Cricket is a game of nail biters, cliffhangers and mostly in this T20 fantasy cricket era, every other game is an absolute heart pumper. However, test cricket has been losing its flair because of the spice the likes of Indian T20 leagues and the shortest format offers. But there are a few exceptional test matches that have gone right down to the wire and given us unforgettable memories that last a lifetime. One such incidence is from the series-turning Game of Ashes fantasy cricket in the England vs Australia 2005 2nd test at Birmingham, Edgbaston.
Here’s What Led to the Most Epic Test Matches of those Times:
England Power to 407
Thanks to Marcus Trescothick (90) & Andrew Strauss (48) who gave England a flying start with a 100+ opening partnership. The likes of Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff later joined the party to play a vital role in taking the score past 400 with their joint fifties in quick succession. For Australia, it was Shane Warne and Marcus Kasprowicz who took 4 & 3 scalps respectively.
Australia’s Reply Not Good Enough
Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, and Adam Gilchrist tried their best to get close to England’s 407 but all the Australians could manage was 308. Flintoff was on song as he and Ashley Giles took 3 wickets each picking some vital wickets and helping England begin with a 100 run lead to give Australia a competitive target to chase.
The Lone Warrior Flintoff
Australia ripped apart England’s batting in the second innings as more than half of the side struggled to reach double figures. It was Andrew Flintoff’s innings of 73 off 86 deliveries in typical Freddie Flintoff fashion with 4 sixes and 6 boundaries that helped England set a formidable target of 182. Australia now needed 282 runs to win. Shane Warne took 6 wickets while Lee picked up 4 to star for the Australian bowling.
Freddie v/s Ponting & Australia in Trouble
This test match belonged to one Andrew Flintoff who with his all-round performance took 4 wickets in Australia’s second innings. That one legendary over to Ricky Ponting is still considered as one of the best overs ever in a test match before he got the Australian Captain caught by the keeper after appealing almost on every ball during that over. Ponting got dismissed for a duck as it was all left to the tail-enders
Lee & Warne Heroics & that Iconic Image
The two bowlers who got the 10 wickets in England’s second innings now had hopes of the entire country on their shoulders with the bat in their hand. Shane Warne & Brett Lee played brilliantly as they both scored 42 and 43 before Warne got hit-wicket to Flintoff. After this valiant knock, Kasprowicz came in and Australia was inching towards the target. Lee was knocking the ball around and so was Kasper but Steve Harmison at almost the wire end of the game bowled a beauty to Michael Kasprowicz that the tail-ender could not avoid and nicked it to the keeper. Brett Lee fell to the ground in disappointment but Freddie Flintoff did the most gentlemanly act to bow down to Lee and picked him up shaking his hand and the other hand on his opponent’s shoulder to congratulate him on his heroic efforts for his country. This image was an iconic spectacle and is still alive in every cricket fan’s memory.
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