England’s current match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth is their 500th overseas Test.
Of the previous 499 matches, which was their greatest win away from home?
BBC Sport has trawled through the history books to come up with a shortlist of 10 – all you have to do is pick a winner…
Sydney 1894 – drunk Peel helps England make history
A game like no other. An Australia win looked certain throughout – from racking up 586 in the first innings, to forcing England to follow on 261 runs behind, to being set a modest 177 to win. England’s Bobby Peel, still drunk from a night on the town, had other ideas. He took 6-67 as Australia collapsed from 130-2 to 166 all out. England triumphed by 10 runs to become the first team to win after following on – a feat that has been repeated only twice in 126 years of Test cricket since.
Brisbane 1933 – Paynter climbs off sick bed to reclaim Ashes
In a series made famous by England’s Bodyline tactics, Eddie Paynter’s heroics at the Gabba often get forgotten. In hospital with tonsillitis and a temperature during the fourth Test, he emerged from his sick bed with England struggling on 216-6 and saw them to the close with an unbeaten 24. After another night in hospital, he resumed the following morning to make 83 and help England to a first-innings lead. He insisted on fielding – and even completed the job by hitting a six to win the match and secure the Ashes.
Melbourne 1954-55 – ‘Typhoon’ blows Australia away
Who knows whether Frank Tyson would have bowled England to victory in the third Ashes Test had he not been knocked out by a Ray Lindwall bouncer in England’s second innings. Some thought he would not bat or bowl again for the rest of the game. Instead, a fired-up Tyson – mumbling William Wordsworth poems to himself while walking back to his mark – charged in to take 7-27 and skittle Australia for a paltry 111 in pursuit of 240.
Melbourne 1982 – England win thriller by three runs
One of the most astonishing Ashes matches of all time and one of the most remarkable endings. Australia slipped to 218-9 in pursuit of 292 in the fourth innings, but Allan Border and last man Jeff Thomson edged them closer to their target thanks to a dogged last-wicket stand of 70. With four runs needed to win, Ian Botham found Thomson’s edge, Chris Tavare dropped a sitter at second slip… and Geoff Miller ran behind him from first slip to take the rebound. There have only been two closer finishes in Test history in terms of runs.
Jamaica 1990 – England shock West Indies
The omens were not good. The fearsome West Indies had lost only once in 32 Tests. England had won only one Test against any team in the previous three years. They had not beaten West Indies in their previous 29 meetings. But at Sabina Park Angus Fraser took 5-28 from 20 overs, Allan Lamb hit a fine 132, Gladstone Small and Devon Malcolm shared eight second-innings wickets and 36-year-old Wayne Larkins – recalled after nine years – hit the winning runs to seal an astonishing victory.
Barbados 1994 – Stewart’s twin hundreds
From the nadir of 46 all out in the previous Test to one of England’s finest victories. Alec Stewart was the Bridgetown hero, pulling his way to 118 – on his 31st birthday, no less – and 143 to lay the foundations for a face-saving 208-run win at a ground where West Indies had not lost in 27 Tests over 58 years. The series was already lost and Brian Lara would make a Test record 375 not out in the final match, but this isn’t the time or place to discuss those details…
Melbourne 1998 – Headley’s heroics on the longest day
Dean Headley’s marathon spell – at the end of a marathon day of Test cricket – capped another thrilling consolation Ashes win for England. With Australia chasing 175 to win on the final day, Mark Ramprakash took a stunning, one-handed catch to remove Justin Langer and spark a collapse from 103-2 to 162 all out. In a final session that lasted a record four hours, Headley claimed four wickets for four runs to finish with figures of 6-60.
Karachi 2000 – England beat Pakistan in the dark
After two drawn Tests and four largely uninspiring days of cricket in the third Test, a 0-0 series appeared inevitable. But Pakistan slumped from 71-2 to 158 all out on day five to leave England chasing 176 in 44 overs. Despite Pakistan’s time-wasting, Graham Thorpe’s masterful unbeaten 64 – in light so poor that the fielders could barely see the ball – led England to a first series win in Pakistan in 39 years.
Melbourne 2010 – England’s perfect match
No nail-biting finish here. This was arguably the perfect performance by England, who bowled Australia out for 98 before reaching 157-0 on the opening day. Jonathan Trott made 168 not out, Mitchell Johnson conceded 134 runs, and Tim Bresnan mopped up Australia’s second innings with 4-50. England won by an innings and 157 runs with a day to spare, and the Ashes were retained for the first time in 24 years. They also inflicted another innings defeat on the hosts in the final Test for good measure.
Mumbai 2012 – KP dominates before spin twins shine
Another momentous win. Kevin Pietersen laid the ground work for this one with a marvellous 186 off 233 balls. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, who shared nine wickets in the first innings, went one step further in the second as India were hustled out for 142. Panesar, opening the bowling, claimed 6-81 and Swann 4-43 before England raced to a measly target of 57. The emboldened tourists went on to win the final Test to pull off a first series win in India in 27 years, an achievement captain Alastair Cook described as “on a par with the Ashes”.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport