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.