Ashes 2005: First Test remembered
GMS remembers the first Test of the iconic 2005 Ashes series
July 21, Thursday, the day when The Ashes series 2005 began at Lord’s. Quite clearly, the Aussies were the favourites. The records proved it - England hadn't beaten Australia at Lord’s in the previous 75 years.
However, England had been on a high having won six successive test series. As expected, Ponting won the toss and decided to bat first. But, very soon were the Aussies were shaken by Steve Harmison’s serious pace.
Some absolute snorters were bowled by this Durham lad and the same happened when Freddie Flintoff and Simon Jones began their spells, and their astounding bowling - as well as Harmison's second spell - ripped the Aussies apart.
It took just 40.2 overs for the Englishmen to bowl out the men from Down Under as Harmison finished with confounding figures of 5-43. Now was the turn of England to take guard, and they knew it well that whom they were going to face wasn’t a man to be taken lightly.
When it comes to performing at Lord’s, very few have done better than this guy. The man is Glenn McGrath. As soon as McGrath took the cherry in his hand, it wasn’t long before he took his career’s 500th wicket and in due course, a five wicket haul, to be exact, 5-7.
There was a positive to take for England, however, as Kevin Pietersen on debut made a gleaming half century as he took the English ship over 100 and the innings. It ultimately ended on 155 with the highest partnership being 58 between Geraint Jones and KP..
The third innings it was now and the Aussies were in no mood this time whatsoever to let the match slip from their hands. From numbers three to six, everyone got 40+ scores with Michael Clarke top scoring (91), although this was to be the only time that Aussies did so in the series.
In the last 10 overs of the second day, England took some wickets to come back but the lead was already a humongous 314. Frustration came up for England when Simon Katich batted for quite some time, as the hosts were set a target of 420 to chase.
A target of that size had never been chased down at the Home Of Cricket. No page of history could be changed unfortunately. After having started terrifically well with a opening stand of 100+, the English batting soon trembled like a pack of cards, with Pietersen alone getting an unbeaten 50.
England were defeated by 239 runs. What was come at Edgbaston though was unknown to everyone. This upcoming test has always remained mirabile dictu when it comes to talking about the greatest test matches.
A test that remains the cynosure of the complete series. A test that was rather incendiary as it set the Birmingham crowd on fire. A test in the aphotic memories of the Aussies. Wait for the next part as I have to follow the rule of OMERTA....
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