Ashes 2015: Edgbaston Test stirs 2005 memories

England and Australia face each other in the third Test at Edgbaston starting on Wednesday a decade on from when the Birmingham ground staged one of the most thrilling contests in Ashes history.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 28, 2015, 22:34 PM IST
Ashes 2015: Edgbaston Test stirs 2005 memories

Birmingham: England and Australia face each other in the third Test at Edgbaston starting on Wednesday a decade on from when the Birmingham ground staged one of the most thrilling contests in Ashes history.

Back in 2005, England -- who at the time hadn`t won an Ashes series since 1986/87 -- came to Edgbaston 1-0 down after a defeat in the opening match of the series at Lord`s.

There was a drama even before a ball was bowled at Edgbaston, with Australia paceman Glenn McGrath ruled out on the morning of the game after injuring himself treading on a stray ball on the outfield.

That was the start of an extraordinary sequence events which culminated with Australia No 11 Michael Kasprowicz caught behind down the legside by wicket-keeper Geraint Jones off fast bowler Stephen Harmison as England, who had been on course for a comfortable victory, won by just two runs.

The sight of England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff putting a consoling arm round the shoulders of not out tailender Brett Lee, who had so nearly guided Australia to a stunning success, became one of cricket`s great enduring images.

England went on to win the series 2-1 in what was widely regarded as one of the most thrilling campaigns, let alone Ashes series, in more than a century of Test cricket.

This year, England have arrived at Edgbaston on the back of a 405-run thrashing by Australia at Lord`s which left the five-match series all square at 1-1.

But 2015 has also seen Alastair Cook`s side follow every Test defeat they`ve suffered with a victory and the England captain said the lesson of a decade ago, when he was a fledgling batsman with Essex, was that anything was possible.

"I think we (Essex) were at Southend in a one-day game when that final wicket went down," Cook told reporters at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

"We were warming up and the crowd were watching on the TVs and there was a big cheer.

"Whether I was watching live or the highlights, it was one of the great summers of cricket," he said.

Cook added: "It would be a fantastic anniversary of those ten years to win here after losing at Lord`s.

"It would be brilliant to go 2-1 up and it`s certainly an inspiration in one way to know it`s possible.

"Even for the stress levels, I would take (a series win by the margin of)3-2."

Australia captain Michael Clarke, one of only two survivors from that celebrated match along with England batsman Ian Bell who will be playing this week, had a less rosy view.

"I don`t have a great memory. I remember it more because of the footage I`ve seen over the years," said Clarke.

"I remember that tour and it was certainly one of the best I`ve been involved in during my career.

"Unfortunately we didn`t get the result we wanted but it was a wonderful series played the right way, with tough cricket on the field."