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Ashes legends :David Gower and Bob Willis

The grace of Gower and hostility of Willis

David Gower and Bob Willis have been two big  english Ashes icons during the 1970s and 80s. David Gower made his debut in 1978 and played his 1st Ashes series in Australia during 1978-79 and finishing with impressive returns of 420 runs with 1 century in 6 tests. The graceful lefthander had a silken touch in his shots both off front and backfoot and relied entirely on his gifted timing as a result of which he thrived on the true Australian pitches. He scored 1672 runs in 21 tests at 46 average with 5 centuries in Ashes contests in Australia and never aggregated below 400 runs in any of those series which is a great achievement.  At home he scored 1365 Ashes runs and the majority was scored in his lifetime best Ashes series in 1985 where he rattled up 732 runs in 6 match series at 81 average and 3 hundreds with a top score of 215 and won the series 3 -1 as the captain. He was in vintage form in that series and scored his runs with effortless ease. In all Gower aggregated 3037 ashes runs with 9 hundreds at 46 average in 38 tests to make his mark as a great Ashes legend.

 

Bob Willis , had been the leading England fast bowler in the 1970s till early 80s with 325 test wickets . He had a long burstling  run up with his tall and aggressive frame with big curly hair and was deadly with the new ball bowled at good pace as testified by many of his contemporaries  . He had a pretty consistent run in the Ashes with 123 wickets in 31 ashes tests at 24 average and 53 strike rate with  7 five wicket hauls . His two best Ashes series were in 1977 and 1981 both at home. In 1977 he took 27 wickets in 5 tests with 7/78 as his best figures with 19 average. With his hostile pace ,he was one of the top performers in that series which England won 3-0 against a strong Australian team led by Greg Chappell. Willis’  next big Ashes series happened in 1981 when he took 29 wickets in 6 tests at 22 average .It included a hostile spell in the Headlingly test which England won in sensational fashion after following on. Aussies needed 130 to win in 4th innings after Botham’s 100 helped England to take a slender lead. However the pitch was already behaving awkwardly and after a quiet start by the Aussies, Willis managed to hit the right length and got the ball to lift from awkward length which made him unplayable. None of the Aussies could handle his hostility and Australia collapsed to 111 as Willis took 8/43 to take England to a sensational 18 run win.

With his height and intimidating presence Willis did enough as a consistent fast bowler to make his mark as an Ashes legend.

 

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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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