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20 great Ashes moments No18: Ashes born as Spofforth slays England, 1882

By: © Guardian News & Media Ltd

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© Guardian News & Media Ltd ( 99.09 )

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In a match where the 'strain was so severe an onlooker dropped dead', Fred Spofforth took 14 wickets and made cricket history

If Fred Spofforth, demon bowler, egg-thrower and tea salesman extraordinaire, ascended to cricketing immortality at The Oval in August 1882, he started his climb across London at Lord's in May 1878. It was a remarkable match between the touring Australians and an MCC team strong enough to be an England side in all but name, in which a batsman strode to the crease 37 times, and on three occasions they stuck around long enough to reach double figures; on average, each man scored 2.8.

In their first innings, the MCC managed to slip from 27 for two to 33 all out, with Spofforth claiming six wickets, including a hat-trick, w.......

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