Ian Baker - My all-time top 10 Ashes moments
27 Oct 2010 - 10:35:28
Not long to go now. A few more days and England will be on the plane to Australia.
The Ashes really do bring out the little kid in you. Christmas Day suddenly seems to drag when England are playing in Australia - cricket fans simply cannot wait for Boxing Day and the Melbourne Test.
Anyway, I thought I'd share my top ten Ashes moments from the last few years (biased I know but they are my choice):
1. Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain at Edgbaston 1997 - The left hand/right hand combination put on 288 runs together as Australia were thumped in the opening match of the series. A false dawn though.
2. Phil Tufnell at The Oval, 1997 - England went on to draw the next Test at Lord's before losing three in a row and The Ashes. But Phil Tufnell restored much needed pride, taking 11-93 as England skittled the Aussies inside three days.
3. Mark Ramprakash in Melbourne, 1998 - England's middle-order batsman had a shocking time of it at international level but pulled off a stunning catch to get rid of Justin Langer as Australia were bowled out for 162, 13 short of their target
4 .Darren Gough in Sydney, 1999 - the Dazzler was England's best player of a generation and deserved his moment in the sun and who can forget the cheek-bursting moment late on day one. Ian Healy, Stuart MacGill and Colin Miller all fell to Gough as Australia were bowled out for 321. That gave England a genuine chance of squaring the series but they fell apart later in the Test.
5. Mark Butcher at Headingley, 2001 - England were rubbish during the 2001 Ashes and this series was arguably as bad as 2006-07. But after Adam Gilchrist's generous declaration at Headingley, England restored a bit of pride with a quite remarkable 173 not out from Butcher, his greatest ever knock.
6. Michael Vaughan in Australia, 2002-03 - I was lucky enough to attend my first England matches abroad on this tour. And even though it was another poor showing from his side, Vaughan hit centuries at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to win Man of the Series, to the Aussie crowd's dismay. That 183 at Sydney remains to this day the best innings I’ve seen live.
7. Freddie Flintoff at Edgbaston, 2005 - if ever there was a day to introduce your kids to cricket it was day three of this match. England started the day by losing wicket after wicket to Shane Warne and co. Then enter Flintoff - who smacked sixes all over the place in his 62. His bowling then helped England complete a sensational day with the Aussies eight down at the close in front of a beer-soaked boisterous Edgbaston crowd.
8. Kevin Pietersen at The Oval, 2005 - this is what it came down to. England had waited 18 years to reclaim the Ashes. They were in desperate trouble and it looked like Australia may snatch them back from their grasp with inspired bowling by Warne and Glenn McGrath. But then Pietersen did just what Flintoff did - counter-attack - and his 158 saw England to a series winning draw.
9. Paul Collingwood, Adelaide, 2006 - England had lost in Brisbane (there's a surprise) but thanks to a remarkable 206 from gritty Colly were able to declare on 551-6. However they somehow contrived to lose a match they should have won with Ashley Giles criticised for dropping Ricky Ponting.
10. Freddie Flintoff, Lord's, 2009 - an unremarkable series but a remarkable effort by Flintoff. Clearly injured, he dragged his body through the mire despite announcing his retirement from Test cricket. Freddie was the true superhero and celebrated in style as he claimed only his third Test five-fer on a magic Monday.
I'm sure you have your own favourite moments. I can't wait for the action to begin.