Published: 15th November, 2012
Surrey & The Ashes
The Ashes of 1968 were largely ruined by the weather. Australia won the first Test, and rain had denied England almost certain victory in two others. Going into the final Test – as ever at the Oval – the Aussies were one up and had retained the Ashes. England were still looking for a victory to restore some pride.
1968: Top of the Mops
England had batted well, and in the fourth innings Australia had been set 352 to win. By lunch on day five they were 85-5 and the win looked a formality. Then the heavens opened.
Half an hour later and the ground more resembled the nearby River Thames than the Oval, pools of water covering the outfield. Not to be defeated – and without a super-sopper to hand – the groundsmen and a hoard of volunteers stepped forward.
Armed with just mops, brooms and a few blankets the team completed their almost impossible mission with 75 minutes of play still possible. But England still needed five wickets.
Up stepped ‘Deadly’ Derek Underwood to do some mopping up of his own. The slow left-armer took the last four wickets in just 27 balls. In another dramatic Oval climax, England took the win with six minutes to spare.
The match had also been special thanks to a maiden ton from Basil D’Oliveira which changed the face of international cricket and arguably South African politics.
The Kia Oval; home of drama, sensation, history, and the 5th Investec Ashes Test 2013. You don’t want to miss it.
Ashes tickets are always hugely sought after. Being a Member of Surrey CCC will put you at the front of the queue.
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