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Australian cricket team in England in 1997

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Title: Australian cricket team in England in 1997  
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Subject: The Ashes, Australian cricket team in England in 1893, Australian cricket team in England in 1938, Australian cricket team in England in 1896, Australian cricket team in England in 1890
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Australian cricket team in England in 1997

1997 Ashes series
Date 5 June 1997 – 25 August 1997
Location England
Result Australia won the 6-Test series 3-2
Player of the series Glenn McGrath (Aus) and Graham Thorpe (Eng)
 England  Australia
Michael Atherton Mark Taylor
Most runs
Graham Thorpe (453)
Nasser Hussain (431)
Alec Stewart (268)
Matthew Elliott (556)
Steve Waugh (390)
Greg Blewett (381)
Most wickets
Andrew Caddick (24)
Dean Headley (16)
Darren Gough (16)
Glenn McGrath (36)
Shane Warne (24)
Jason Gillespie (16)

The Australian cricket team toured England in the 1997 season to play a six-match Ashes Test series against England. Australia, under Mark Taylor, won the series 3-2 with strong batting performances from Matthew Elliott supporting the decisive bowling of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie.

England had enjoyed good form leading up to the series, with a 3-0 One Day International victory, and success in New Zealand, however after winning convincingly in the first Test the host team struggled. Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain both managed to score over 400 runs for England, with Andrew Caddick the leading wicket-taker.


  • Prelude 1
  • Matches 2
    • First Test 2.1
    • Second Test 2.2
    • Third Test 2.3
    • Fourth Test 2.4
    • Fifth Test 2.5
    • Sixth Test 2.6
  • Notes 3
  • External links 4


The previous series over the winter of 1994-95, hosted in Australia, saw the host nation win 3-1. Australia, however, entered the 1997 series with a number of injuries and poor form. Mark Taylor had also suffered what Wisden referred to as "personal purgatory",[1] involving a pay dispute with the Australian Cricket Board.[2] His captaincy was itself in question until April 1997.[3] Matthew Elliott's selection and the reshuffle of Michael Bevan's position in the batting order also attracted media speculation.[4]

England, in contrast, were enjoying strong form.[1] Alec Stewart had been named player of the year, and experienced Michael Atherton reselected as captain.[5] In the media, the Daily Telegraph heralded a "new England".[6] John Crawley's surprise selection for the ODI series was seen as a wise decision by Christopher Martin-Jenkins,[7] while Australia lost warm-up practice at Durham due to rain.[8]

Australia were whitewashed during the ODI Texaco series. Australian cricketer Ian Chappell in particular voiced his concerns over Taylor's responsibility.[9] England, on the other hand, gained a sense of optimism about the coming Test series. Qamar Ahmed, of the Daily Telegraph, wrote that "I have rarely seen Australia bowl so badly and field so poorly. They were guilty of exactly that in the last three matches and their batting with their out-of-form captain Mark Taylor makes them even a lot fractious than they should be with the abundance of talent that they have on tour."[10] Christopher Martin-Jenkins echoed such sentiments, stating that England's "hopes of winning the Ashes are growing."[11] Atherton himself wrote in the media of his pride regarding "England's young lions" during the ODI series.[12]

Australia were not without their own confidence. Chappell highlighted the role of Shane Warne in the media,[13] while England bowler Dean Headley was ruled out of the opening Test with an injury.[14] Nick Knight and Phil Tufnell were both left out of the final eleven, and Dominic Cork also picked up an injury.[1] Nevertheless, Australia entered the first Test under pressure.[15]


First Test

5–8 June
118 (31.5 overs)
SK Warne 47 (46)
AR Caddick 5/50 [11.5]
478/9d (138.4 overs)
N Hussain 207 (337)
MS Kasprowicz 4/113 [39]
477 (144.4 overs)
MA Taylor 129 (296)
D Gough 3/123 [35]
119/1 (79 overs)
MA Atherton 57 (87)
MS Kasprowicz 1/42 [7]
England win by 9 wickets
Edgbaston, Birmingham
Umpires: SA Bucknor (WI) and P Willey (Eng)
Player of the match: N Hussain (Eng)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • MA Butcher (Eng) made his Test debut.

