One of the oldest, most fierce and closely fought rivalries in world cricket is between the Australians and the English. Over the years, the two teams have outplayed each other on many occasions. The biggest occasion for the two teams is the bi-lateral series played every 18 months between the nations, The Ashes. The Ashes series has a huge history and is one of the most viewed cricketing events in the world. Here we try to re live the 10 best moments in the history of Ashes series.
Best Ashes Series Moments
Ball of the century
Shane Warne in his prime was unplayable. His understanding of the game and swift change in tactics made him one of the best bowlers of all time in test cricket. In the 1993 Ashes, at Old Trafford, Shane Warne announced himself to the world of Cricket. His ball to dismiss Mike Gatting is still termed the ball of the century by many because of the brilliance of the delivery. Warne got Gatting with a ball that turned a mile. It was pitched outside the leg stump but turned a long way and rattled his off stump. This event till date is still one of the best moments in the history of the game.
The Cardiff Miracle
In the 2009 Ashes series in England, the hosts picked two spinners for the game in Cardiff. Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were the two spinners that the hosts gambled on. However, Australia toiled their way after giving away 400 runs in the first innings to a mammoth total of 674 and were ahead by 239 runs by the end of their innings. England who had to bat for more than 3 sessions lost two wickets by the end of day 4 and were reduced to 70 for 5 by lunch on the last day. However, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar along with a gritty innings from Collingwood saved England the test match, which was nothing short of a miracle.
Boycott runs out Randall
Derek Randall was a star in the late 1970’s and was one of the fiercest batsmen in the world at that time. Boycott, who was dropped earlier in the series made his comeback in the third test at Trent Bridge. On the second day, Randall was playing confidently but at 52/2, Boycott ran him out with a poor call and changed the complexion of the game. He ran out an inform Randall who set off for a run that was hardly there. This stands as a big moment in Ashes history as it had a huge impact on the outcome of the game, clearly visible from Boycott’s reaction.
Wisden’s Best Innings
In the late 30’s Don Bradman was one of the most popular figures in the World of cricket. He was a player tailor-made for the game of cricket. On a pitch described by him as one of the worst he has ever seen, Bradman used different tactics as a skipper to get the best out of his team in the conditions. He came out at No.7 as the Australian were 221 runs ahead. He scored an astonishing 248 and batted England completely out of the game. This innings by Bradman was termed as Wisden’s best Innings played in the history of cricket due the circumstances around it.
Jim Laker’s 19 Wickets in a match
In the year 1956 at the Old Trafford, Jim Laker from England produced an astonishing bowling performance and gave England a 2-1 unassailable lead in the series. Thought the feat of a clean sweep in an innings was repeated by Anil Kumble a lot late, 19 wickets in a game is something that was never done before. It is highly unlikely that it will ever happen in the future of cricket. This makes this incredible feat by Laker as one of the most memorable moments in the history of Ashes cricket.
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Hat-trick by Shane Warne at the MCG
The best spinner from Australia, Shane Warne was proving that he can be devastating in various conditions. He showed the world that he has what it takes to trouble batsmen even on the flattest of pitches. In 1994, at the MCG, Shane Warne produced a brilliant spell of bowling in which he picked a hat-trick with almost the perfect deliveries for a leg spinner.
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This effort form Warne gave Australia a great chance at victory at home and is still remembered by many as one of the best test moment in Shane Warne’s career.
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England re-gains the Ashes
In 1953, the fifth and final test match at the Oval in the Ashes series had a greater importance after the first 4 matches ended in dull draws. Australia were in trouble on a used pitch and gave England a modest target of 132 runs to win the match and the series. After fighting hard for those runs, a tense finish between the teams saw England run away with the victory and regain the Ashes cup in that year. This is a memorable victory for the country as it was on the back of some disappointing performances.
Allan Border, no more a nice guy
In the 1989 Ashes series between the two nations, the Australians for the first time used an aggressive and relentless approach. They were no longer a friendly team and Border was no longer the nice guy. The aggression on the field left the teams against each other as Border went so far as to deny a glass of water to Robin Smith. This is still remembered as the time when Australia earned themselves the aggressors tag in World Cricket. This series has come to be known since then as the tour that changed team Australia.
Lillee and Thompson savage England
The 1974 Ashes series was one of the most closely fought series in the history. The Australian bowlers, Dennis Lille and Jeff Thompson were at their best and were more inclined towards scaring the batsman than picking his wicket up. The pair injured upto 5 players with their sheer pace and steep bounce on the pitch helped their cause. This was the first time that fast bowling was used as a weapon with aggression. This series set the bench-mark for high standard bowling and is known to be the first time when cricket was deemed to be dangerous.
Pratt runs Ponting out
At Old Trafford in the 2005 Ashes series, Ricky Ponting helped Australia out of a tricky situation with a innings that lasted for more than 2 hours and was full of authority. With over a 100 runs behind the English score, Martyn and Punter were looking comfortable. At 48, Ponting lost his wicket thanks to a poor call from Martin for a single that was risky. Gary Pratt was on the field as a substitute and became an unlikely hero as he caught Ponting just short of the crease with a brilliant direct throw at the stumps. This wicket gave a huge advantage to the hosts and made sure that Australia were on the back foot. This run out as an incident stands out as one of the best moments in the history of the Ashes series as it turned the game and the series on its head.
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