England Highest Successful Run Chase in Test Cricket at Birmingham

Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham has been a happy hunting ground for England over the years. The lively Birmingham crowd cheering the home team has helped England pull off some thrilling wins at this venue. One such epic encounter was when England successfully chased down the highest-ever fourth innings total in a Birmingham Test match.

In this article, we revisit that enthralling Test match in Birmingham and also look at some other memorable run chases at this spirited cricket venue.

The History and Importance of Edgbaston Cricket Ground

Edgbaston Cricket Ground, also known as the County Ground or Edgbaston Stadium, is a cricket venue located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England. It has been home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club since 1886.

Some key facts about Edgbaston:

  • It has hosted Test matches since 1902, with the first match being between England and Australia.
  • England has an exceptional record here, having won 38 and lost just 10 out of 72 Tests played.
  • It has a capacity of around 25,000 and the atmosphere is renowned for being noisy and intimidating for visiting teams.
  • Some of England’s legendary cricketers like Ian Bell, Bob Willis, Gladstone Small etc. have thrived playing at their home ground Edgbaston.
  • The famous two-tiered pavilion and the Eric Hollies stand are highlights of this historic English cricket venue.

Given England’s phenomenal Test record here, it is certainly an achievement when visiting teams manage to chase down big targets and win at Edgbaston. Let’s look at some such instances.

Also Check: Highest Successful Run Chases in Test Cricket at Galle

England Chase Down 282 Runs Against New Zealand in 2004

In the 2004 Test match between England and New Zealand, the hosts accomplished England’s highest-ever successful run chase at Edgbaston.

After electing to bat first, New Zealand posted 386 in their first innings. Opener Mark Richardson starred with a gritty century. In reply, England were bowled out for 337, with Andrew Strauss top-scoring with 106. The match was very evenly poised.

In their second innings, New Zealand set England a target of 282 runs from 75 overs. Chasing over 4 runs per over on a tricky fifth day Edgbaston pitch was not going to be straightforward for England.

Openers Marcus Trescothick and Strauss provided a solid start of 107 runs for the first wicket. The platform was set for the middle order to play aggressively. Graham Thorpe, with an unbeaten 62, steered the chase after Strauss and Andrew Flintoff fell quickly.

But England’s hero was wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, who struck a match-winning 59 off just 62 balls when acceleration was needed. He fittingly hit the winning runs with an over to spare as England won by 7 wickets.

England’s 282/3 was the highest successful chase in an Edgbaston Test at the time, and sealed a thrilling win to square the series 1-1.

Australia’s Famous Ashes Chase in 2005

The epic 2005 Ashes series is considered one of the greatest ever. In the nail-biting second Test at Edgbaston, Australia chased down 282 runs, which was then the highest fourth innings total at the venue.

England posted 407 in their first innings, thanks to Kevin Pietersen’s memorable Ashes debut knock of 158. Australia responded with 308, Steve Waugh scoring 90.

The hosts extended their lead to 282 runs with a second innings total of 182/6 declared. Australia had to pull off England’s previous best successful Edgbaston chase to win the Test.

On a tricky fifth day pitch, England reduced Australia to 87/3 and seemed on top. But Michael Clarke (91) along with Simon Katich’s gritty 79 steered Australia out of trouble. Quick scoring from Adam Gilchrist, Australia attained the target just 2 wickets down.

Their 282/8 equalled the previous highest successful Edgbaston chase, set by England themselves a year prior. This victory gave Australia momentum, but England eventually regained the Ashes after a thriller. Australia’s famous chase under pressure is etched in Edgbaston folklore.

Flintoff’s Heroics in 2009 Ashes

Another Edgbaston Ashes epic occurred in 2009 when England needed 220 runs to win. Australia fought back after conceding a 115-run first innings lead to set England a tricky target.

England were soon struggling at 70/5 when talisman Andrew Flintoff came out to bat. He took the attack to the Aussies, thrashing 51 runs off just 52 balls in typical swashbuckling style. With support from Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior, England achieved the target 5 wickets down.

Flintoff was awarded Man of the Match as England won by 115 runs and went 1-0 up. His aggressive half-century was instrumental in leading England’s nervous chase.

England’s Record Chase Against India in 2014

England etched their name again in the Edgbaston record books when they pulled off their highest-ever successful run chase at the venue in 2014. This came in the third Test against India.

The visitors posted 390 in their first innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara compiling 153. England responded strongly with 367, Joe Root top-scoring with 66.

India set England a massive target of 445 runs to win the match. Openers Alastair Cook and Sam Robson saw off Day 4 to keep England in the hunt.

On the final day, Root shone with an outstanding 200 not out under pressure. Contributions from Ian Bell (64) and Moeen Ali (39*) helped England chase the huge target with 5 wickets in hand.

England’s 445/3 was a new record for the highest successful run chase at Edgbaston, surpassing Australia’s effort in 2005. This kept the series alive at 1-1 and was a huge boost for the hosts.

Key Takeaways from Memorable Edgbaston Run Chases

Looking back at England’s epic successful chases at Edgbaston over the years, some key patterns emerge:

  • Having a solid opening partnership is essential to set the platform for big chases. Strauss, Cook provided good starts.
  • The first drop batsman needs to absorb pressure and play anchor. Bell, Thorpe played this role perfectly.
  • Rotating strike and maintaining a healthy run rate is critical, like Geraint Jones did in 2004.
  • Having an x-factor batsman to take risks and dominate attacks is important when acceleration is needed. Flintoff in 2009 was that man.
  • Chases require resilience and partnerships to keep ticking along. Root in 2014 was unflappable.
  • Captains need to lead from the front and take responsibility like Vaughan did in 2004.
  • Above all, the self-belief to chase any total down needs to be ingrained in the team. England has shown that at Edgbaston.

In summary, successful chases at Edgbaston have been built on strong tactical plans, bravery under pressure and a never-say-die attitude. That makes Edgbaston one of England’s favourite hunting grounds in Test cricket history.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common queries fans have about England’s run chases at Edgbaston:

Who hit the winning runs when England chased down 282 against New Zealand in 2004?

It was wicket-keeper batsman Geraint Jones who fittingly hit the winning boundary to complete England’s record Edgbaston chase in 2004.

Which Australian batsman scored 91 in the famous 2005 Ashes chase at Edgbaston?

The anchor role was played brilliantly by Michael Clarke whose 91 was crucial to Australia equalling England’s record in an epic Edgbaston encounter.

Who captained England when they chased 445 against India at Edgbaston in 2014?

England’s record breaking chase of 445 in 2014 came under the captaincy of the inspirational Alastair Cook.

Which England player scored 200* in the 2014 Edgbaston Test against India?

It was Joe Root who batted exceptionally for a monumental unbeaten double hundred that enabled England’s highest successful chase.

Who took man of the match for England in the 2009 Ashes Test?

Andrew Flintoff with his typical quickfire 51 and fiery bowling earned the man of the match award in 2009.

Conclusion

Edgbaston has certainly seen some all-time great performances in the fourth innings of Test matches over the years. Be it England’s highest successful chases against New Zealand and India, or Australia’s brilliant efforts in nail-biting Ashes encounters, spectators have been treated to enthralling cricket.

It takes immense skill, composure and self-belief to chase down 250+ targets on crumbling fifth day Edgbaston pitches. Players like Thorpe, Flintoff, Clarke and Root have shown those champion qualities to go down in folklore with their fourth innings heroics at this iconic cricket venue.

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