Flashback – 2005 Ashes

This entry was posted on Monday, July 8th, 2013

The Original Golden Summer

As the months have become days and the days have become hours, English complacency has become confidence and confidence has become nerves. Michael Clarke is a run-machine. Phil Hughes undeniably has talent. Chris Rogers knows English conditions. Brad Haddin is a fighter. And that bowling attack has a real zip about it. Hell – this series could be close. We might even lose.

But however close the upcoming Ashes turns out to be, it is unlikely to top 2005; two teams at their peak going head-to-head in some of the tightest test matches ever played in the game’s history.

Yet after the opening test at Lord’s, it was more a case of ‘Here we Go Again’ than ‘Here we Go Here we Go Here we Go.’ Harmison scarred Langer and Ponting, but it was McGrath who did damage of a different sort on the first afternoon, as England lost 5-21. Australia won the match by 239 runs, and only a defiant 64* from debutant Kevin Pietersen in the second innings offered any idea of the comeback that was to come.

But then, drama. Glen McGrath twists his ankle playing football, and England wrack up over 400 runs on the first day of the second test at Edgbaston – not since 1938 had any side done that to the Aussies.

It was then the turn of Andrew Flintoff to star – his 73 with a bust shoulder was followed by one of the great test match overs. With Australia 47-0 chasing down 282, Freddy took care of Langer and Ponting. And when Steve Harmison knocked Michael Clarke’s stumps out with the final ball of that day, Australia were still 107 behind with ‘just’ two wickets remaining.

The end when it came was dramatic – needing just three to win, Michael Kasprowicz (McGrath’s replacement) gloved one down the legside into the grateful hands of Geraint Jones. If the Welsh wickie had missed it, the ball was heading to the boundary, leaving England were two down in the five-match series. And only Richie Benaud could shout random names and make it sound like genius.

To Be Continued…

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