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Ashes legends : Allan Border

Epitome of courage and resilience

If we go through the Ashes records of various legends in last 50 years, consistency wise Allan Border tops the list easily. Not the most prettiest left hander, a bottom handed player but had all the strokes and very strong in drives, cuts, pull and sweep and was equal at ease with both pace or spin. Border was a player blessed with awesome patience and resilience and great temperament , who singlehandedly carried the fortunes of Australian cricket in major part of 1980s all on his own which also includes many of his heroic deeds in the Ashes. Border made his debut at MCG in the 3rd ashes test of 1978-79 series and scored 29 in 0 his debut . In the next test ,he showed a glimpse of things to come with two resolute knocks of 60 notout and 45 notout but could not save Australia from defeat due to poor batting by his teammates. Australia were thrashed 5-1 at home and Border ended the series with 146 runs at 36 average ,but showed glimpses of his fighting qualities which came to the fore in his next Ashes sojourn in 1981 in England. By this time Border had a fair test of international cricket scoring stack of runs in the subcontinent and already showing great adaptibility to various situations . Australia took the upper hand in the 1981 series initially till Botham rose from the Ashes to inflict back to back narrow defeats on Australia who totally lost the stranglehold due to some abject batting. Amongst the ruins ,one Allan Border stood strong scoring his share of runs showing great skills and temperament and scoring two back to back 100s with finger injury one of which was a brilliant 123 notout on a 4th innings pitch at Manchester. However Border’s 533 runs with 2 tons and 59 average failed to prevent England from winning the series. Border’s next Ashes series at home in 1982-83 was turning out as a struggle for him initially as there were murmurs of him might get dropped due to lack of form ,but then in the 2nd innings of the exciting MCG test , the Australians were chasing 292 and were already struggling at 218/9 when Border was joined by Thomson . Together they inched towards victory target as the match gradually was getting tense. However after reaching within 3 runs for a win , Thomson (21) snicked Botham to slip and was caught by Tavare and Border was left high and dry  with a valiant 62 notout in an innings filled with determination to win but with heartbreaking results . Scores of 89 and 83 in the last test however  helped Australia to regain the ashes by winning 2-1.

Border was the captain when Australia played their next Ashes series in England. He scored a superb 196 and a 65 notout at Lords to square the series 1-1 but again poor batting by Aussie batsmen in later half series resulted in other 3-1 series loss for Australia. Border scored another resilient 146 notout to draw the old Trafford test . He totalled a massive 597 runs for the series with 66 average with 2 tons.  In the return series in Australia in 1986/87 Border hit 473 runs at 52 average with 2 tons but could not prevent another Ashes loss for Australia by 2-1.

Finally the wheels turned for Border in 1989 ashes in England in respect of team result. His 66 and 60 notout in 1st test at  Leeds in bowling conditions set the tone for Aussie dominance and this time they grabbed it with both hands to win the series by thrashing the Poms  4-0 as Border totalled 442 runs at 73 average and scored 6 fifties.

Border led Australia to 3-0 series win in 1990-91 Ashes at home ,himself scoring 283 runs at 47 average and finally in his last Ashes honeymoon in England in 1993 he totalled 433 runs at 54 average with a superb 200 notout at Leeds to win the series 4-1.

Border never failed in any ashes series and was particularly successful in seaming conditions in England again showing great ability to adapt to conditions. He never aggregated below 400 runs in any series in England and neither his average dropped below 50 there in any series– scored 2005 runs in 24 tests at 64 average with 5 hundreds. Border’s total ashes aggregate was 3222 runs at 55 average with 7 hundreds in 42 tests with a top score of 200 notout.

Allan Border,  take a bow , one of the greatest ever Ashes legends of all time under extremely stressful circumstances.

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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