From Lord's to the Bellerive Oval, 2000

A hundred matches of the century

Steven Lynch

No list of this kind can possibly be definitive, and the one that follows is as subjective, biased and open to argument as anyone else's. It is based on the fantasy that every cricket match reported in Wisden might somehow be available on some kind of celestial videotape; if so, these are the hundred that might be the most fascinating to borrow from St Peter's library.

Record-breaking matches have not been chosen for their own sake, and some of the most famous occasions in cricket have been excluded. Many agonising decisions had to be taken, and some of those games that have made the final list might not be worth watching all the way through; we assume that the video machine will have a fast-forward facility.

But this selection offers a range of the best that cricket has to offer: great batting, great bowling, great drama, great excitement great achievements... A handful of the games represented nothing more than county cricket at its most beguiling and idyllic. Others showed cricket at its most thrilling and intense. Every one was undeniably very special.

YearVenueSeeWisden
1. 1900 Gentlemen (297 and 339) lost to Players (136 and 502-8) by two wickets Lord's1901 p. 343
The professionals won after being set 501.
2. 1901 Somerset (87 and 630) beat Yorkshire (325 and 113) by 279 runs Leeds1902 p. 17
Sensational-- Wisden. Yorkshire lost in 1901 and 1902 to lowly Somerset but to no other county.
3. 1902 Australia(299 and 86) beat England (262 and 120) by three runs Manchester1903 p. 275
Fred Tate's match -- he dropped a vital catch and was last out in his only Test.
4. 1902 Australia(324 and 121) lost to England (183 and 263-9) by one wicket The Oval1903 p. 282
The next Test -- 104 in 75 minutes by Jessop, then Hirst and Rhodes supposedly got'em in singles.
5. 1903 Somerset(253 and 371) lost to Middlesex (312 and 316-8) by two wickets Taunton1904 p. 163
Set 313 in 3½ hours, Middlesex got home with 15 minutes to spare.
6. 1904 Essex(597 and 97) lost to Derbyshire (548 and 149-1) by nine wickets Chesterfield1905 p. 168
Percy Perrin made 343 not out and finished on the losing side.
7. 1907 Middlesex(286 and 213) beat Somerset (236 and 97) by 166 runs Lord's1908 p. 134
Albert Trott took two hat-tricks (one a four-in-four) in his benefit match.
8. 1907-08 Australia(266 and 397) lost to England (382 and 282-9) by one wicket Melbourne1909 p. 503
A wild last-ball throw gave England victory and prevented the first Testtie.
9. 1907-08 South Australia(349 and 519) beat New South Wales (276 and 572) by 20 runs Sydney1909 p. 522
New South Wales were set 593.
10. 1908-09 Western Province(126 and 232) beat Transvaal (170 and 182) by six runs Cape Town1910 p. 504
Fred Le Roux, batting one-handed, just failed to secure Transvaal's fifth successive Currie Cup.
11. 1909-10 South Africa(208 and 345) beat England (310 and 224) by 19 runs Johannesburg1911 p. 493
Twenty-eight wickets fell to leg-spin, googlies and lobs.
12. 1910 Harrow(232 and 45) lost to Eton (67 and 219) by nine runs Lord's1911 p. 299
Fowler's match: he hit 64 when Eton, following on, were 169-9 - then took 8-23.
13. 1910 Nottinghamshire(376 and 185) lost to Lancashire (162 and 403-8) by two wickets Manchester1911 p. 74
The first score of 400 to win a Championship match -- Lancashire did it again six weeks later.
14. 1910-11 South Africa(482 and 360) beat Australia (465 and 339) by 38 runs Adelaide1912 p. 514
South Africa beat Australiafor the first time, despite 214 not out from Victor Trumper.
15. 1911 Nottinghamshire(238 and 412) drew with Sussex (414 and 213-8) Hove1912 p. 225
