The Ashes has a huge place in the history of test cricket. Both nations have always given their everything and have produced some brilliant games for more than a century now. The number of close matches between the nations has been huge in number and has shown just how closely matched both the teams are.
On the eve of the upcoming Ashes series, we have put together a list of victories with closest margins by both teams over the years with a hope to have such games repeated in the 2015 Ashes series.
England at the Oval in 1902
After the close finish in Manchester, the two teams produced another thrilling game at the Oval. Australia scored a healthy 324 in the first innings and was leading by 141 runs after the first innings. Their second innings score of just 121 gave England a sniff at victory but the deteriorating conditions gave England a hard time. A century from L Jessop would have gone in vain if W Rhodes and H Hirst had not seen off England to a 1 wicket victory.
England at Melbourne in 1908
The 1908 series in Australia between the two teams was known for this game. In the second test at the MCG, England had a healthy lead of 116 runs after scoring 382 runs batting second. Australia fought back hard and scored 397 runs in their 2nd innings and gave England a target of 281. A Fielder, the last batsman for England along with S Barnes, who came in at number 9, won the game for their team in a close finish. This 1 wicket victory was one of the closest finishes to a test match between the two teams.
England at the Oval by 2 wickets
In a low scoring match in the 1890 Ashes series in England, both teams failed to score big but had control of the game with good bowling figures. Australia were bowled out for 92 runs in their first innings and managed to set only 95 runs for victory for England in the fourth innings. A five for from C Turner made it pretty hard for England but keeper G MacGregor and J Sharpe gave England a memorable 2 wicket victory with some sensible batting in the end.
Australia at Sydney by 2 wickets
In 1907/08 season of the Ashes, both teams played a high scoring match in which England started well with 273 runs in the first innings. The next two innings saw both teams score 300 runs as Australia were set a target of 273 runs in their last innings. The 8th wicket partnership of 56 runs by A Cotter and G Hazlitt saw Australia take the game away with just 2 wickets in hand. Australia also took a 1-0 lead in the series with the victory.
Australia at Manchester by 3 wickets
The second test match in the 1896 Ashes series saw Australia dominate after two innings in the match. They score more than 400 runs in their first innings and asked England to follow on after bundling them out for 231 runs.
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However, England bounced back and scored 305 runs in their 2nd innings and gave Australia a target of 125. Australia managed to score the runs with small contributions from all their batsmen as they lost 7 wickets in the process. The match finished with tense scenes as Australia almost collapsed at the end.
It is not a surprise that both the teams have played many close games with the amount if talent in both squads. With the longest format of the game affected by the T20 format, we may be able to witness even better matches in the upcoming series. Make sure you do not miss out on the action.