! boucher on strike...full ball from lee..and over the top!! FOUR!!! we won!!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

WI V Aus Barbados test 1999

Posted by mikeindex on (February 13, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

How could you not include Lord's 1963???

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

First ever T-20 World Cup Final between the Arch-Rivals.

Posted by MikeHughes on (February 13, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Haven't read all the comments but one game worth a mention is the 1987 One-dayer at Edgbaston between England and Pakistan, the third in a three-game series that was tied at 1-1. Pakistan were 0-2 and had six ducks but still managed to get 213-9 off 55 (Javed 68). England looked out of it at 167-8 before Phil de Freitas came in at No.10 and hit a rapid 33. Yet it still needed last pair Neil Foster and Greg Thomas to win the game by one wicket with three balls left. Best ODI I've ever seen.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

what about the lara's test match, wi vs aus at barbaod 1999

Posted by HumungousFungus on (February 13, 2012, 14:07 GMT)

I would love to have been at the 1955 New Year's test at the MCG in 1955 to witness Frank Tyson delivering what many contemporary accounts consider to be the fastest spell of bowling of all time, ripping through Australia in a spell of 6.3-0-16-6, ably supported by the magnificent Brian Statham at the other end.

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (February 13, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

What about the "Rajkot ODI" between India and Sri Lanka in 2009?.Sri Lanka almost chased the mammoth 414 set by India. SL lost by 3 runs,but a wonderful game of cricket it was!.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Games im glad i got to see live, that i think deserve mention

Australia V West Indies - NY day 1996 - Lets not forget the match and innings that made Michael Bevan an ODI immortal. 4 off the last ball, no problem.

Australia V West Indies - Semi Final WC 96 - Only a couple months after the first match, again australia were gone for all money batting first. Credit to Bevan and Law for getting aus to a decent score, and the collapse by WI after chanderpaul got out triggered by Warney, 2/160 to all out for 202 needing 207

India V Sri Lanka - Semi Final WC 96 - THAT innings by Aravinda, and the dramatic collapse by india after tendulkar departed, i dont think ill ever quite see another match like that one.

England V Australia 2005 Edgbaston - Watched that thinking We (Aus) would lose within quick, 2 hours later, oh so close, but to me, it is the most complete game of cricket i have seen, and even as an australian, i was quite happy to see England win that, the country needed it.

Posted by Sharath281 on (February 13, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

This would be my pick : India V Aus Kolkata 2001; Aus V SA Joburg ODI 2006; Aus V SA Edbagston ODI 1999; WI V Aus Barbados test 1999; India V Pak Chennai 1999; India V Pak Sharjah 1986; India V Pak Blore 1996; India V Aus Madras tied test 1986; Aus V SA Capetown 2011; Eng V Aus 2005 Ashes Edbagston; and Ind V Eng T20 Durban 2007.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

Aus v Eng Adelaide 2007, Warne's magic, Collingwood's double ton in vein

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (February 13, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

where is india -pakistan chennai test 1999 . that match was one of the best i saw . from saeed anwar's patience then mushtaq 's brilinace , then prasad 's bowling , then afridi 's counterattack , then tendulkar's innings in pain & MOST IMPORATNLY WASIM AKRAM 'S MAGICAL BALL TO RAHUL DRAVID WHICH DEFIES ALL PHYSICAL LAWS & HIT THE OFF STUMP .

Posted by kentjones on (February 13, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Steven, thanks for that super legendary matches. I know with the rich history of test cricket ad the many matches that have been played at that time, it is extremely difficult to pick eleven such matches and avoid some of the comments made. Based on the comments posted, it would appear that many cricket fans would have their 'favourite' legendary matches. Perhaps Steven you can do a series of these matches to include factors such as Tied matches, drawn matches with scored tied, narrowest victories in terms of runs and wickets, and any combination of runs or wickets that you can come up with. That way I am sure you can satisfy the many cricket followers all over the world, who would love to see some of their matches given a mention.

Posted by sanzo5 on (February 13, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

i cant think of a better match than the India vs pakistan world cup match on 1st March 2003. 2 and half years in the match with a group of legends palying the game.. nothing beats india pak matches... not to forget the 1999 pak tour of india.. two classic matches and then there is the india australia match from hyd 2009.. 5th odi... its the all time great innings from the master himself...

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

What about johanusberg ODI australia vs south africa? Australia scoring 334 and South Africa chasing it. it was a memorable match surely.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

@mikey76 - I'm perfectly happy with where we are, at the moment. I'll tell you this though, we lost the ashes at home 3-1, sure. But you'd never see an Australian team today roll over and serve up some of the most gutless cricket on record a la India's last two series, or England 06/07 and never even look like winning a game.

Consistently throughout the ages, Australia has been the benchmark team for longer than any other country. That's all there is to it! :)

Posted by Ben-D on (February 13, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

To the people saying "what about the world cup" - read the list, they are test matches. As for the selection of Australian games - it was the author's personal preference for games he would liked to have seen. Completely subjective, and not relevant to compare against what someone else might consider to be a "better" game.

Having been in the stands when Gilchrist scored his 57-ball century, I think the game that I would have liked to have been at would be the 5th Test of West Indies/England in '86 to see Viv Richards score his 56 ball century.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

ashes 2005 .. those 2 close finishes were ultimate

Posted by veethree on (February 13, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

I was at the 438 game in Johannesburg and it certainly deserves to be on that list. Everything about it still seems surreal after several years, but the phenomenal atmosphere in particular was a strong reminder that watching games like this live is so much better than just seeing it on television.

Posted by chickenpoo on (February 13, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

I would put day 5 of the Sydney test against India in 2008. That was the most epic game i've seen...litterally had my jumping up and down at the last over....from my living room

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Given that you talked about 11 Australian games. You actually forgot the 1994 test vs Pakistan at Karachi, which Pakistan went on to win by 1 wicket, putting on 58 for the last wicket.

I was lucky enough to be there all 5 days and it was a classic going down to the wire.

Seriously does anyone actually proof read at cricinfo anymore?

Posted by roarster on (February 13, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

I watched the denouement of the 2005 Ashes match at Edgbaston through my fingers. Given my time again I might try to enjoy a more panoramic view of the gripping spectacle as it unfurled.

Posted by mikey76 on (February 13, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

@Paul Dawson. Erm I think plenty of teams can make that claim. Getting spanked by SA in 1970 or india in 2001 hardly says you play the best cricket. You can add Headingley 81 and Edgbaston 2005 to that. Australia lose entertainingly is about all you can say. Gotta love the Aussies, just cant come to terms with the fact that they aint no.1 anymore.

Posted by Cric_Tic on (February 13, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

India v Pakistan, Bangalore, 1986-87.. In my school days watched this amazing match of fluctuating fortunes..and equal contest between ind-pak. the pitch was mine-field for batsmen..and one of the world's greatest opener Sunil Gavaskar ALMOST carried on his bat to the verge of the victory..!! even Imran n Miandad described tht as one of the best innings ever..! i was fortunate to watch tht match..!

Posted by gibbons on (February 13, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

To be fair, Australia lost the majority of the games listed above. Thought that would have been a plus for most of the people critiquing the choices... (particularly those suggesting he chose the games because of an Australian bias!)

Obviously there's far more than 10 'classics' out there, but for my money, the one that SHOULDN'T be in the list is that joke of a Johannesburg game. Why not just get your grandma to bowl with a tennis ball, if you're going to produce a track that flat - volume of runs doesn't make the cricket automatically good.

Posted by PricelessPak on (February 13, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

oh come on steven.. ! i think any passionate cricket follower can compile better eleven than this, surely they were all close matches but there are many many more equally good or even better, i' m not sure what criteria u have set to select these matches.

Posted by farazzubair on (February 13, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Well for some notion, you did miss out the Port Of Spain Pakistan Vs WI 1988 classic.Those were days when matches from WI were not telecast live. The Ashes Test at Edgbaston of 2005 should have made a say, so should have the WI-Aus encounter in 1993, where WI won by the mere margin of 1 run. Then there is the small matter of a few more Indo-Pak classics. Amongst the ODI's, the Sharjah Miandad classic and the 1999 Chennai test where Sachin gave up with only 17 required for victory and India lost. I guess it would have been more appropriate had you chosen,individual tests instead of picking up a series in total.

Posted by ankit619 on (February 13, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

i think you missed out on india vs pakistan 1999 at chennai. two of the most glorious yet contrasting innings of the time by shahid Afridi and sachin tendulkar in the second innings on a difficult and square turner. Add to it the brilliant bowling performances in each innings by kumble, saqlain and prasad. All together a great match which swung both ways on numerous times during the four days it spanned.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

And that Lords Test, WOn by Double W's with their batting skills.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Come on, Add the 2nd test match between Pakistan and England (2012) in the list where England, chasing a small total of 145 in the second innings, were bowled out for 72 giving Pakistan the unassailable 2-0 lead in the series..

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

1st test Ind Vs Pak 1999, wht abt that ?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

I am confused...........

Sharjah and Miandad's six on last ball didnt get mentioned? Pak vs India semi final of WC............... no mention. Pak vs India quarter of WC ........... no mention. Pak vs England final 1992........... no mention. Pak vs Newzeland semi 1992........... no mention.

but then again I am Pakistani and you are probably Australian and obviously you would want to see Austrailia in the ground and not somebody else.

Though It will be interesting to see which matches the rest of fans would wanna witness. I personally want to see the one where Austrailian, in the great spirit of game rolled the ball to kiwis to avoid a boundry. Now that is something worth watching in person.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

10 of the 11 matches mentioned above involve Australia. Mr.Lynch suffers from memory loss when a cricket match does not involve Australia.

Please, can we have some unbiased writers. Please

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 13, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Your name is Steven and not Kumar or Mohammad. So you surely find no other matches in this catagory than when Australia or England are involved. That India v Pak match must be on intention to avoid it look like a choice of Australias best matches.

Posted by Mr_Force on (February 13, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

How About the one, when shoaib Akhtar got sachin and dravid in successive deliveries and in 2nd ing saqi and akram got ind and won by some 16 runs, I guess that was in Eden garden

Posted by TheGrandMaster on (February 13, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

How could you not want to be there for the underarm...

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

This is my kind of list. The best match I saw was on SKY, West Indies v Australia 1999, Barbados. S.Waugh got 199 and I think Aus made about 450 ish, West Indies were then 98-6, and still managed to win! Lara 153*. You had to see it to believe it! The match was on during my second year uni exams, guess how I did! Also, West Indies v Aus semi final 1996 World Cup. 1981 Headlingly? Was only 2.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (February 13, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

My list will also feature Sachins desert storm and THAT SIX from Javed Miandad.

Posted by ILuvTests on (February 13, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

I am glad that I watched three of them - even though on TV. 1999 - yes was great fun, but then being an Indian helps when such a match happens with Aus and SA! 1987 - I was studying for my CA finals, but just had to stop and watch the sublime Gavaskar play. 2001- memories, memories! In the office, as Laxman nears 200. Running to a TV just to see what is happening. Then the last day. As every wicket fell, the sound from outside starting to become deafening, Then at 8 down, running to the canteen and finding a sea before me all shouting and screaming India on. I get goose bumps as I write this!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

Notice all the best games involve Australia? We clearly play the consistently highest standard of cricket, and in turn inspire other teams to their very best in order to beat us - witness Kolkata 2001, Jo'burg 2006. No other team can make that claim.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

Last ball coming up. Four runs required....you didn't mention that. Blasphemy!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

Awesome read! Glad to know that I saw atleast 3 of these live! btw, the link for the Kolkata match is broken and leads to the test between Eng and Aus instead..

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

I bet if there was any better than Aus vs WI at Barbados 99'

Posted by riverlime on (February 13, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

Steven, I take it you are Australian since all but one of your memorable matches involve Australia. My question therefore is this: Are you writing for Australian fans alone, or does the rest of the world get to join in the fun?

Posted by Meety on (February 13, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

Uh Oh! I can see it now, what about when Sachin made his debut in 1989 against Pakistan? Or what about when India beat Zimbabwe or.......

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

The 120,000 fans that had packed the Eden Gardens on the fifth day would have been, on its own, a memory to cherish for a lifetime. A friend who attended the game commented that you could not hear even your own voice - so noisy was the atmosphere. And the firecrackers that went off in the stands, plus the typical Eden tradition of burning placards and holding them up like torches - Brilliant! Add to this a VVS special and the home team coming back to win from a follow-on - Priceless!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Surprised that a test from the 1988 WI vs Pak series did not get a mention. What an amazing series that was.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

How about India vs Zimbabwe in 1983 World Cup. The match when india was reduced to 17/5 and then Kapil Dev smashed 175. India went on to win the World Cup. Sadly There are no video recording available because of broadcaster's strike that day. It will be worth to watch that match live.

