Ashes 2005 4th Test at Trent Bridge

We’ve been to some duff days of cricket, but Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were at the crease for the start of day two and to say we were looking forward to it was an understatement.

While we were queueing to get in, Pietersen was caught behind. If we’d got there earlier, who knows what would have happened, because the cricketing gods were smiling on us that day.

Firstly, Andrew Flintoff hit a hundred. If you’ve never seen Andrew Flintoff hit a hundred in an Ashes Test, let us tell you this: people like it. He should try and do it more often.

Then England took some wickets. Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Martyn and Clarke and Australia hadn’t even reached 100 by the close of play. Not bad.

The next day, Simon Jones mopped up the tail and Australia were politely asked to follow-on. They set England 129 to win and Shane Warne promptly tore them a new one.

He’d done it before and he did it again even more effectively in Adelaide in 2006, but we still marvel at Shane Warne’s 4-31 in this match in the 2005 Ashes. It was nothing to do with the pitch or the deliveries he bowled and everything to do with paralysing a batting line-up through force of will.

Hell, he paralysed an entire nation, let alone the poor nine bastards who came to the crease. As for the number 10 – he was worst of all. If you see the footage of Steve Harmison waiting to bat, thinking the entire Ashes is going to hang on his batting ability, you are seeing the very definition of nervousness. The man practically imploded.

Presumably harnessing their nervous energy somehow were Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard. Giles hit the winning runs and looked quite emotional having done so, but our favourite moment was when Matthew ‘forward defensive’ Hoggard creamed a drive through the offside with just a handful to get. He’d never played that shot before in his life, we swear.

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5 Appeals

  1. England were 241 when the fifth wicket went down. My Aussie mate came dancing (literally) past my office shouting “It’s a walk in the pahk, mate.” 177 runs later, when the sixth wicket fell, he was slightly more subdued. I gave him a lift home after work. We listened in the car to the first four Aussie wickets fall. It was the best drive I have ever had. He conceded the Ashes in the pub that evening, absolutely shell-shocked.

    On that second day, the day you saw live, KC, England scored 236 runs for the last five wickets, and then had Australia at 22 for 3, 58 for 4, and finally 99 for 5. Without any context, that must rank as one of the half dozen or so most successful days of test cricket in English history. With context (the Aussies only needed to win to retain the Ashes) I think it stands alone.

    England on that day absolutely, totally, and utterly battered the Australians. They had no clue. At the end of day 1, even the most pessamistic, clinically depressed, inferiority-complexed Australian cannot possibly have imagined that by the close of the next day they would be trailing by 388 with only five wickets left.

  2. I always thought it absolute poetry that Wheelie Bin not only hit the winning runs, but hit them off Warne – a guy so much more talented as a cricketer who bowled spin and batted a bit, and yet every dog has their day. The game was won by a team performance and it was so fitting that the ultimate team man, who was usually the unsung hero, was the one who had the final moment glory. Probably even more perfect that the guy at the other end was the other heart-on-the-sleeve team player (total disgrace how Hoggie was later treated by England).

  3. The final day of that match was my birthday and what a nailbiter it turned out to be.

    I remember my poor old mum calling me that afternoon. What my parents know/knew about cricket could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

    I said, “mum, I’ll call you back. The entire Ashes hinge on what’s about to happen over the next few minutes………”

    …….and while I was trying to explain, Freddies stumps went flying. I let out an anguished bellow down the phone, which Lawrence (late of this parish) would have been proud of.

    “What on earth has happened?”, asked mum, presumably imagining intruders, fire, flood or something of that ilk. “Freddie’s stumps…….” I shrieked. “Call me back later, dear”, she said and put the phone down.

    Slightly frosty was the reception I got later. She didn’t even seem pleased that England had won. Dad seemed to think the whole incident was most amusing.

  4. Lee demolishing Freddie’s stumps is one of the great worst images of my life. I stopped watching, left my family with barely a word, and went for a pleasant stroll in the woods. I avoided everyone for an hour, just in case one of them said “Afternoon. Shame about England, eh?” On reflection, I’m pleased I did this. I am not sure I could have contained myself when Jones disnissed himself.

  5. Me, Helen and Emma went dressed as the Queens of Spain on Saturday. We had a large Spanish flag with “King of Spain” written on it, which the nice old steward in Hound Round Upper let us drape over the front of the stand.

    My sister was very excited that she saw us on telly. That footage is immortalised in the Ashes souvenir video. The old bloke apparently asleep next to us is my Dad. He only wakes up when either Pietersen or Flintoff are batting.

    We had seats in the Pavillion the next day – they’re not so keen on large flags there but we waved it anyway when the King of Spain scored the winning runs.

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