Best Partnerships For Each Wicket – England

What I consider to be the best partnerships for England for each wicket – not all of them huge, but all of them playing crucial roles in the matches in question, plus a photo gallery.

In this post I look at the best stands for each wicket by English pairs in test cricket – the stands are not necessarily numerically huge, it is what they mean in the context of the match and series in which they happened that sets them apart.


1st: 172 by Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe vs Australia at The Oval, 1926. England had not won an Ashes series since the resumption of cricket after WWI, and indeed had won only match in the three series between the old enemies in that period, while Australia had won 12 and drawn two in those three series. The first four matches of the series in 1926 had all been drawn, with the weather intervening frequently, and the powers that be had therefore decreed that this match would be played to a finish. England trailed by 22 runs on first innings and the pitch at the start of their second innings looked a very difficult one. Hobbs and Sutcliffe survived the tough early stages, helped by Aussie skipper Collins trusting the accurate Arthur Richardson over the more expensive but also more dangerous Arthur Mailey. Hobbs reached 100 in front of his home crowd before he was finally dismissed to make it 172-1. Herbert Sutcliffe kept on going, eventually tallying 161, and England reached 436, an advantage of 414. The match, and with it the series, was as good as settled, and a dispirited Australia managed only 125 in the final innings, 49 year old Wilfred Rhodes taking 4-44, while a 21 year old speedster named Larwood claimed three scalps. The final wicket was taken by Leicestershire work horse George Geary. I have rated this stand of 172 ahead of the same pair’s 105 at Melbourne in the fourth innings two and a half years later because although that contributed to a series win down under, even if England had lost that match they would have been 2-1 up with two to play and still favourites for the series, whereas this was a one-shot deal.

2nd: 329* by Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, Brisbane 2010. It had been 24 years since an England men’s side had won a series down under, and when England trailed by over 200 on first innings in the opening match not many would have bet on this series bucking that trend. Even when skipper Strauss and Cook started the second innings with a stand of 188, England were still behind. By the close of the penultimate day Cook and Trott had put on an unbroken 121, and England had given themselves an opening. When the pair were still in residence by lunch on the final day the match was as good as saved. The partnership was ended when skipper Strauss decided to declare to see if England could claim a few early wickets. In the event the Aussie second innings was a solid effort, highlighted by a rapid 50 from Ponting, which would prove to be his only decent score of the series. England, boosted by their escape in this match won three of the four remaining matches of the series by innings margins.

3rd: 262 by Wally Hammond and Douglas Jardine, Adelaide 1928. England were in a bit of trouble when this pair joined forces in the second innings of this match, although the series was already secure. By the time Jardine was out for 98 England were back in control, and they went on to win the match.

4th: 411 by Peter May and Colin Cowdrey, Edgbaston 1957. England trailed by 288 on first innings and were 113-3 when skipper May was joined by Cowdrey. Sonny Ramadhin with his spinners had been England’s nemesis, and in ten hours this pair not only saved England, they effectively finished Ranadhin as a bowling force – by the time May declared, with himself on 285*, Ramadhin had bowled 98 overs in the innings, still an FC record. West Indies lost seven wickets in their own second innings and ended up grateful to escape with a draw.

5th: 163 by Willie Watson and Trevor Bailey at Lord’s, 1953. England had been set 347 to win, and when wickets started to fall early survival became the order of the day. The pair to arrest a seemingly fatal slide were Watson and Bailey. Watson made 109, Bailey 71 and England saved the match. The series opener at Trent Bridge had been drawn, highlighted by Alec Bedser’s 14 wickets, and the third and fourth matches were also drawn. However at The Oval in the final game England won by eight wickets to claim the Ashes for the first time since Woodfull had wrested the urn back for Australia in 1934.

6th: 119* by Mike Atherton and Jack Russell, Johannesburg 1995. This was the second match of the series, the first having been a very dull draw. SA dominated most of the game and England found themselves with 11 hours to bat and a target of 479. Atherton dug in to lead England’s resistance, but wickets fell regularly at the other end, and when Robin Smith, Atherton’s best partner to that point was fifth out 232 there were over four and a half hours left in the match. At this point Jack Russell, England’s wicket keeper, with 11 catches in the match already, joined Atherton. South Africa did not claim another wicket in the match, Atherton finishing on 185* and Jack Russell 29* (this latter in 274 minutes and 235 balls).

7th: 30 by Gilbert Jessop and George Hirst, The Oval, 1902. This remarkable partnership occupied just eight minutes, but was absolutely pivotal in turning the match – during it Jessop completed his century, an innings that had begun with England 48-5 chasing 263 to win and Hirst established himself. Jessop was out shortly after reaching the landmark, but Hirst, with varying degrees of support from Lockwood, keeper Lilley and Rhodes guided England to a one wicket victory, Hirst 58*.

8th: 13* by Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard at Trent Bridge in 2005. The series was tied at 1-1 going into this match, with England having had considerably the better of a draw at Old Trafford in the preceding match. England had scored 477 batting first, Australia 218 in response, and then 387 following on. England needed 129, a target that should have posed few challenges. However, Shane Warne and Brett Lee rattled England, and at 116-7 with genuine tailender Hoggard joining Giles, a bowler who could bat, and Simon Jones injured, things were looking dicey for England. The over that settled it for England was ironically enough bowled by the destroyer Lee – Hoggard somehow wellied a fast full toss through cover for four and took two off the next ball. A few moments later Giles scored the winning run, putting England 2-1 up in the series and meaning that a draw at The Oval would see England regain the Ashes. That draw was duly achieved, with Giles adding to his batting credits by staying with Pietersen for two and a half hours on the final day, putting the target beyond Australia’s reach.

9th: 67 by Ian Botham and Chris Old at Headingley in 1981. England had been made to follow on 227 runs adrift and then slumped to 135-7 in their second innings. Ian Botham, just replaced as skipper by Mike Brearley, was joined by Dilley at that point. The pair added 117 in 80 minutes, but England were still only 25 to the good, and although Chris Old, the new batter, was a decent ball striker on his day few would have expected him to last long against fast bowlers on a dodgy pitch. In the event he helped the ninth wicket to raise 67, and then last man Bob Willis resisted for long enough that Australia needed 130 to win. With Willis, nearly omitted from the England team before the match, bowling for his future Australia succumbed for 111 in the fourth innings, Willis 8-43, to give England victory by 18 runs. England then won the next two matches at Edgbaston and Old Trafford to retain The Ashes.

10th: 76* by Ben Stokes and Jack Leach, Headingley 2019. When Australia could do no better than 179 in the first innings things looked good for England. England themselves then crashed for 67 in response. Australia built a lead of 358. At 286-9, with Leach joining Stokes it looked all over, but Stokes was finding his very best form, and Leach resisted stoutly. As England closed on the target Australia became panicked. Australia sacrificed their last review on an LBW that was never getting overturned – it was obviously pitched outside leg and missing in any case. This proved crucial a few moments later when a much better LBW shout was turned down and Australia were unable to review it. The scores drew level, and then Stokes hit a boundary to complete the Headingley Heist. Leach had scored possibly the most important 1* in cricket history at the other end. There was an earlier rival to this partnership, also involving a left arm spinner batting at no 11, the 15 that Hirst and Rhodes added to give England a one wicket win at The Oval in 1902, but that series was already lost, whereas this one was still live, and indeed it finished level. Also worthy of mention in this context is a third partnership involving a left arm spinner at no11, the Anderson and Panesar act of defiance, holding out for an hour to save the match at Cardiff in 2009.


My usual sign off…

Author: Thomas

I am a founder member and currently secretary of the West Norfolk Autism Group and am autistic myself. I am a very keen photographer and almost every blog post I produce will feature some of my own photographs. I am an avidly keen cricket fan and often post about that sport.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: