1989 Ashes series

1989 Ashes series

Infobox cricket series
series= 1989 Ashes Series
partof= the Australian cricket team in England in 1989

date= June 8, 1989 – August 29, 1989
place= England
result= Australia won the 6-Test series 4-0
team1= England
team2= Australia
captain1= David Gower
captain2= Allan Border
runs1= 553 Robin Smith
383 David Gower
runs2= 839 Mark Taylor
506 Steve Waugh
wickets1= 12 Neil Foster
9 Angus Fraser
wickets2= 41 Terry Alderman
29 Geoff Lawson

The 1989 Ashes series was that year's edition of the long-standing and storied cricket rivalry between England and Australia. Starting on 8 June 1989, England and Australia played six Tests, with the Ashes previously having been held by England since the 1985 Ashes series.

The final result was a 4-0 series win for Australia, who had gone into the series as underdogs, and had been rated by the English media as "possibly the worst side to ever tour England" prior to the series. The series victory marked the beginning of a remarkable period of 16 years in which Australia would retain the Ashes over the course of 4 home and 3 away series until England eventually won them back in the 2005 Ashes series.

No one could argue that the Australian team wasn't in the middle of a slump. In the 11 tests prior to the 1989 Ashes series the Australians had recorded a disappointing 2 wins, 4 losses and 5 draws. From this poor form, Australia turned around to produce one of the most one-sided Ashes series since the 'Invincibles' of the 1948 Ashes series.

The one-sidedness of the series was highlighted by Australia only using 12 players for the whole series, compared with England using 29 players.

For details of the tour outside the Tests, see Australian cricket team in England in 1989.




NB - Number of test played represents the number of tests "prior" to the commencement of the series.

Match details

First Test: England v Australia (8-13 June 1989)

Gloomy weather threatened the third test before it even began, and rain and bad light eventually cost over ten hours of lost play during the match. The return of Ian Botham lifted the hosts spirits who went into the match trailing 2-0 in the six test series, however in his first match back after over a year off following serious spinal surgery, the English champion was well below his best. A bigger surprise was the return of Chris Tavare who had not appeared for England in over five years, and his selection appeared to some to be a sign of increasing desperation on the part of the English selectors.

Dean Jones inspired Australia to another big first innings score of 424 with a superb 157, and England only narrowly avoided the follow-on creaping to 242 with a rusty Ian Bothom top scoring with 46. The highlight of the match for England was the first ever test wicket for debutant Angus Fraser who finally captured the wicket of Steve Waugh (undismissed in the first two tests) and by then with a series average of 343.00. The rain ruined Australia's party and a dour Edgbaston test ended in an inevitable draw.

Day One

The Australians won the toss and full of confidence from the 1400 plus runs already compiled in the first two tests, decided to bat again. The pitch was not ideal, and rain threatened throughout, but a solid start from Taylor and Marsh took the tourists to 88 for the first wicket and threatened more of the same. Marsh (42) and Taylor (43) both made solid starts and kept the score tickeing over, but it was Allan Border's dismissal for 8 that actually changed Australia's innings for the better. Dean Jones came to the wicket with the Australians at 105 for 3, and looked determined for a well overdue big score. His last century had been a magnificent 216 against the West Indies the previous summer, and he had looked frustrated so far in the current series.

Jones set about his innings in a workman-like fashion and kept the scoreboard ticking over. He and Boon put on 96 for the fourth wicket, before the different pace at running between the wickets of the burly Tasmanian and greyhound-like Jones led to Boon's run out for 38. This brought Steve Waugh to the wicket for the Australians, who so far had not been dismissed all series. Jones had edged past fifty and was looking very confident as the day wore on. The pair added a further 31, and despite rain interruptions, Australia ended day one on 234 for 4, with Dean Jones 71 not out, and Steve Waugh 17 not out.

Day Two

If rain had affected day one, it ruined day two with the ground virtually awash as play was due to begin. Although some overs were bowled the day was almost a total loss and complete wash-out. The players did emerge briefly, and in a rare glimmer of brightness for the England team, a young Angus Fraser on debut, had Steve Waugh finally dismissed for the first time in the series, bowled for 43. Ian Healy went the same way to the same bowler for a disappoint 2 a few overs later, and Dean Jones brought up his century.

