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Top Ashes moments from this century, Leeds '01 to '19 Leeds

Last updated on 15 Jun 2023 | 04:15 PM
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Top Ashes moments from this century, Leeds '01 to '19 Leeds

Birmingham '05, Adelaide '06, and more memorable Ashes moments since 2000

One of the greatest rivalries is back. Ashes history is rich. It is filled with countless memories and moments. Here are a few from this century.  

Birmingham Test - 2005

The first Test of the Ashes will start on the 16th of June at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Eighteen years back, at the same venue, Ashes witnessed one of its most dramatic matches. 

Unplayable deliveries, one after the other

Warne to Strauss - 2nd innings: Who doesn't remember the battle between these two? It all started with the 2005 Birmingham Test. 

Shane Warne dismissed Sir Andrew Strauss in both innings, and the second-inning dismissal is fondly remembered as one of the best. Pitching on the rough, it spun a long way to hit the leg stump. 

Flintoff to Ponting - 2nd innings: Andrew Flintoff was breathing fire against Ricky Ponting. Two vicious in-swingers were followed by out-swingers. Finally, the fifth ball took the edge back to Geraint Jones, and Ponting was dismissed for a five-ball duck. 

Harmison to Clarke - 2nd innings: An exceptional slow yorker by Steve Harmison foxed a set Michael Clarke, batting on 30. On the stump, Clarke fell over and was early into the shot. 

Shane Warne's moment of bizzarness

Warne came into bat at the dismissal of Jason Gillespie (7/137) and went on the attack immediately. He scored a 59-ball 42 before being dismissed through a hit wicket. At his dismissal, Australia needed 62 runs with only one wicket. 

The last wicket almost got Australia through

Requiring 62 runs, the last wicket stand between Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz slowly inched toward the target. Then came the mother of all drama. 

With only three runs required, Kasprowicz got a bouncer to which he tried to fend awkwardly and ended up lobbing a catch to Jones behind the wicket. The tenth-wicket partnership forged 59 runs, and Australia fell short by just two runs. 

Steve Smith's stellar return in 2019

After a year ban following the sandpaper incident, Smith returned to Test cricket in the 2019 Ashes series. What followed next was just superlative batting. 

In seven innings, Smith scored 774 runs at an average of 64.7, with six 50+ scores. In his first two innings after return, he scored 144 & 142 in the same match. Smith followed it up with a 92 before being concussed in the second innings of the second Test. In the first innings in Manchester, Smith smashed a double century in the first innings and an 82 in the second. His only score below 50 was in the second innings of the fifth Test (23). 

The Headingley Test - 2019

Not only Ashes, in the history of Test cricket, Headingley Test will also go down as one of the most monumental games. 

Batting first, Australia crawled to 179. In reply, England were blown away by a sensational spell from Josh Hazlewood. His 5/30 helped Australia restrict England to 67. 

In the second innings, Marnus Labuschagne scored a 187-ball 80, and few other players contributed with 25-30. Australia were bowled out for 246 while setting a mammoth target of 359 for England. 

England stuttered in the chase when they were 2/15. However, Joe Root and Joe Denly forged a 126-run partnership for the third wicket. In a span of 20 runs, England lost Root (77) and Denly (50). But Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow joined hands to add 86 runs for the fifth wicket. 

At the score of 245, England lost Bairstow, and by the time they reached 286, England were 73 runs behind with one wicket in hand. This match was very similar to the Birmingham Test in 2005. The only change, England were batting. 

Stokes, alongside Jack Leach, started to farm the strike and score briskly. As the deficit went on decreasing, errors from Australia increased. Nathan Lyon missed an easy run out chance when two runs were required, and the follow-up ball, an LBW decision, went against them, and they didn't have a review. Before these two chances, Marcus Harris, at third man, had put down a catch of Stokes (with 17 runs required). 

Stokes and Leach hoisted an unbeaten 72-run partnership to pull off a heist. Of those 72, Leach's contribution was just a solitary run that leveled the scores. In Tests since 1900, England's 67 is the lowest first innings total to win a Test, barring the 0/0 declared by England against South Africa in 2000. 

All-out for 60

On a slightly overcast day and a green pitch, England opted to bowl first in the fourth Test in Nottingham in 2015. In the absence of James Anderson, Stuart Broad was responsible for leading the pace attack, and he led it with authority. 

Australia's top four batters were dismissed for single-digit scores (three ducks). Throughout the innings, only two batters scored in double digits (Mitchell Johnson - 13 & Michael Clarke - 10). Extras were the highest contributor, with 14. 

Broad ended up with his career-best spell of 8/15. In the Ashes, only two bowlers, Jim Laker (10/53 & 9/37 in the same match) of England and Arthur Mailey (9/121) of Australia, have better innings figures. 

Number 700 for Shane Warne 

Before starting the fourth Test in Melbourne in the 2006 Ashes series, Warne was stuck on 699 wickets. England were batting first, and Warne was introduced in the 41st over. 

It took him only a little bit of time to breach the 700-mark. On the third ball of his fourth over, he went past the inside edge of Strauss to hit the middle and off. Warne became the first bowler to snap 700 Test wickets. 

Mark Butcher's 173* helps England chase 300 on Day Five

It was the fourth Test of the 2001 Ashes series. England had lost the series and the urn by a 3-0 timeline. 

Batting first, Australia scored 447. Ponting, with 144, and Damien Martyn, with 118, were the stars with the bat. England batters got starts, but none could convert it into a big score. Glenn McGrath was the hero with the ball (7/76). Thanks to his efforts, Australia attained a lead of 138 runs. 

In the second innings, Australia declared at 176/4, setting a target of 315 on the last day of the Test. England batted 2.3 overs on Day Four before bad light stopped play. 

On the last day, England required 311 runs to win, and Butcher amassed an unbeaten 173. Owing to his memorable innings, England won the Test. The 311 runs scored on Day Five of this match is the second-most runs scored on the final day to win a Test in England in this century. 

The Adelaide collapse

In the second Test of the 2006 Ashes series in Adelaide, both teams' batters rejoiced on a flat track. Batting first, England posted 551/6 before declaring, and Australia, in reply, hoisted 513. 

At the end of Day Four, England were 59/1 with a lead of 97 runs and the game was heading for a pale draw. On the morning of the last day, by dismissing Strauss, Warne began the collapse. From 69/1, England collapsed like a house of cards and skittled out for 129. 

Australia came out with all guns blazing to chase a target of 168. They achieved it in 32.5 overs at a run rate of 5.1. In Tests, England's score of 551/6d is still their highest first innings total to end up in a loss.

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