On This Day: Cricketer Ian Botham reaches a major sporting milestone

Ian Botham (R) had one of the best innings of his life in the third Test of the Ashes in 1981.

Ian Botham (R) had one of the best innings of his life in the third Test of the Ashes in 1981. Photo: Getty

On this day 42 years ago, English cricketer Ian Botham etched his name into the history books when he became the quickest person in Test cricket to score 1000 runs and 100 wickets.

Botham took just 21 Tests to reach the sporting landmark and went on to become one of England’s greatest all-rounders.

Given the nickname ‘Beefy’, Botham could swing the ball both ways as a bowler and had an outgoing personality that mirrored his flair as a batter.

He was one of cricket’s first global superstars.

The 1981 Ashes marked the peak of his career and saw him play an instrumental role in one of the greatest upsets in cricketing history.

England was made to follow on after compiling just 174 runs in its first innings after Australia opened with 9-401 declared at Headingley.

Defeat looked all but certain when England collapsed to 7-135 on the afternoon of the fourth day.

But then up stepped Botham.

He scored 149 not out before England’s last wicket fell.

And then he took the first wicket after Australia came back to the crease.

Australia had to score 130 to win the match, but the tourists came up 18 runs short.

It was only the second time that a side forced to follow on had won a Test – England had last done it against Australia in Sydney in 1894 – and the series has gone down in history as “Botham’s Ashes”.

Years later, the English Cricket Board named Botham in the country’s greatest ever Test side in 2018.

And earlier this month the UK government named Botham as a UK trade ambassador to Australia.

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