England’s Ashes hopes are long gone, but Lawrence Booth looks at five ‘dead’ Ashes Tests which had ramifications beyond the result of the game...
The Oval, 1968 England win by 226 runs
Australia had already retained the urn by the time of the series finale at The Oval, but Basil D’Oliveira’s famous match-winning 158 did two things. It led to the cancellation of England’s tour that winter after South Africa’s government objected to his inclusion in their squad: the Cape Town-born D’Oliveira was classified as ‘Cape coloured’ by the apartheid regime. And it helped England feel better about their trip down under in 1970-71, when Ray Illingworth’s team regained the Ashes after a 14-year absence.
Sydney, 1986-87 Australia win by 55 runs
Mike Gatting’s team were 2-0 up by the SCG, sealing England’s fifth Ashes win in six, and prompting cricket-writing sage John Woodcock to wonder whether an Australian win might be for the good of the game. He got his wish after quirky off-spinner Peter Taylor took eight wickets on debut. It seemed like a consolation victory at the time, only for Australia to go on and win