Six great England home Test matches

Shukriya Pakistan

Birmingham: England will play their 500th home Test when they face Pakistan at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Below AFP Sport picks out six of the most memorable clashes from a list of fixtures dating back to 1880:

1880, The Oval: England beat Australia by five wickets.

Three years earlier what became known as the first Test in cricket history took place in Melbourne when Australia beat England by 45 runs.

The return clash was a hastily arranged affair at The Oval, with England’s WG Grace — the father of modern batting — scoring 152 on Test debut — and then seeing England home as they struggled to make 57 in their second innings.

1948, Headingley: Australia beat England by seven wickets.

Australia set a huge target of 404 on the last day saw opener Arthur Morris make 182 and captain Don Bradman, Test cricket’s greatest batsman, an unbeaten 173 as they ultimately cruised to victory.

Australia didn’t lose a match all tour and Bradman’s team became known as ‘The Invincibles’.

1956, Old Trafford: England beat Australia by an innings and 73 runs.

England’s Jim Laker, in a match return that may never be topped in Tests, took 19 wickets on a pitch that many Australians were convinced had been tailor made for the Surrey off-spinner, including all 10 in the tourists’ second innings.

1981, Headingley: England beat Australia by 18 runs

So dire was England’s position as they followed on that bookmakers Ladbrokes, with former England wicket-keeper Godfrey Evans helping set the odds, made them 500/1 to win.

Yet thanks to Ian Botham’s blistering 149 not out and eight wickets from fast bowler Bob Willis, Australia failed to chase down a target of 130.

2000, Lord’s: England beat the West Indies by two wickets.

England were 133 runs behind on first innings but pace bowlers Andy Caddick and Dominic Cork turned the tide as the West Indies were bowled out for just 54 in their second innings.

Cork and Darren Gough then added an unbroken 31 for the ninth wicket as England secured a thrilling win.

2005, Edgbaston: England beat Australia by two runs

One of the most tense finishes Test cricket has known saw England almost snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Australia’s last wicket-pair of Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz so nearly put their side 2-0 up in that year’s Ashes.

But with three runs required, Kasprowicz was caught behind down the legside by wicket-keeper Geraint Jones off fast bowler Steve Harmison.