The 1981 Ashes might be called by many the “Botham’s Ashes”, however, the all-rounder did not have a great start to the series.

In the first two Tests, Botham fared poorly, unable to score runs or pick a lot of wickets. He ended up being stripped from captaincy. At Headingley, he picked up six wickets in the first innings and scored 50 in England’s first innings, and then came the memorable unbeaten 149, before Bob Willis ran through the Australian batting line-up to level the series.

However, in the fourth Test at Edgbaston, Botham could manage just 26 and three, in his two innings. Also with the ball, he had just picked up a wicket in the first innings.

Just like the Headingly Test, Australians once again walked out to chase a low total of 151. Allan Border and Graham Yallop looked good to finish things but off-spinner John Emburey removed the two set batsmen.

Soon, Mike Brearley re-introduced Botham into the attack and what followed hereon was a wreck.

Botham’s first victim was Rodney Marsh. Marsh couldn’t read the ball, as it smashed his middle stump. Next was Ray Bright, who was trapped in the front. Botham was on a hat-trick but he missed the opportunity. However, it did not take long for Botham to remove the remaining three wickets. Dennis Lillee fell next while trying to slash one past point but edging it to wicketkeeper Bob Taylor. Australian cricketer Martin Kent did provide some resistance early on but eventually was cleaned up by a Botham inswinger. Terry Alderman had picked up eight wickets in the Test, setting up a winning platform for his team, but now it was his turn to do the job with the bat.

He failed, as another lethal Botham inswinger cleaned him up. In a magic spell of 28 balls, Botham picked up five wickets, giving away only one run and Australia were bowled out for 121, as England went two up.

Later on, speaking about the match, Botham said, “I had bowled well – fast and straight – but on that wicket it should not have been enough to make the Aussies crumble that way.”

“The only explanation I could find was that they had bottled out. The psychological edge that we – and I – had got over them at Headingley was proving an insuperable barrier for them.”