David Gower looks back at England's six best games from the 1980's - an epic selection of matches with England at their flamboyant best.
1981 v Australia, 3rd Test, Headingley, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 July.
It was the stuff of legends, and is unquestionably the most famous game of cricket ever played. England were down and out following-on 227 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 401 for 9. Enter Ian Botham and a sensational 149 runs from 148 balls nosed England ahead by 129 runs. Amazingly it was a bridge too far for the Aussies as Bob Willis ripped through them taking 8 for 43 and making it only the second time in history that the side following-on had won.
1981 v Australia, 4th Test, Edgbaston 30, 31 July, 1, 2 August.
It looked a routine victory for Australia and a fairly ordinary match. England were bowled out in the first innings for 189 then bowled Australia out for 258. England added 219 in their second innings, leaving Australia a seemingly facile 151 runs to win. They seemed to be coasting to victory until up stepped England's super-hero Ian Botham. His 5 wickets for 1 run in 28 balls snatched the game away from Australia and put England 2-1 up in the series.
1982 v Australia, 4th Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 December.
An amazingly tight game in which for the first time in any Test where all 40 wickets fell, all innings totals were within 10 runs of each other. Australia led by 3 runs after the first two innings and were set 292 to win after England's second innings. An inspired spell of bowling by Norman Cowans (6 for 77) looked to have secured a fairly comfortable victory and Australia still needed 74 runs with one wicket remaining. However an incredible stand of 70 runs between Thompson and Border looked to have snatched victory until Thompson edged Botham (his 100th wicket against Australia) to Miller in the slips, giving England victory by 3 runs.
1985 v Australia, 5th Test, Edgbaston, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 August.
A crucial game with the series poised at 1-1 with only 2 Tests remaining. Australia made 335 in the first innings then England ran riot with Tim Robinson (148), David Gower (218) and Mike Gatting (100*) taking England to a declaration at 595 fro 5. The draw was still likely until Richard Ellison took the top order apart, eventually returning figures of 10 for 104 as England won by an innings and 118 runs.
1986 v Australia, 1st Test, Brisbane, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 November.
England came into the series having been written off, but the hacks were made to eat their words. A brilliant 138 from Botham in the first innings took England to 456 then Graham Dilley's 5 for 68 kept Australia to 248 and forced to follow-on. In spite of Geoff Marsh's 110 Australia could only add 282 leaving England with 75 runs to win, and an easy victory by 7 wickets.
1986 v Australia, 4th Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 26, 27, 28 December.
An incredible performance from Mike Gatting's men saw them clinch the 5 game series 2-0 against all odds and in emphatic fashion. Australia batted first and were torn apart by Gladstone Small and Ian Botham who took 5 wickets apiece as Australia were bowled out for 141. England then powered to 349, Chris Broad the star with 112, leaving Australia 208 behind. More inspired bowling by England and two run-outs meant Australia were always struggling. They eventually succumbed for 194 leaving England victorious by the incredible margin of an innings and 14 runs.
Footage courtesy of BBC, Channel 9 and ECB.