The first Test saw 72,693 in attendance across its four days, bringing in £1,588,593 in revenue.[1] Australia batted first after winning the toss, and rapidly collapsed to 54/8, before Warne and Michael Kasprowicz combined to bring Australia to 110 before the latter fell. Warne fell to Caddick three short of a half century, giving the England bowler a five-wicket haul, with Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm picking up three and two respectively.[16] When England fell to 16/2, the pitch was initially blamed in the media,[1] however Hussain and Thorpe scored a career-best 207 and 138 respectively in a 288-run partnership which became a record 4th-wicket partnership for England against Australia.[1] Warne eventually dismissed Hussain, and Thorpe was removed by McGrath, however a late order career-best 53 not out from Mark Ealham saw England to 478 for nine declared.[16]

Australia fared better in their second innings, reaching 477 all out thanks to "a heroic century" by Taylor – who scored 129 along with Greg Blewett who scored 125. Eliott scored 66, however no other Australian batsman passed 50. Three wickets were shared each between Gough, Robert Croft and Ealham, leaving England a target of 118 runs. Mark Butcher, on debut, was dismissed by Kasprowicz for 14, however Atherton reached 57 and Stewart reached 40 before hitting the winning runs.[1][16] Stewart also passed 5,000 Test runs during his knock, and Wisden record that "Victory brought an outpouring of elation, in front of the pavilion and across the country; people suddenly felt the little urn could, indeed, be recaptured." Hussain received the Man of the Match award for his double century.[1]

Second Test

19–23 June
77 (42.3 overs)
GP Thorpe 21 (49)
GD McGrath 8/38 [20.3]
213/7d (61 overs)
MTG Elliot 112 (180)
AR Caddick 4/71 [22]
266/4d (79 overs)
MA Butcher 87 (210)
SK Warne 2/47 [19]
Match drawn
Lord's, London
Umpires: D Shepherd (Eng) and S Venkataraghavan (Ind)
Player of the match: GD McGrath (Aus)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to field.
  • No play was possible on Day 1 due to rain.
  • Play on Day 2 was reduced to 21 overs due to rain.

The second Test match was affected by rain.[17][18] Australia had last been defeated at Lord's in 1934, however the draw here ended a run of 18 consecutive results for the visiting team.[17] England lost the toss and were put in to bat, on a difficult pitch,[17] and were dismissed for 77 thanks to eight wickets from McGrath. It was the lowest England total since 1888, and the third best performance with the ball by an Australian Test player.[18] Only Hussain, Thorpe and Gough reached double figures, Thorpe top-scoring with 21. Paul Reiffel took the two other wickets, and Australia quickly surpassed the low target with only two wickets down. Thanks to a knock of 112 from Elliott, Australia declared at 213/7. Stewart had left the field for part of the innings due to back spasms, and Crawley had kept wicket.[18]

England replied with a more solid 266 for four.[18] Butcher and Atherton constructed the majority of the innings, with 87 and 77 respectively, and some quick scoring by Thorpe and Crawley – who both remained not out – allowed England to reach their score at 3.36 runs an over.[18] The declaration came after Butcher fell, and the game had been safely batted out to a draw.[17]

Third Test

3–7 July
235 (77.3 overs)
SR Waugh 108 (174)
DW Headley 4/72 [27.3]
162 (84.4 overs)
MA Butcher 51 (140)
SK Warne 6/48 [30]
395/8d (122 overs)
SR Waugh 116 (271)
DW Headley 4/104 (29)
200 (73.4 overs)
JP Crawley 83 (151)
GD McGrath 4/46 [21]
Australia won by 268 runs
Old Trafford, Manchester
Umpires: G Sharpe (Eng) and S Venkataraghavan (Ind)
Player of the match: SR Waugh (Aus)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • DW Headley (Eng) made his Test debut.

England brought Headley in to debut in the Third Test, while Australia brought Jason Gillespie to replace Kasprowicz.[19] Australia, batting first having won the toss, reached 235 runs thanks largely to a century by Steve Waugh, while Headley took four wickets and Gough three.[20] Headley bowled an intimidating spell – coming "straight into the action, striking Taylor on the helmet as he ducked into a bouncer in his opening over." Dropped catches, however, hampered England's bowling performance.[19] Butcher hit 51 and Stewart 30 as England responded with 162, largely hemmed back by a six wicket haul from Warne, and three for McGrath.[20] Butcher, dismissed by a stumping, provided Healy with his 100th Test dismissal in Ashes tests.[19]

Australia increased their lead with a second innings score of 395, thanks again to Steve Waugh's century, 116 runs on this occasion. His 14th century made him the first Australian batsman to score a hundred in both innings since 1989, and the first instance of this feat in a Test between Australia and England since Arthur Morris and Denis Compton in 1947.[20] Australia left England 469 runs to win,[19] and despite Crawley's knock of 83, England were dismissed for 200 runs, thanks to four wickets from McGrath and three for both Warne and Gillespie. During the innings, Warne overtook Richie Benaud as the most successful Test leg-spin bowler, taking his 249th Test wicket.[20] Australia thus levelled the series in front of an 87,829 strong crowd.[19]

