By Aaron Callaghan
The 2005 Ashes
Arguably England’s greatest modern cricket victory was the two - one victory over Australia in the 2005 Ashes.
14 years later the loss still hurts like a teenage heartbreak you think you’ll never, ever get over.
Australia had a team packed with superstars, England were trending upwards on the back of the rise of star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. The 2005 iteration of the Ashes contest was one of the all time great test match series, the grounds were packed to capacity with warm-beer-drinking barmy army lads who’s team had a bit of a vibe about them for the first time in a while, TV audiences were good and intriguing storylines surrounding both teams was creating huge media interest in the series.
On the eve of the 2019 Ashes, it is a great time to jump back 14 years and just remember what was interesting, the funny, the tragic and the controversial. There won’t be a full series deep dive because to be completely honest there are some great documentaries made on the series and in 2019 with the Fortnite generation - the written word cannot compete with the attention video captures.
RELATED: Aaron’s Ashes Team
That being said, I’ve selected 3 key pieces of interest to investigate.
Best of Five
The five match test series finishes 2 - 1, I’m not sure why that stands out, these things happen in test match series, perhaps it is glaring because Australia had opportunities to square up the series and get out of jail, ahh so to speak, there’s a convict colony joke in there but I’m not English so I’ll let that one go through.
The Australians won the first test comfortably inside 4 days and it seemed like the same old England. Deteriorating under the constant pressure from Warne, McGrath and a chirpy close in fielder.
Kevin Pieterson playing in his first test match emerged as a star for England with 57 in the first innings and an unbeaten 64 in the second.
The second test at Edgbaston had one of the most thrilling finishes of all time. Brett Lee and Michael Kaspowicz almost got Australia home before some poor umpiring gave Kaspa out incorrectly but that’s cricket, it was probably some bad karma coming back to us for abusing someone on the field.
The third test seen Australia attempting to chase 400 in the finals innings and got as close at 9/354 before fighting to hang on for the draw. England took the fourth test and rain completely fucking ruined the fifth test match, robbing Australia of any hope of salvaging a series draw and retaining the Ashes.
2. Australia’s Bowlers did the Heavy Lifting
Warney managed to snare half of Flintoff’s man of the series cheque in a split vote, sharing the award in a losing effort, which is an extraordinary feat. One could make a serious case that 2005 was Warney at his peak powers, maybe his numbers were pumped up from feasting out in England, a place where he feels comfortable, either way his numbers were incredible and his impact on the game almost dragged his team to a better result.
Warney hit the most sixes from the five tests from the Australian team with five.
40 wickets at 19.92
249 runs at 27.66
5 catches - Only Adam Gilchrist took more.
Warne top scored with 90 from 122 rocks in the Old Trafford test match, Matt Hayden second top scored with 34 - Warney saved the Australia for what felt like the 600th time.
RELATED: Warney’s Ashes Team
Leave a comment below - Make your case for Warney’s peak year.
Glenn McGrath played in only three of the five matches after going down with an injured ankle after stepping on a cricket ball, it would not surprise me to find out that 6-sticher was a drone piloted weapon of mass-destruction that Mi-6 carefully guided into place … the perfect crime. McGrath took 19 wickets in those three matches and as always bowled economically, pouring on the pressure.
The bowling unit was carrying a passenger however, Jason Gillespie was dropped for the final two test matches - Dizzy took 3 wickets at 100 and averaged 7.83 with the bat. Ooooft that’s bad reading.
Bowlers who bat
Glenn McGrath averaged 36 for the series.
Shane Warne 27.66
Brett Lee 26.33
All those guys did better with the bat than Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist. It seemed as though the bowlers were always left a job to do with the bat and attempt to get Australia home or survive for a draw.
3. The Piss Up Afterwards
As it was England won the series and the Poms threw a street party that would make a soccer hooligan blush, open double-decker bus rides through Trafalgar Square, to this day Michael Vaughan probably still gets free admission to Big Ben and the Tower of London. Andrew Flintoff made a career out of this test match series, he would go on to cash in his 2005 notoriety by collecting Big Bash League cheques and hosting Ninja Warrior or some proxy of an obstacle course show on Channel 9, and effectively robbing the population of any seeing Mike Whitney on our screens.
The piss up ceremony was broadcast on TV and the team invited to 10 Downing Street.