We asked a group of CricInfo staffers and friends to supply their top 10 lists, as a basis for making the final choice of the CricInfo top-ten of the century. all have a comprehensive knowledge of cricket, many making their living through covering it for the media. Our most experienced correspondent was probably Trevor Chesterfield who writes "As I managed to see the first bowled in a Test after World War 2, at the
Basin (1945/46) NZ v Aus (Ray Lindwall) and the last ball of the Century
with about 120 Tests in between, I guess I can make a few presumptions!".
We managed a wide representation of nationalities, with submissions from Australia, Canada, USA, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, and Zimbabwe. We applied no constraints to our correspondents, and some wished to restrict themselves to matches they had seen themselves, or chose not to rank them from 1-10, or refused to consider limited overs matches. We don't claim that this is a fully representative grouping, and there is little doubt that bias, unconcious or otherwise, exists.
The panel consisted of:-
Some of our contributors chose to explain their choices in more detail, and these are listed below.
- S Jagadish - CI-India, scorer and programmer
- Uday Rajan - long time CI contributor
- Saifullah Khan Ghori - #cricket's Pakistani operator
- Robin Abrahams - CI-England, scorer and database maintainer
- Vishal Misra - University of Massachusetts star bowler, and long time CI programmer
- Trevor Chesterfield - CI's South African correspondent, a cricket journalist of vast experience.
- Jeff Green - CI-UK, and CricInfo's hardware maintainance and system administrator
- David Dyte - former ZCU web master, an Australian Zimbabwe fan living in the USA.
- Paul McGregor - CI's UK based photographer
- Victor Isaacs - Hampshire's full time scorer and web master.
- John Polack - CI's Australian correspondent.
- Travis Basevi - CI's events coordinator, and most popular (and unpopular) commentator.
- Dave Liverman - webmaster for the ZCU and Canadian Cricket Association, and the compiler of the top 100.
Mike Whitaker - my top 10
I guess what binds this selection of games together is not only the
quality, but the memories associated with watching each of them. I
very rarely get to see live cricket, so my cricket enjoyment is
largely provided by TV, radio, IRC and the web.
10: Match 2: Derbyshire v Hampshire County Ground, Derby 15,16,17,18 September
Perhaps the worst covered match of the lot. Sky guessed wrong, and
picked David Boon's farewell game at Durham for their county game to
end the 1999 season. They did, though, have a camera at the ground,
and so highlights were available, but for the most part I and many
others watched the drama unfold on the web, teletext and IRC. Derby
looked buried at 163/7, but Defreitas clawed them back to less than 20
runs short of safety, with three wickets in hand, before ex-
Yorkshireman Hartley and Mascarenhas wrapped it up and gauranteed
Hnats a place in Division 1.
9: Match 66: 5th TEST: England v Australia at The Oval, 22-27 Aug 1968
Would that I'd been there. All that survives, or at least, is commonly
shown, is the scenes of the crowd helping dry the outfield (for which
I also have the first hand memories of a CricInfo colleague) and
grainy black and white film of Deadly Derek Underwood bowling into the
midst of a cluster of eight or nine close fielders, working magic with
the ball off an uncovered pitch. A spinner at his best.
8: Match 7: 4th Test: England v Australia at Melbourne, 26-30 Dec 1998
I hate Ashes series Down Under, mostly because a day job prevents me
watching the games live. As was my habit on this series, I staggered
downstairs around 7am, to find not only that Australia hadn't
clobbered England again, but they were in deep trouble and... the
match was still going. To Sky TV's credit, they stayed with the game
all the way through the marathon final session, Headley ripping the
heart out of Australia with 6 for 60, and the irrepressible (but
exhausted) Darren Gough coming up with the goods one final time to
remove the tail.
