In Test cricket there is always a precedent to inspire hope. In this case it’s the first Test at the Gabba in 1986-87 when an England team given no chance won so emphatically all the doom was transferred to Australia
The last one-off Ashes Test took place in 1887-88, but only if you’re talking literally. The opening match of a long series often sets such a decisive tone – particularly in Australia – that it could often be described as the deciding first Test. Most people give Joe Root’s England two chances in the upcoming series, and slim is unavailable because of an ongoing police investigation. But in the sprawling history of Test cricket there is always a precedent to inspire hope. In this case it’s the first Test at the Gabba in 1986-87, when an England team given approximately 0.00% chance won so emphatically that all the pre-series doom was transferred to Australia.
There are plenty of parallels between then and now, and a couple of reminders that sometimes the past is another planet, never mind a foreign country. The story of the game – “can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field” – has been told a gazillion times, so here’s an attempt to disguise brazen recycling: it’s our series of England First Test Dos and Don’ts!