Alletson's inningsfor Nottinghamshire: 189 in 90 minutes batting No 9.
16. 1919 Somerset(243 and 103) tied with Sussex (242 and 104) Taunton1920 p. 103
Declared a tie when Sussex's sickly last man, H. J. Heygate, took too long getting to the crease.
17. 1920 Middlesex(268 and 316-7 dec.) beat Surrey (341-9 dec. and 188) by 55 runs Lord's1921 p. 50
A crucial Championship match ( never to be forgotten-- Wisden), watched by huge crowds.
18. 1921 Surrey(269 and 184) lost to Middlesex (132 and 322-4) by six wickets Lord's1922 p. 104
Another last-match Championship decider.
19. 1921An England XI (43 and 326) beat Australians(174 and 167) by 28 runsEastbourne1922 p. 47
Archie MacLaren promised his amateurs could beat the all-conquering Aussies -- and they did.
20. 1922 Warwickshire(223 and 158) lost to Hampshire (15 and 521) by 155 runs Birmingham1923 p. 271
Hampshire were 186-6 following on -- but walked it. Frank Keating's County Match of the Century.
21. 1925 Somerset(167 and 374) lost to Surrey (359 and 183-0) by ten wickets Taunton1926 p. 351
Jack Hobbs equalled W.G.'s record 126 hundreds in first innings- and passed it in the second.
22. 1926 Lancashire(336 and 243-5 dec.) beat Kent (154 and 392) by 33 runs Dover1927 p. 156
Fascinating... and everything done in a beautiful cricket field- Cardus.
23. 1927-28 New South Wales(519 and 150) lost to South Australia (481 and 189-9) by one wicket Adelaide1929 p. 670
Don Bradman made 118 on his first-class debut, but finished on the losing side.
24. 1928-29 South Australia(185 and 183) lost to Queensland (188 and 181-9) by one wicket Brisbane1930 p. 713
Clarrie Grimmett took a hat-trick, dropped a catch, and gave away the winning overthrow.
25. 1930 England(425 and 375) lost to Australia (729-6 dec. and 72-3) by seven wickets Lord's1931 p. 28
Bradman regarded his 254 as his greatest innings.
26. 1930 Australia (566) drew with England (391 and 95-3). Leeds1931 p. 33
Bradman scored 334, including 309 in a day.
27. 1932-33 England(341 and 412) beat Australia (222 and 193) by 338 runs Adelaide1934 p. 652
A disgrace to cricket- Wisden, but the fiercest match of the fiercest-ever series.
28. 1934 England(440) beat Australia (284 and 118) by an innings and 38 runs Lord's1935 p. 28
England's only Ashes win at Lord's in the 20th century.
29. 1934-35 West Indies(102 and 51-6 dec.) lost to England (81-7 dec. and 75-6) by four wickets Bridgetown1936 p. 621
A thrilling match on a spiteful, rain-affected pitch.
30. 1935 Somerset(337) beat Essex (141 and 147) by an innings and 49 runs Frome1936 p. 379
Harold Gimblett made 123 in 80 minutes: the most remarkable debut of all.
31. 1937-38 Western Province(474 and 120-2) beat Eastern Province (221 and 369) by eight wickets Cape Town1939 p. 816†
Western Provinceneeded 26 with one (eight-ball) over left. Pieter van der Bijl hit 446644.
32. 1938 England(658-8 dec.) drew with Australia (411 and 427-6 dec.) Nottingham1939 p. 218
Stan McCabe's 232: the greatest innings ever played-- Sir Donald Bradman.
33. 1939 Derbyshire(193 and 148) beat Gloucestershire (81 and 259) by one run Cheltenham1940 p. 317
Chasing 261, Gloucestershire were 246-5.
34. 1944-45 Bombay(462 and 764) beat Holkar (360 and 492) by 374 runs Bombay1946 p. 242§
Denis Compton (in India due to the war) scored 249 not out as Holkar valiantly chased 867.
35. 1945The Dominions (307 and 336) beat England(287 and 311) by 45 runs Lord's1946 p. 151
Joyous end-of-war run-feast. The perfect game- Denzil Batchelor.
36. 1945-46 Barbados(246 and 619-3 dec.) drew with Trinidad (194 and 576-8) Port-of-Spain1947 p. 632†
Walcott 314, Worrell 255, Gomez 213, all not out. Merciless hitting- Wisden.
37. 1947 England(554-8 dec. and 26-0) beat South Africa (327 and 252) by ten wickets Lord's1948 p. 206