7: Match 12: 6th TEST: England v Australia at The Oval, 21-23 Aug 1997
I doubt this will feature that highly in the final results, but I'm a
huge Phil Tufnell fan, and had spent the entire series bemoaning his
lack of inclusion. And then, as if to prove my point, he and Caddick
rip Australia apart in a low scoring match where three bowlers took
seven-for's. A game where I was Supposed To Be Doing Something Else,
with friends, and we kept turning the game on on TV, finding out the
score, and turning off again: the intervals became shorter, and the
amount of time we spent watching grew, progressively, over that final
6: Match 14: 3rd Test: England v South Africa at Manchester, 2-6 July 1998
Thank you CricInfo! Like many people with daytime jobs, I'd never have
experienced the tension of this one without the Internet scorecard and
commentary. To this day, I haven't seen any extended TV highlights
of that nailbiting final session, but I suffered through every ball of
Fraser's gutsy 13-ball nought not out, and those last two overs.
5: Match 3: 2nd
Semi-Final: Australia v South Africa at Birmingham, 17 Jun
This will probably rate quite highly in the final top 10, I
suspect. Not just for that gripping final over, and the sheer farce of
that final run out, but for Warne's quite unbelievable bowling,
mesmerising and cleaning up the South African top order in a way which
quite clearly sent shock waves through their final opponents,
Pakistan. As far as coverage goes, this is probably the only game of
my top ten that I actually watched on TV from start to finish!
4: Match 13: 1st TEST: Zimbabwe v England at Bulawayo (QSC), 18-22 Dec 1996
Without Test Match Special, where would we be? My parents don't have
Sky, and we drove back from Sunday lunch out with the radio on,
listening to Knight and Stewart tear along at almost one-day rates
towards the target, before we got home and clustered round the radio
to hear Blowers describe the finish. So close.
3: Match 43: 4th TEST: England v Australia at Birmingham, 30 Jul-2 Aug 1981
Fuel to the Botham legend. In a Test match where no batsman made
fifty, it's inevitable that the bowlers will dominate. And yet Botham
apparently didn't want to bowl, at the death, but Brearley coaxed him
into it. 4.4 overs, and 5 wickets for one run later, the rest is
history. This was another of those games we walked away from, and
figured we'd check on later, to see how badly England had been
beaten. Six people, clustered round a car radio, in Didcot station
carpark, listening to TMS describe that spell with mixed delight and
2: Match 19:
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Nairobi Gymkhana, 4 Oct 1996
Afridi's game. And also, for me, CricInfo's. I can't do justice to
this in its entirety without completely recapping a piece I've already
written for CricInfo, so the best I can do is refer you to that. In
essence, this was both a day when cricket was the winner, and a day
when it was a real pleasure to be a part of CricInfo in action.
1: Match 44: 3rd TEST: England v Australia at Leeds, 16-21 Jul 1981
I never saw a ball of Botham's 149 live. Nor Willis' 8-43. The Botham
assault was featured on news bulletins all Sunday, as a measure of
light in the gloom that was the series to date. And I was in school,
after the end of term, to use the computers. My maths teacher was a
cricket fan, and didn't object to the radio I had with me. Neither did
he object to the resulting mayhem wreaked by a totally focussed Bob
WIllis, all the way to that final searing middle stump yorker to
eliminate the luckless Ray Bright with the score on Nelson. My father
wouldn't believe the result when he picked me up from school, until
he'd turned the news on in the car.
And the game I'd ask to include? The Warwickshire/Sussex NatWest
final from 1993. The archived match report on CricInfo tells a better
story than I can, but in summary - Sussex set a record target, and
Warwicks, in the person of Asif Din and Dermot Reeve, set about
chasing it, until Reeve and Roger Twose managed the desired 14 off the
final over in what seemed like pitch darkness.
This was never going to be easy!
For a start 100 great matches was far too few and some of my own top 10
never made it into the 100 -see the reader's suggestions!
