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The longest Test in England

The last day of the longest Test match on English soil on 3rd September 1975. The two boards of England and Australia agreed that the last test of the 1975 Ashes would be extended to six days.

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Last updated: 03.09.2019
The longest Test in England | Sports Social Blog

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3rd September 1975 was the last day of the longest Test match on English soil. In the current scenario, when most of the Test matches are getting over by four days and ICC is considering arranging four-day Tests regularly, a six-day Test was unthinkable. But the two boards of England and Australia agreed that the last test of the 1975 Ashes would be extended to six days. Australia had a 1-0 lead after the first three Tests and hence the 4th one lasted for six days. It started on 28th August, a Thursday and including a rest day on Sunday continued for a week till next Wednesday.

However, in the midway it looked like the match would not go the distance but a special inning by Bob Woolmer changed the course of the match.

Australia started strongly and reached 280/1 with the opener Rick McCosker and captain Ian Chappell unbeaten on hundreds.  Chappell continued for long on day two and finally perished for 192 off Woolmer. Australia batted 181 overs to score 532/9 before declaring as Chris Old and Tony Greig finished with three wickets each. 

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England could not replicate the Australian batting and kept losing regular wickets. David Steele top-scored for them with 39 and John snow contributed 30 from number ten as they folded for 191. Jeff Thomson and Max Walker took four wickets each. It was fourth day morning and with a lead of 341, Australia asked England to follow on. With more than two days to go, they were confident of an innings win. 

England had a much better start in their second innings. The openers Wood and Edrich added 77 runs and then Edrich and Steele were in an unbeaten partnership as they finished day four at 179/1. On day five all their middle-order players contributed. Edrich scored 96, Steele 66, and Graham Roope 77. But the most heroic innings came from Bob Woolmer. Woolmer was most famous as a successful cricket coach for South Africa but he also had a long playing career for Kent and played 19 Tests for England scoring three centuries. He delivered his most famous century in this Test match as batted for more than eight hours before getting leg before for 149 runs. He was the last English batsman to get out and by then he helped them to put 538 runs after following on. They also batted for a whooping 233 overs and five balls. 

By the time England closed their innings, there was not much time for Australia to push for a victory. They scored 40/2 in 17 overs of batting and hence even the six-day (more than 32 hours of playing time) long Test match also ended in a draw.


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