After a disappointing day's play, the Australians had added a mere 62 for the loss of two wickets, ending the day on 294 for 6, Dean Jones still not out on 101 and Merv Hughes not out on 1.

Day Three

The third day was once again interrupted by rain, however Australia managed to continue pushing the game beyond England's reach, although the longer they batted the more likely a draw became. Dean Jones resumed not out on 101 and, although the Australians lost Merv Hughes cheaply, Jones and Trevor Hohns (40) put on 92 for the seventh wicket. Once again though the only winner on day three was the weather with much of the day lost to the rain.

Day Four

Dean Jones resumed day for on 141 not out and took Australia past 400 with the help of Hohns, and then Geoff Lawson, however Jones himself was out for 157 soon after lawson's departure, and after an epic 4 day innings, Australia were finally all out for 424 with a match result looking very unlikely. Captain Allan Border may have fancied his chances of dismissing England cheaply twice, but the remaining time made the prospect seem unlikely. His hope would have been to bowl them out for a low total, enforce the follow-on and then either defeat them by the innings or set a low target score for victory.

The Australian pace trio of Alderman, Lawson and Hughes looked set for the task and got the early break-throughs they required, Gooch trapped LBW by Lawson for 8, Gower, LBW by Alderman for 8, and Tavare caught at first slip by Mark Taylor off Alderman for 2 to leave England once again tettering at 47 for 3. Curtis who had reached 41 was next to go with the score on 75, and Barnett, out for 10, went soon after with the total unchanged. England were looking on the brink of an embarrassing first innings at 75 for 5 when veteran all-rounder Ian Botham, still not back to his best, came to the wicket. Although there was not much chance of him repeating his match-winning heroics of the 1981 Ashes series, Botham was determined to help England avoid defeat. He and wicket-keeper Jack Russell put on 96 for the sixth wicket to stabalise England's innings. Botham was finally bowled by Merv Hughes for 46, and Jack Russell went soon after for 42, leaving England at 171 for 7, but Australia's hopes of an unlikely victory were fading. At the end of day four England finished 185 for 7, with John Emburey (2) and Angus Fraser (12) at the crease.

Day Five

Allan Border would have still held out a faint hope of victory on the morning of day five, but it seemed unlikely. Fraser failed to add to his overnight score and was run out for 12 soon after the resumption. Emburey and Graham Dilley added 30 for the ninth wicket, much to the frustration of the Australians before Emburey fell for a well made 26 to a sharp chance taken by David Boon off Lawson. If the ninth wicket stand of 30 had frustrated the Australian bowlers the 10th wicket partnership of 27 between Dilley and Paul Jarvis was just annoying, and made an Australian victory all but impossible. Alderman finally trapped Jarivs LBW with what was fast becoming his trademark of the series, the inswinging yorker, but England had struggled to 242, which although a disappointing score, had dragged out their innings long enough to avoid the follow-on and not leave the Australians with enough time for victory.

The Australians began their second innings with the prospect of facing 65 overs, but without any real hope of victory, and seemed set to used the batting practice as part of the psychological battle. Marsh and taylor began quite aggressively and quickly took the score past fifty, before Marsh was bowled by Jarvis for 42, the Australians on 81 for 1. Taylor and Boon went past the 100 mark, and Taylor brought up his fifty before, on 51, he mistimed and was caught by Botham off the part-time medium bowling off Graham Gooch. Wicket-Keeper Ian Healy was the surprise replacement, elevated up the order for batting practice, and he and Boon saw out the rest of the day, putting on 49 to leave Australia at 158 for 2 at stumps, and the match ending in a draw. Dean Jones' sparkling first innings 157 earned him the man-of-the-match award.

Australia retained their 2-0 lead in the 1989 Ashes series after the third test.

Fourth Test: England v Australia (27 July - 1 August 1989)

Going into the sixth test at the Oval, all England could hope for was to salvage some pride in the form of at least a solitary test win. However the hosts had looked unlikely of challenging the tourists for all but a few sessions during the whole series. England made two more changes, the introduction of debutants Alan Igglesden and John Stephenson, but the picks seemed more likely to have come from the chance to expose them to the top level rather than hope that they might prove competitive against a clearly superior Australian side. Australia remained unchanged since the second test.

Australia won the toss, batted, and compiled 400+ runs for the sixth time in as many tests. Only rain interruptions denied Australia the chance of victory.England's bowlers again looked out of their depth against an in form Australian top order led by centurion Dean Jones' sparkling 122 from 180 balls. In reply England were, once again dismissed for under 300, despite excellent half-centuries to captain David Gower and bowler Gladstone Small.

Australia took their second innings to 219 for 4 declared, thanks to half-centuries from Allan Border and first innings centurion Jones, setting England an unlikely target of 403 in a day. Rain again intervened, but despite the interruptions the Australian bowlers made every effort to squeeze victory out of the shortened match, reducing England to 143 for 5, despite a well made 77 to Robin Smith, when play was eventually abandoned and the match ended in a draw.

Day One

Australia won the toss again, and chose to bat. Openers Marsh and Taylor again got the tourists of to a solid start, but their heroics of the fifth test were not to be repeated, as Marsh was caught by debutant Igglesden off Galdstone Small for 17, the opening stand worth 48. David Boon came to the wicket and looked at ease, as he and Taylor set about building a solid second wicket partnership. The pair batted throughout the morning, and Taylor soon brought up his fifty. The young New South Welshman had been in majestic form throughout the series, and England had no answers for the well-timed left-hander. He pulled and drove with ease once again, to bring up his milestone. Boon likewise approached his half-century, but soon lost his partner Taylor, who rarely edged a ball outside off-stump of the bowling of Igglesden to be caught behind, and give the bowler his first ever test wicket. Taylor had gone for 71, and Australia were 130 for 2. Boon fell shortly after for 46, bringing Dean Jones to the wicket to partner his captain Allan Border. The pair seemed to enjoy each other's company, and once again built a solid 4th wicket partnership, batting throughout the remainder of the first day. Jones was in a hurry and scored freely, all around the wicket, working the field for quick singles and twos, and picking off the bad balls for four. Shortly before stumps he brought up his second century of the tour. At stumps on day one, Australia ended on 325 for 3, with Border not out on 66 and Jones on 114 not out.

Day Two

It must have seemed like déjà vu all over again for England as they started day two, with Australia again poised for a large total. Border and Jones resumed and added a further 20 before Border was caught behind of Capel for 76. Jones was finally removed for 122, and Steve Waugh, who seemed to have gone off the boil slightly following his blistering first three tests, went for a disappointing 14, clean bowled by Igglesden. Rain interrupted temporarily, but play soon resumed, and the South London crowd was then treated with a blistering display of low-order hitting from Queensland born keeper Ian Healy, who battered 44 off 44 balls. His innings lasted less than an hour and contained six 4's, also taking the Australian total past 400 for the sixth time in as many tests. Eventually he fell, caught behind of the bowling of Derek Pringle, who then proceeded to tear into the tail, collecting the last four wickets. Although Trevor Hohns (30) and Merv Hughes (21) lasted long enough to take the Australian total to 468, the tourists were all out shortly before stumps. Enough play was left to force England to face an awkward few overs, and the Australians made the most of it, dislodging Graham Gooch LBW to Alderman for a third ball duck. England finished the day on 1 for 1, both not out batsmen yet to score.

Day Three

Although rain had threatened day two, is ruined day three. Enough play was had to get through 30 odd overs, but the interruptions were regular, and prevented both the Australian bowlers, and the England batsmen from developing any sort of momentum. John Stephenson contributed 25 on debut, and captain David Gower ended the day on 43 not out, England yet again in diabolical trouble at 124 for 6.

