The nine greatest moments in Ashes history

Posted by , 08 July 2009

Aussies back themselves at 500-1 (to lose)

Aussies back themselves at 500-1 (to lose)

  • #01

    Glenn McGrath injures himself playing Aussie Rules

  • Introduction
  • #08

    Brett Lee gets merked by a fan

When? The third Ashes Test of 1981, with England seemingly needing a miracle to win. The bookies obviously thought the same, and offered odds of 500-1.

Where? Ladbrokes hosted a betting tent at Headingley, where punts were mainly being offered on the horses, but former Kent and England wicketkeeper Godfrey Evans and Ladbrokes director Ron Pollard ran a sideshow market on the cricket.

What happened? The odds went up on the electronic scoreboard at Headingley. The crowd laughed. The players joined in. But unable to ignore such good value (and too stupid to see it might be viewed badly), Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee and chum Rod Marsh only went and got their bloody money down (during a break in play, via coach Peter Tribe). What happened next - a big, beefy, Ian Botham-shaped, 149-not-out miracle – is one of cricket’s most magical turnarounds. But for two Australians, it came with a £7,500 silver lining.

Why didn't they get in serious shit? The Aussies certainly didn't want to shout about it. And nor did the English team. Why would they? That'd be like saying you fought at Dunkirk, only the Germans weren't using real bullets.

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