Compton and Bill Edrich put on 370: the apogee of 1940s cricket.
38. 1947 Middlesex(180 and 141) beat Gloucestershire (153 and 100) by 68 runs Cheltenham1948 p. 325
Tom Goddard took 15 wickets, but still Gloucestershire could not be champions.
39. 1948 Australians(721) beat Essex (83 and 187) by an innings and 451 runsSouthend1949 p. 221
The Australiansscored 721 in a day ( Bradman187), and hardly seemed to hurry.
40. 1948 England(496 and 365-8 dec.) lost to Australia (458 and 404-3) by seven wickets Leeds1949 p. 244
Bradman's Invincibles made light of a final-day target of 404.
41. 1948-49 South Africa(161 and 219) lost to England (253 and 128-8) by two wickets Durban1950 p. 773
England won with a last-ball leg-bye.
42. 1950 West Indies(326 and 425-6 dec.) beat England (151 and 274) by 326 runs Lord's1951 p. 231
The Calypso Test: Caribbean cricket came of age.
43. 1950 Gentlemen(325 and 235-4 dec.) drew with Players (308-9 dec. and 242-9) Lord's1951 p. 276
Freddie Brown scored 122 out of 131 in 110 minutes -- and was promptly made Englandcaptain.
44. 1951-52 West Indies(272 and 203) lost to Australia (216 and 260-9) by one wicket Melbourne1953 p. 829
Last pair Doug Ring and Bill Johnston added 38 for an unlikely win.
45. 1953 Warwickshire(45 and 52) lost to Surrey (146) by an innings and 49 runs The Oval1954 p. 541
All over in a day: Surrey on the march to the second of seven successive titles.
46. 1955 Surrey(268 and 75) lost to Yorkshire (166 and 178-4) by six wickets Leeds1956 p. 640
The atmosphere resembled that of a Test match- Wisden. Yorkshire won with 11 minutesleft.
47. 1956 England(459) beat Australia (84 and 205) by an innings and 170 runs Manchester1957 p. 259
Laker's Test.
48. 1956-57 Victoria(244 and 197) tied with New South Wales (281 and 160)St Kilda1958 p. 875
A Christmas Shield classic; heroic batting from Ian Craig (sick) and Jimmy Burke (broken finger).
49. 1959 Sussex(210 and 311) lost to Yorkshire (307 and 218-5) by five wickets Hove1960 p. 591
Yorkshire clinched the Championship by reaching target of 215 in 105 minutes with seven to spare.
50. 1960 Yorkshire(154 and 149) lost to Lancashire (226 and 81-8) by two wickets Manchester1961 p. 459
An edged four off the last ball gave Lancashire a famous Roses win.
51. 1960-61 West Indies(453 and 284) tied with Australia (505 and 232) Brisbane1962 p. 842
A deadeye direct-hit run-out by Joe Solomonin the last over created Test cricket's first tie.
52. 1960-61 West Indies(393 and 432-6 dec.) drew with Australia (366 and 273-9) Adelaide1962 p. 850
Last pair Ken Mackay and Lindsay Kline survived for 110 minutes to draw the Fourth Test.
53. 1961 Australia(190 and 432) beat England (367 and 201) by 54 runs Manchester1962 p. 306
Set 256, England were 150-1 - then Richie Benaud went around the wicket.
54. 1961-62 South Australia(190 and 459-8 dec.) beat New South Wales (249 and 270) by 130 runs Adelaide1963 p. 944
Garry Sobers scored 251 and took nine wickets, first with swing, then with spin.
55. 1963 West Indies(301 and 229) drew with England (297 and 228-9) Lord's1964 p. 290
Broken-armed Colin Cowdreywent out to bat in the final over, with all four results possible.
56. 1964-65Railways (910-6 dec.) beat Dera Ismail Khan (32 and 27) by an innings and 851 runs Lahore1966 p. 891†
The largest margin of victory in first-class cricket - and DlK's only first-class game
57. 1968 England(494 and 181) beat Australia (324 and 125) by 226 runs The Oval1969 p. 316
The crowd mopped up the pitch, and Englandwon with six minutes to spare.
58. 1968-69 Western Australia(615-5 dec.) beat Queensland (282 and 258) by an innings and 75 runs Brisbane1970 p. 929
