On this day: England’s fiery Fred Trueman reaches 300 Test wickets

Australia toured England for a 5-match Ashes Test series in the English summer of 1964. The Aussies held the Ashes for the previous three series. The first two matches of the series at Trent Bridge and the Lord’s ended in a draw due to rain despite England taking a first-innings lead in both games. The Aussies were in a tricky position in the 3rd Test at Headingley as they were seven wickets down for 178 in response to England’s total of 268.

Peter Burge smashed 160 and added 211 runs for the last three wickets to help the Aussies earn a 121-run lead. England, in reply, were bowled out for 229 only before Australia cruised to a 7-wicket win and took a 1-0 lead. The following Test at Old Trafford ended in a draw with both the teams recording 600+ totals. This result ensured Australia retained the Ashes but England still had a chance to draw the series with a consolation win at The Oval.

England had something big coming in this Test more than the result. It was the possibility of their speedster Fred Trueman breaching the milestone of 300 Test wickets. Trueman needed only three wickets to become the first cricketer in Test history to reach the mark ahead of The Oval Test. Trueman’s milestone wicket delayed a bit as England elected to bat first but could only post 182 before getting bowled out on the first day itself.

The milestone wicket that was made to wait!

Fred Trueman took the new ball but couldn’t find any success early on. He went wicketless on the second day when Australia moved towards a big lead. Australia approached the 350-run mark for the loss of six wickets but none of them went into Trueman’s tally. He found success in his 26th over just when it seemed as if the pacer might have to wait until the next match for his milestone. He got through the stumps of Ian Redpath and sent back Gareth McKenzie on the very next ball.

Trueman spent five more overs on 299 career wickets in Test cricket before making Neil Hawke as his 300th scalp. Trueman finished with four wickets as Australia were bowled out for 379. England managed to draw the match as they made 381/4 after batting for 163 overs. Fred Trueman completed the milestone of 300 Test wickets in only 65 matches which has been surpassed by as many as nine players till date. Trueman remains the fastest England bowler to 300 Test wickets.