Giant Killers: England Finally Take The Ashes After 18 Years

Dann KhanAnalyst IMay 1, 2009

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 09:  Ricky Ponting of Australia looks on during day four of the Second Test between South Africa and Australia played at Kingsmead on March 9, 2009 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

2005 was the last bad year Australia had before this current period on low.

That was a time when the Australians were actually invincible. And that's what made the Ashes so special that year.

Earlier that year, the Aussies had suffered a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in an ODI for the first and the only time so far. Also in England

But that may have just been the call for the minor servicing required in an otherwise well oiled machine.

England on the other hand, were playing decent cricket before the start of the Ashes with no such blips. Tieing a ODI tri Series with Australia, which happened earlier that year was quite and achievement(though they should have chased down the meagre total in the final).

Glenn McGrath had already made the statement that the Ashes was going to be won 5-0 by them that year.

There was also a lot of excitement as this was the last time Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath we going to play test cricket in England.

So with so much hype along with the Past Ashes history made it a the series to watch out for.

The series started at the Mecca of cricket, Lords in London.

Australia started of poorly with a paltry score of 190 which was due to a brilliant spell of fast bowling by Steve Harmison who took a five-for backed up by Mathew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones.

Though whoever thought that England may actually end up starting with a win this time round was mistaken.

The Aussies showed us why they were the world champions and rattled the Brits for a mere 155 led by some fine bowling by Pigeon(Mcgrath's nickname) who decided to back up his words with a five-for. The other bowlers supported him well too with Warne being at his best.

Then of course the Aussies gave a clinical performance with the bat and left England with over 400 to chase. To which of course, England wasn't equal to. The only positive they had was their good bowling and the good batting by Debutant Kevin Pieteresn who got 50s in both the innings

The game was a cracker with both side playing some high class cricket.

But if everyone thought that was the level of excitement, they were mistaken. The second game was the closest it could get.

This time the home team set up a good score in the first innings on the back of some fine batting by Trescothick, Pietersen and Freddy Flintoff. Then some fine bowling by their pace quartet(Harmison, Hoggard, Flintoff and Jones) along with Ashley Giles got them a 99 run lead.

But the Aussies hit back and got England all out for 182 with Warne completing ten wickets for the match.

The match was well balanced with baggy green wearers under Ricky Ponting required  282 to win.

But England were too keen on a win and their bowling attack delivered again to leave Australia 9 wickets down with still 62 to get. Warne was the only one who provided any resistance.

This is when Brett Lee and Micheal Kasprowicz got them up till 279 and looked good to get them the win. But all that begins well does not end well. Kasprowicz fell to Harmison. England squared the series 1-1

The third test was dominated by England from the start. Putting up a good score on the back of Micheal Vaughan's 166 and some hitting by Flintoff and Keeper Geraint Jones, then gaining a lead of about 150 with some good bowling again. Simon Jones got 6 of the scalps.

The Andrew Strauss got a century to give Australia over 400 to chase.

On the final day the Aussies required to save the test match while England required 10 wickets to take the series lead.

It all ended up being an enthralling day of cricket on which Ricky Ponting played a fine knock of 156 to to save the match. In the end, the Aussies held on for four overs with one wicket remaining to draw a match England deserved to win. Rain played it's part on the previous day though.

The fourth test was where England sealed it. But not without drama. They batted first and put up over 400 runs. Flintoff got a hundred to add to the already great series he had.

The on the back of another Simon Jones five-for, England made the Aussies follow-on for the first time in over a decade.

After some decent batting in the follow on they managed to set the British boys a mere 129 to win.

Mere though, was not how England found it as they lost seven wickets to chase down the score. Warnie who was bowling so well throughout the tournament got four of the wickets. The Australians showed why they were the worlds best side. They could almost make a victory out of 129 runs. Who knows what would have happened with another 20 runs.

In any case England were now leading 2-1 and just required to draw the last test to regain the Ashes.

They put up 370 odd batting first with Strauss doing another class act by getting another century in the series.

Australia then, ended up with almost the same score with Freddy getting a well deserved five-for. The last game too, was making itself into a thriller

But England did not lose it's cool and batted themselves in a position of draw. Kevin Pietersen finally scored big with a majestic 158(in the future he got out on the same score twice making it a some kind of a bogey)

Australia just had to bat four balls in the end.

England had won the Ashes. Freddy Flintoff bowled and batted brilliantly to do something similar to Botham's Ashes. He deserved the Man of The Series award. Shane Warne, the other Man of The Series though, didn't deserve to be on the losing side. He too, gave some all round performances.

What made that series special was that it was won against the a full strength Australia team. They were finally beaten. The giants were killed for a change. It took a hell of a lot of Drama to do so