Now down to the CricInfo list. For me, great cricket matches have quite a few
elements, and I think my eclectic selection will illustrate this. They need
heros and sometimes villains, ups and downs, ebbs and flows. They need to
interest me - that means that Surrey and England will feature unjustifiably
high in the list. However all great cricket interests me so there are others
With great reluctance I will stop there but before I do I need to mention
that game in ... and there was .... and then again... and what about... and
I hated discarding ...
You get the idea, it would be a different list tomorrow
- #44 on the list. 1st is "Botham's match" Leeds 1981 and the most outlandish
reversal of fortunes in Test history, Botham as captain had had no form with
bat or ball and was lucky to be playing in the game. In the first 2 and a
half innings England were getting thrashed and then...
- #66 is second almost solely because I will never get another chance to help
England win the Ashes, I was a spectator!
- #70 is third, heroes were first on my list and Cowdrey with his arm in
plaster was certainly a hero!
- #75 - Heroes again and there are still several questions to answer, how
could Australia play so badly? How could Lock get only 1 wicket? And how
could it last almost to the end of the 5th day?
- #71 - the tied test, well only the first one but it has been "the tied test"
for most of my life! It had everything, and I would have given anything to
be there, though at 3 I doubt I would have appreciated it!
- #78 - With a little help from 2 friends of mine
Ramadin and Valentine
and yes if pushed I can do the whole song!
Wouldn't it be nice to see West Indies with 3 great batsmen and 2 great
- #83 - well I wanted 82 or 83 but Bradman's end swung it, the end of the
greatest of all batting careers was worth a game in itself, but it was also
the end of the tour for perhaps the best of all Test teams, and was quite a
- #99 - Jessop's match. Wouldn't we all have liked to see Jessop bat?
- #93 (Hobbs, the subject of intense media interest, equals Grace's record of 126 centuries, and then passes it in the
2nd innings.) - well Hobbs is my hero.
- #90 or 92?.The start of Bradman's career swings it as I also have the end
- tenth unless I have miscounted is #3 [Jeff miscounted]. There aren't many great ODIs, there
are many even good ones but every now and then...
- 71. 1st
TEST: Australia v W.Indies at Brisbane, 9-14 Dec 1960
Nothing more need be said of the greatest game ever played, possibly
in any sport.
- NA. Australia v England, MCG, 1982-83
Border and Thomson's astonishing 10th wicket stand brings 10,000
to the ground for the last day, even when the match could end after
one ball. With the Aussies still 3 runs short of a tie, Botham
finds the edge of Thommo's bat - Tavare drops the catch, but Miller
swoops to win the game.
- NA. South Africa v Australia, Port Elizabeth, 1996-97
Collapses, comebacks, a match that swung every which way, and won
with a six! Oh my.
- 82. 4th TEST: England v Australia at Leeds, 22-27 Jul 1948
This had everything. A pretty good English team against the greatest
Australia ever saw.
- 91. Victoria v New South Wales at Melbourne, 24-27 Dec 1926
- 95. Warwickshire
v Hampshire at Birmingham, 14-16 Jun 1922
This is simply the best cricket anecdote ever told. The fact that
it's true makes it even better.
- NA. Zimbabwe v England, Harare, 1996-97
Alistair Campbell's big hitting takes Zimbabwe to 249 in their quest
to complete a rare ODI series sweep of England. When Eddo Brandes,
an erratic performer at best, destroys England's top order with the
hat-trick of Knight, Crawley and Hussain, victory seems assured. A
tight spell from Paul Strang makes certain, and Eddo becomes a national
- 55. 3rd TEST: West Indies v India at Port-of-Spain, 7-12 Apr 1976
Indian cricket's finest moment? Perhaps. Any team that can chase down
400 in a test match has performed a mighty feat indeed.
- 52. CENTENARY TEST: Australia v England at Melbourne, 12-17 Mar 1977
McCosker batting while swathed in bandages, heroics from Hookes,
Lillee, Walker, Randall, Knott, sportsmanship from Marsh, the same
result as the first test. And all while I stayed at home and delayed
my first ever test match for a year because I wanted a birthday party.
