Sky Cricket statistician Benedict Bermange using cricket simulator to settle the argument over the greatest Test team ever; the final pitches two Australian sides against each other in the shape of Don Bradman’s 1948 ‘Invincibles’ against Steve Waugh’s 2002 XI
Last Updated: 30/01/21 10:04am
Australia’s 2002 side drew level in the final of the Greatest Test Team tournament with a close-fought three-wicket victory of Australia 1948 in the second Test.
Don Bradman won the toss and chose to bat but found himself striding to the crease in just the second over after Arthur Morris fell to Jason Gillespie for one.
When Brett Lee removed Sid Barnes, Bradman was joined by Lindsay Hassett and the two forged a superb partnership – having taken tea unbeaten on 98, Hassett was the first to reach his century, with Bradman not far behind him.
However, two balls after striking Glenn McGrath for the boundary which brought up three figures, Bradman edged to Adam Gilchrist to depart for 102. Never one to be out of the game for long, Shane Warne promptly removed Keith Miller and Neil Harvey in successive deliveries.
Hassett eventually fell in the first over of the second day for a superb 153. The tail didn’t hang around for long and the innings ended on 356, with McGrath the pick of the bowlers.
The 2002 side were soon in trouble as Ray Lindwall and Miller ripped the heart out of their top order, reducing them to 16-3 in the 10th over. Justin Langer stood firm, but when he was dismissed for 31, it was up to Steve Waugh to try to lift his side to as close to parity as he could.
He found a worthy ally in Damien Martyn and the pair took their side to 169-4 at the close of the second day. Martyn was more circumspect on the third morning but Waugh completed an excellent century from 182 deliveries.
Adam Gilchrist made a breezy 28 but the new ball eventually removed Waugh for 152. Thanks to him, the 2002 side only trailed by 25 runs on first innings when they were dismissed for 331 on the stroke of tea.
Then it was the 1948 team’s top order’s turn to struggle, with McGrath finding life from the pitch to remove three of the top four batsmen, including Bradman for a duck, to reduce the opposition to 23-4, just 48 ahead.
Hassett tried his best to stop the rot with a stodgy 22, which took up 86 deliveries, but it was only really the eighth-wicket pair of Lindwall and Don Tallon who were able to make any headway, sharing a partnership of 87 before Warne polished off the tail, leaving the 2002 side 224 to win in four sessions of play plus half an hour.
Lindwall and Miller were soon into the act again, as the 2002 side took tea on the fourth day at 17-2 with both Hayden and Langer back in the shed. Mark Waugh followed for 15 but Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh stayed together and day four ended with their side 78-3, needing another 146 to win.
When both Ponting (48) and Steve Waugh (30) fell within 10 minutes of each other to leave the 2002 team 102-5, Bradman would have been confident, but that just brought Gilchrist to the crease. Deciding that playing positively was the best approach, he shared a fifty partnership with Martyn and reached a 73-ball half-century.
Warne made a valuable 18 and shared a vital seventh-wicket partnership of 54 with his wicketkeeper which took them to the brink of victory. Brett Lee ensured that the target was reached with a boundary off Miller to level the series at 1-1 with three matches to play.
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