Day Four

Day four began with more rain clouds looming, but holding off for the time being. Gower managed to push on from his overnight 43 to reach 76, and 27 from Derek Pringle, 31 to Nick Cook, and a well made 59 to number 9 Gladstone Small got England to 285, and avoid the follow-on. Terry Alderman had taken his sixth 5 wicket haul with figures of 5 for 66.

After a short rain interruption Australia began their second innings, and in a rare failure for the series, Marsh was trapped LBW by Igglesden for 4. It was business as usual for Taylor and Boon though, who soon took the total past 50. By stumps the Australians were 87 for 1, with Taylor not out on 43, Boon not out on 29, and with a lead of 270.

Day Five

Going into day five, the Australians sought to set a quick total, and try to give themselves enough time to bowl England out inside a day. The had accomplished the feat already during the series, but the weather continued to threaten over London. The tourists wanted quick runs, and Taylor attempted to attack from the outset, but was undone after adding just two runs caught behind off Small for 48. Boon was soon run out for 37, also trying to lift the run-rate, and then Border and Jones again combined to go on the attack. Border made 51 not out off 74 balls, and although Jones eventually fell, bowled by Capel for 50 off 69 balls, the pair had added a rapid partnership of 89. Steve Waugh joined his captain, but his stay was short lived, as they soon passed Border's desired target score of 400. The Australian second innings was declared closed on 219 for 4, leaving England an unlikely target of 403 of just over two sessions.

The weather continued to threated Australia's chances of victory, but when Alderman cheaply removed first Stephenson (LBW for 11), then Gooch (caught and bowled for 10), and Lawson removed Atherton (bowled for 14), the Australians smelt victory. England were reduced further when Gower was caught at cover for 17 by Waugh off Lawson, and at 67 for 4, things seemed dire. Robin Smith came to the rescue, steadying the innings, and a very defensive 17 from Capel bought the hosts enough time to avoid defeat. Capel was eventually caught at slip by Taylor off Lawson, and Russell joined Smith who had brought up his half century. He finished not out on 77.The pair eventually survived to the end of play, taking England to 5 for 143 and earning a draw. Rain had again seemingly denied Australia victory in a match they thoroughly dominated. Jones was named man-of-the-match for his first innings 122 and second innings 50.

The match ended in a draw with Australia winning the best of six 1989 Ashes series 4-0.


Allan Border's tourists became the first Australian side to win the Ashes in England since Ian Chappell's tourists won the 1975 Ashes series in England. In doing so they became the first Australian side to regain the Ashes in England since Bill Woodfull's side did so in the 1934 Ashes series.

The Australian series victory began a 19 year period of Australian dominance that would see the Australians win the next three Ashes series in England, and four Ashes series in Australia, until England eventually regained the Ashes in the 2005 Ashes series.

It also marked a turning point in the history of the Australian cricket team, which had struggled to come to terms with the impact of World Series Cricket throughout the 1980s, and was at an all time low. The 1989 Ashes series sparked a rejuvenation of Australian cricket, which would see them rise to replace the West Indies as the world's predominant test cricket team by the mid 1990s, and break the record for consecutive test match victories by the end of that decade.

In contrast, the one-sided nature of the series led to David Gower standing down as captain, and saw him replaced with Graham Gooch prior to the next series against the West Indies in the Caribbean. The England side went on a down turn, and despite featuring as losing finals in the 1992 Cricket World Cup three years later, struggled for consistency for much of the next decade.


Individual records

Team records

Other Records

*Mark Taylor's 839 runs for series was the second highest ever Ashes series total. (Behind Don Bradman, 974 in 1930. Record still stands as of 2008).
*Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh's first wicket partnership of 329 in the fifth test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham was the highest ever score for the first wicket in a test match at Nottingham, and in England overall.
*Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh's first wicket partnership of 329 in the fifth test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham was the ninth highest Ashes partnership overall.
*Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh's first wicket partnership of 329 in the fifth test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham was the first time no wicket had fallen on the first day of a test match in England.
*Steve Waugh's series average of 126.50 (total 506 runs) was the fourth highest Ashes series average.
*Terry Alderman's 41 wickets for the series was the sixth highest series tally in Ashes series.



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