Posted by The_Wicked_Wicket on (February 13, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

Steven, one match that should've been on this list is the Ind Vs Pak Test at Madras (Chennai) in Jan'1999. It was probably the best advert for Test Cricket then and more than anything else, a perfect advert for the spirit of Cricket. A match of fluctuating fortunes, one of the best ever knocks by Sachin, I think the best ever by Afridi and that Akram vs Dravid over! The match ended with India losing by 12 runs, Pak snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! The crowd at Madras was stunned by the last 30 minutes of play, Ind losing 5 wickets for not many. They then gave Akram and his team a standing ovation, appreciating the game, not thinking of the result. The Pak team responded with a victory lap, Akram thanked the crowd for their sporting spirit! I was there through the 4 days of this test that never had a dull moment and still take great pride sharing the experience!! Another one that could go in, incidentally at the same venue again, is the Ind Aus tied test 1986-87!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Surely 438 .. Since i am a SA fan . I wish i was there .. But 1999 Semi is Tragedy

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

I think you have missed a javed six on final ball against India, and Misscoop of the the 1st T20 wc final..... -;)

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Steven you should rename your topic as Memorable Australian matches to watch live ... How can you forget Miandad hitting sixer on the last ball against India in Sharjah.. How come you forget every single world cup game Pakistan and India played .. !! u r funny mate :)

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

I would like to see the Match between Pakistan and India in Banglore when the test series resumed after ten years in 1999. That was an epic match. You have missed it Steven.

also Australia vs Pakistan in Karachi in 1994...who can forget that.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

I was at day 2 and day 4 of the Centenary Test. Lillee taking 6/26 and David Hookes hitting Tony Greig for five successive boundaries were my cricket highlights, but the best part was being part of the great crowds on my first visit to the MCG. Randall and McCosker helped make it an epic match.

Posted by ian_ghose on (February 13, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

I suppose you didn't include the 2005 Ashes in this list because you did see those matches first hand. Is that right?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

the 05-06 3rd indo-pak test at karachi.. irfan pathan's hat-trick, razzaq's & kamran akmal's innnings :)

Posted by Mairaj on (February 13, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

Looks like a very OLD man wrote this article, most internet users may not be able to relate with these matches. List should not have matches older than 30- 35 yrs

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

An interesting list of contests... cant believe though that the 2005 Ashes encounter which witnessed stellar performances from Flintoff, Pieterson, Warne and in the end a heart-breaking defeat after Lee-Kasper partnership, isnt here.. I would definitely love being der. Or the recent Farcical Test between SA and Aus, where bowlers from either ends created havoc. Considering I could remember 2 from the recent past, I bet there are plenty more in the history.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

The India Australia tied test match was one for the ages too. Everyone debates for weeks after that whether Ravi Shastri should have taken the single to expose Maninder Singh or not.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

India-England World Cup 2011?

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (February 13, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Chennai match with india vs pakistan (tendulkar not making it), Sri Lanka's 1 wicket win against South Africa in Lanka, and that one match of pakistan vs australia in australia

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

what about the Ashes 2005 england australia

Posted by boehj on (February 13, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

I was up on the hill at Adelaide Oval for the fifth day of 'Amazing Adelaide' (2nd Test 06/07 Ashes). Both Ponting & Warne rate it as one of their favourite Tests. It was unreal.

Posted by FLIPPER_99 on (February 13, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

well out of a modern day great cricket match i suppose the 1st match between SL vs. AUS in the 3 match ODI series in 2010 wen SL were 120 odd for 8 wickets Angelo mathews and lasith malinga both scored 50+ in a 100+ partnership to win the game 4 SL n ultimately win their 1st series in AUS.. that deserved a mention

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

I would have loved to be at the WACA for the One Day Semi Final in 1976 where WA successfully defended 77 on the back of Dennis Lillee's 4 wickets


Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

It is sad that the greatest West Indian team and possibly the best in the world under Clive Llyod was ignored. Their England series & Australia series in which they won are worth remembering by the history.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2012, 3:51 GMT)

wonder why some of these old classic match highlight videos are not released.

Posted by Aubm on (February 13, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

I would have loved to be there when Warnie took his 700th wicket at the MCG on route to thrashing the Poms 5-0. Oh wait, I was, HAHA best cricket match ever!!! (For a biassed Aussie like myself).

On an unbiassed note, would have loved to see the game when Tendulkar just fell short of scripting that win against Pak, Lara's 153*, Botham's match, England 43 all out against Ambrose/Walsh.

Posted by donda on (February 13, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

You forgot to add Pakistan vs India final in 1986 at Sharjah when Miandad hit last ball six to win the final with last man playing and last ball required 3 runs. That was awesome. How could you miss Miandad last ball six match in this IX. It brought ODI cricket to next level .

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Steven LynchClose
Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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