Six months before his car accident, Colin Milburn scored 243, 181 of them in a session.
59. 1968-69 West Indies(276 and 616) drew with Australia (533 and 339-9) Adelaide1970 p. 898
Set 360, Australia were 304-3, then hung on to draw against the new ball.
60. 1969 Glamorgan (241 and 284-8 dec.) beat Essex (336-7 dec. and 188) by one run Swansea1970 p. 402
Last-ball run-outsealed victory -- and Glamorgan clinched the Championship three days later.
61. 1969-70 South Africa(622-9 dec.) beat Australia (157 and 336) by an innings and 129 runs Durban1971 p. 894
A taste of what the world missed: Graeme Pollock 274, Barry Richards140.
62. 1970 England(222 and 376) lost to Rest of World(376-9 dec. and 226-8) by two wickets Leeds1971 p. 301
Closest encounter of a star-studded series.
63. 1971 Gloucestershire(229-6) lost to Lancashire (230-7) by three wickets Manchester1972 p.758
The moonlit Gillette Cup semi-final, ending at 8.50, causing havoc with BBC schedules.
64. 1972 England(272 and 116) lost to Australia (308 and 81-2) by eight wickets Lord's1973 p. 317
England undone by 16 wickets from debutant swing bowler Bob Massie.
65. 1972 Surrey(300-4 dec. and 130-5 dec.) drew with Sussex(226-5 dec. and 202-9) Eastbourne1973 p. 554
Set 205, Sussex were 187-1 before Pat Pocock took seven wickets in 11 balls.
66. 1974-75 Australia(309 and 288-5 dec.) beat England (265 and 166) by 166 runs Brisbane1976 p. 934
Jeff Thomson's ferocious arrival.
67. 1975 West Indies(291-8) beat Australia (274) by 17 runs Lord's1976 p. 318
The epic first World Cup final, which finished at 8.43 p.m.
68. 1976 West Indies(687-8 dec. and 182-0 dec.) beat England (435 and 203) by 231 runs The Oval1977 p. 339
Michael Holding bowled sensationally on an unhelpful pitch.
69. 1976-77 Australia(138 and 419-9 dec.) beat England (95 and 417) by 45 runs Melbourne1978 p. 130
The showpiece Centenary Test, which produced exactly the same result as the first one.
70. 1977 England (436) beat Australia (103 and 248) by an innings and 85 runs Leeds1978 p. 338
England regained the Ashes - and Geoff Boycott made his 100th hundred on his home ground.
71. 1977-78 World XI(625) beat Australian Xl (393 and 159) by an innings and 73 runs Perth1979 p. 1007
The best of World Series Cricket: Barry and Viv Richards batting brilliantly together.
72. 1981 Australia(401-9 dec. and 111) lost to England (174 and 356) by 18 runs Leeds. 1982 p. 326
A century by Ian Bothamand bowling by Bob Willis gave Englandvictory - at 500 to 1.
73. 1981 England (189 and 219) beat Australia (258 and 121) by 29 runs Birmingham1982 p. 330
This time Botham took 5-1 for another turnaround win, England's greatest for a fortnight.
74. 1981 Sussex (208 and 144) drew with Nottinghamshire (102 and 223-9) Nottingham1982 p. 536
Nottinghamshire held on in a crucial Championship fixture.
75. 1982 Warwickshire(523-4 dec. and 111) lost to Lancashire (414-6 dec. and 226-0) by ten wickets Southport1983 p. 483
Warwickshire made 523 in a day - and lost. Graeme Fowler hit two hundreds with a runner.
76. 1982-83 England(284 and 294) beat Australia (287 and 288) by three runs Melbourne1984 p. 897
Allan Border and Jeff Thomson, the last pair, needed 74 - and made 70 of them.
77. 1983 India(266-8) beat Zimbabwe (235) by 31 runs. Tunbridge Wells1984 p. 308
Kapil Dev(175 not out)rescued India from 17-5 - and they went on to win the third World Cup.
78. 1983 Yorkshire (239 and 184-9 dec.) lost to Warwickshire (125 and 302-9) by one wicket Birmingham1984 p. 574
Last pair Geoff Humpage and Bob Willis added 64 for victory.
79. 1984 West Indies(272-9) beat England (168) by 104 runs Manchester1985 p. 287
Viv Richards scored phenomenal 189 not out to rescue West Indies from 102-7 and 166-9.