I have never forgiven my 8 year old self for this.
- 22. 4th
TEST: Australia v West Indies at Adelaide, 23-26 Jan 1993
Why does this keep happening to Australia? I don't know, but it
certainly makes for entertaining viewing.
Any selection is biased by the selector's memory, interests and
experience. As background, I saw my first
Test in 1964, but grew up in a house filled with cricket books.
I thus have always loved to read cricket history, and certainly
some of these selections were coloured by the purple prose of
Arlott, Cardus and others. I also believe that cricket is played with two innings/side, with the end of the innings being a declaration or when 10 wickets have fallen. The other game that resembles cricket, where innings are closed after a fixed number of overs, can be entertaining, and a diversion, but does not compare to the real thing. Of the list, the first 5 were certainties. The last 5 were picked from at least 20, and on another day I'd come up with a totally different selection - what a fine game cricket is!
TEST: Australia v W.Indies at Brisbane, 9-14 Dec 1960.
Many things make a close game - a tight finish, great individual
performances, historic significance. This one had it all.
A century from the great Sir Gary, topped by the elegant Norman O'Neill, the two finest post-war captains battling it out, the glorious fast bowling of Wes Hall, the most enthralling finish possible, and the first tie in Tests. There can be no other choice of the greatest match of the century.
TEST: England v West Indies at Lord's, 20-25 Jun 1963
Draws are boring, right? Not this one. I can remember listening to the closing overs on the radio, and assuming the match was lost when the 9th wicket fell.
- 5th TEST: England v Australia at The Oval,
11-13 Aug 1902
This is the stuff of legends. Known as Jessop's match yet look at Hirst's performance. Hard for us to know just what Jessop's innings was like, especially as few of us have seen what top-class bowling on a wet wicket can do. Jessop, Trumble, Trumper, Rhodes, Hirst, Jackson, MacLaren, Armstrong, Gregory, Hayward - the golden age of cricket.
- Match 44: 3rd TEST: England v Australia at Leeds, 16-21 Jul 1981
I saw little of this game - I did not have a TV! I listened to Botham's innings on the radio, and saw the start of the final assault by Willis through the window of a local TV shop. An astonishing turn-around, and England's finest hour in some ways, although the Australian batting line up was by no means its strongest.
v Hampshire at Birmingham, 14-16 Jun 1922
You wouldn't believe it if it were written in a novel. The ultimate turn-around of fortunes, and a lesson to us all - never give up!
- CENTENARY TEST: Australia v England at Melbourne, 12-17 Mar 1977
A wonderful match to mark a wonderful event, and the marvellous coincidence of the result. I vividly recall staying up most of the night listening to England's valiant attempt to reach a huge 4th innings target, led by Randall's wonderful innings.
- 5th TEST: England v Australia at The Oval, 14-18 Aug 1926
A personal favourite - some wonderful players, and a masterpiece of wet-wicket batting from Hobbs and Sutcliffe.
- FINAL: India v West Indies at Lord's, 25 Jun 1983
Well I had to include one one day match, and this one is picked because of the occassion, and because I always cheer for the underdog. India only barely made it to the final - they were on their way out of the competition before Kapil's 175 against Zimbabwe, and no-one thought they'd beat the mighty West Indies. As well look who took the wickets- a wonderful team effort and a triumph for the medium pacer!
- 1st TEST: South Africa v England at Durban, 16-20 Dec 1948 - a somewhat forgotten match, decided off the last possible ball. I have a tape of Arlott's commentary of the final overs - great stuff!
- 3rd TEST: West Indies v India at Port-of-Spain, 7-12 Apr 1976.
A successful chase of 404 in the fourth innings, Viv and Vishy, Bedi, Venkat and Chandra, Gavaskar and Holding - a classic.