Fourth Test

24–28 July
172 (59.4 overs)
MA Atherton 41 (143)
JN Gillespie 7/37 [13.4]
501/9d (123 overs)
MTG Elliott 199 (351)
D Gough 5/149 [36]
268 (91.1 overs)
N Hussain 105 (181)
PR Reiffel 5/80 [21.1]
Australia won by an innings and 61 runs
Headingley, Leeds
Umpires: MJ Kitchen (Eng) and CJ Mitchley (SA)
Player of the match: JN Gillespie (Aus)
  • Australia won the toss and elected to field.
  • Play on Day 1 reduced to 36 overs due to rain.
  • AM Smith (Eng) made his Test debut.

England announced the same team for the First Test bar Mike Smith who was brought in over Caddick, while Australia lodged a complaint against David Graveney for his decision to change pitches two weeks before the Test.[21] Australia won the toss and chose to bowl in the 36 overs permitted in a rain affected first day. Ending on 103/3, England collapsed on the second day to 172 all out, thanks to a seven-wicket haul from Gillespie.[22] Atherton scored 41 from 143 deliveries, however no other batsman passed 30. In response, Elliott (199) and Ashes débutant Ricky Ponting's maiden Test century (127) brought Australia to 501/9 declared, with an expensive five-wicket haul for Gough, who went for 149 runs.[22]

England attempted to regain control, however they struggled initially, falling to 89/4.[22] A 123-run partnership between Hussain – his 105 being his second century of the series – and Crawley (72) gave England some hope,[21] however five wickets for Reiffel dismissed England for 268.[22] This innings and 61-run victory gave Australia a 2–1 lead in front of 66,694 spectators.[21]

Fifth Test

7–10 August 1997
427 (121.5 overs)
MA Taylor 76 (155)
DW Headley 4/87 [30.5]
313 (93.5 overs)
AJ Stewart 87 (107)
GD McGrath 4/71 [29.5]
336 (98.5 overs)
IA Healy 63 (78)
AR Caddick 3/85 [20]
186 (48.5 overs)
GP Thorpe 82 (92)
GD McGrath 3/36 [13.5]
Australia won by 264 runs
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Umpires: CJ Mitchley (SA) and D Shepherd (Eng)
Player of the match: IA Healy (Aus)

England brought Malcolm and Caddick back into the team for the 5th Test, as well as the two Hollioake brothers. There were also concerns in the England camp regarding Stewart's form, and Gough failed a fitness Test with an inflamed knee.[23] Australia won the toss and batted, reaching 427 all out thanks to five half-centuries from the top five batsmen, while four wickets were taken by Headley and three by Malcolm.[24] England fell to 313 all out in reply, thanks largely to Stewart's 87. Warne and McGrath took four wickets each to keep England behind the Australian total.[24]

Healy and Ponting then led a quick-scoring attack, supported by a half-century from Blewett, to take Australia to 336[23] while wickets shared around the England bowlers, including three between the Hollioake brothers.[24] Set 451 runs to win, England fell with a "strange mix of strokeless submission and devil-may-care defiance"[23] to 186 all out, with Australia claiming an extra half hour after stumps to defeat England on the 4th day. Only Thorpe with his 82 from 92 balls offered any resistance.[24] Australia took an unassailable 3–1 lead, and pressure mounted on the England team and its management. The ECB had issued statements denying that Atherton had offered, or planned, to resign, and Wisden recorded: "[This] crushing defeat cost England the series and the Ashes but not, this time, their captain. Mike Atherton withstood all the demands that he follow the example of his predecessor, Graham Gooch, who had fallen on his sword in similar circumstances four years earlier. But the public debate about his future did nothing to ease the pressure on Atherton."[23] Peter Johnson later records that "Atherton resolutely declined journalists' invitations to resign at once, though his wording suggested to many that he would answer differently when the series was over."[23]

Sixth Test

21–23 August 1997
180 (56.4 overs)
AJ Stewart 36 (73)
GD McGrath 7/76 [21]
220 (79.3 overs)
GS Blewett 47 (132)
PCR Tufnell 7/66 [34.3]
163 (66.5 overs)
GP Thorpe 62 (115)
MS Kasprowicz 7/36 [15.5]
104 (32.1 overs)
RT Ponting 20 (35)
AR Caddick 5/42 [12]
England won by 19 runs
The Oval, London
Umpires: LH Barker (WI) and P Willey (Eng)
Player of the match: PCR Tufnell (Eng)
  • England won the toss and elected to bat.
  • S Young (Aus) made his Test debut.


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