80. 1985-86 India(245-7) lost to Pakistan (248-9) by one wicket Sharjah1987 p. 1029
Javed Miandad hit the last ball of the match for six.
81. 1986 Sussex(283-9 dec. and 173-3 dec.) lost to Northamptonshire(136 and 321-9) by one wicket Hastings1987 p. 575
Cricket somewhere near to perfection with sun and sea breezes- Matthew Engel.
82. 1986-87 Australia(574-7 dec. and 170-5 dec.) tied with India(397 and 347) Madras1988 p. 937
Test cricket's second tie.
83. 1986-87 Pakistan(116 and 249) beat India (145 and 204) by 16 runs Bangalore1988 p. 995
Pakistan's first series win in India, in doubt until Gavaskar, in his last Test innings, fell for 96.
84. 1987-88 Pakistan(309 and 262) lost to West Indies (306 and 268-8) by two wickets Bridgetown1989 p. 990
Ninth-wicket pairadded 61 as West Indies squared an exciting series.
85. 1990 England(653-4 dec. and 272-4 dec.)beat India (454 and 224) by 247 runs Lord's1991 p. 333
Gooch's 333, Kapil Dev's four successive sixes - but Azharuddin's 121 was perhaps best of all.
86. 1991 Kent (381 and 408-7 dec.) tied with Sussex (353 and 436) Hove1992 p. 594
Sussex scored 402 on the final day.
87. 1992-93 Australia(256 and 471) beat Sri Lanka (547-8 dec. and 164) by 16 runs Colombo1994 p.1000
Shane Warne's first hint of greatness - 3-11 as the last eight wickets tumbled for 37.
88. 1992-93 West Indies(252 and 146) beat Australia (213 and 184) by one run Adelaide1994 p. 1057
Set 186, Australia were 102-8, recovered, then fell.
89. 1993 Sussex(321-6) lost to Warwickshire (322-5) by five wickets Lord's1994 p. 661
This NatWest final produced the highest aggregate - and a pulsating last-ball finish.
90. 1993-94 South Africa(169 and 239) beat Australia (292 and 111) by five runs Sydney1995 p. 1084
Another Australiancollapse in the face of a simple target.
91. 1994-95 Australia(337 and 232) lost to Pakistan (256 and 315-9) by one wicket Karachi1996 p. 1030
Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed put on 57, the best by a last pair to win a Test.
92. 1995 Northamptonshire (152 and 346) beat Warwickshire (224 and 267) by seven runs Birmingham1996 p. 632
Nerve-shredding- Wisden. The way county cricket should beplayed- Allan Lamb.
93. 1995-96 Kenya(166) beat West Indies (93) by 73 runs Pune1997 p. 1024
The World Cup's greatest upset.
94. 1995-96 India(271-3) lost to Sri Lanka (272-4) by six wickets Delhi1997 p. 1026
The Sri Lankans woke up world cricket with 42 in the first three overs.
95. 1996-97 Zimbabwe(376 and 234) drew with England (406 and 204-6) Bulawayo1998 p. 1003
The only Test to finish as a draw with the scores level.
96. 1997 France(267-9) beat Germany (266) by one run.Zuoz, Switzerland1998 p. 1320§
European Nations Cup final: David Bordes staggered the vital leg-bye with a fractured skull.
97. 1997-98 West Indies(159 and 210) lost to England (145 and 225-7) by three wickets Port-of-Spain1999 p. 1036
Second of two Trinidad nail-biters in successive weeks.
98. 1998-99 Australia(490 and 146) lost to West Indies (329 and 311-9) by one wicket Bridgetown2000 p. 1227
Brian Lara's magnificent 153 not out swept his side to an unlikely victory.
99. 1999 Australia (213) tied with South Africa (213) Birmingham2000 p. 486
The greatest World Cup match. Australia went through to the final on a tiebreak.
100. 1999-2000 Pakistan(222 and 392) lost to Australia (246 and 369-6) by four wickets Hobart2000 p. 1573‡
Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist led Australia from 126-5 to a stunning win.

†potted scorecard only.

‡potted scorecard only; full report in Wisden 2001.

§mentioned; full scores not reported.

Note: from match No. 7 to No. 30, the page numbers refer to Part II of Wisden.

© John Wisden & Co