In 1974 ‘Lillee and Thommo’ made a mockery of the Three Lions’ batsmen.
England and Australia go head-to-head in the first Ashes Test of 2013 on Wednesday, with the English having won the previous two series’. The home side are favourites across the bookies but there will be plenty of requests for more on cricket betting as the Ashes approach.
Here fanatix continues our look at some of the greatest moments in Ashes history with the 1974 Australian performance.
When England flew to Australia in 1974 to defend the Ashes they came up against Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson who ripped through the Three Lions top order.
Having won the previous series on home soil the English side should have been confident, but before the tour even started things hadn’t gone well with the self-imposed exile of Geoffrey Boycott and the snubbing of John Snow by the selectors.
However, the visitors clung onto the positives with Lillee not having taken a Test wicket for nearly two years and Thomson having taken none in the one solitary five-day match the bowler had played at the time.
Yet the ferocity and pace that the pair bowled at took the England batsmen’s breath away and cracked a few bones as well.
Thomson thundered in time after time during the first Test at the Gabba and the English winced as John Edrich had his finger fractured and Dennis Amiss his thumb.
The Aussie paceman took nine wickets in total during that opening match, with Lillee providing tremendous support at the other end by claiming four scalps.
Australia won by 166 runs and England badly needed Boycott, a batsman with a level head, as the top order’s confidence was being shaken to its core.
Yet there was no Boycott and instead the tourists turned to Colin Cowdrey, who made the 46-hour flight (planes have improved since) form the British Isles to the Land Down Under.
Cowdrey and David Lloyd attempted to fend off the Aussies in the second Test, yet despite brave defending from the pair Thommo and Lillee were too potent and the home side raced to a comfortable nine-wicket victory with a day to spare.
The defining moment for Lloyd was a thunderous ball from Thomson that caught him somewhere between the bellybutton and the upper thigh (if you get the drift) and forced the batsman to retire injured.
The Australian pair changed what fast bowling would become in Australia and beyond (most natoably the West Indies in 1980s) for the next 20 years – unfortunately for England they were the original guinea-pigs.
Watch Lillee and Thommo ripping through the English below: