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Ashes 2005: Series of the century
Build  upLord'sEdgbastonOld TraffordTrent BridgeThe Oval

THE GREATEST.

How else to describe England's epic Ashes clash with Australia?

Follow the plot of a classic sporting drama as the hosts came from behind to claim two tense wins and went from unfancied long shots to Ashes winners.

Click on the links above, or read on, to see how the summer showdown unfolded


BUILD-UP
Nationwide
June/Early July

Date: 13-19 June What: Aussie Week From Hell
(Tour started with four one-day defeats)

ASHES COUNTDOWN

  • 13 June (Rose Bowl, Twenty20)
    Skittled for 79 by England when crashing to 100-run loss.
  • 15 June (Taunton, One-day match)
    County side Somerset saw off the world champions.
  • 18 June (Cardiff, NatWest Series):
    Minnows Bangladesh claimed a five-wicket victory.
  • 19 June (Bristol, NatWest Series):
    Kevin Pietersen's 91 guided England to a three-wicket win.

    Date: 23 June-2 July (NatWest Series finale)
    Australia unbeaten in last five games and tied a thrilling final against England, matching 196 target off the final ball.

    Date: 7-12 July (Nat West Challenge One-Day Internationals)
    England won first of three matches, but Aussies hit back with two wins over the old enemy.

    Prediction: Glenn McGrath forecast a 5-0 Ashes win for Australia.

    England odds to win 2005 Ashes before 1st Test: 5/1 (Betfair)

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    FIRST TEST
    Lord's, London
    21-24 July

    Aus 190 & 384 bt Eng 155 & 180 by 239 runs

    ENGLAND 0-1 AUSTRALIA

    Tale of the match: Seventeen wickets fell on the first day as fortunes swung from England to Australia. The Aussies eventually cruised to victory as the hosts lost their last five second wicket innings for just 22 runs.

    Key moment: Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath took his 500th Test wicket in a devastating opening-day spell of 5-21.

    Man of the match: Glenn McGrath (Aus).
    Match bowling figures of 9-82.

    Stat: Catches win matches - England dropped seven of them.

    Headline: 'You bunch of drips' (The Mirror)

    England's odds to win 2005 series: 12/1 rank outsiders.

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    SECOND TEST
    Edgbaston, Birmingham
    4-7 August

    Eng 407 & 182 bt Aus 308 & 279 by two runs

    ENGLAND 1-1 AUSTRALIA

    Tale of the match: A thriller Hitchcock would have relished.

    England dominated after being sent into bat by Australia skipper Ricky Ponting. Australia were set a ground record chase of 282, and looked finished at 175-8 on Saturday night.

    Tail-enders Shane Warne and Brett Lee dug in on Sunday morning, and England's nerves were shredded before snatching a two-run victory.

    Key moment: England's odds to win series cut to 9/1 from 12s when Australia lose bowler Glenn McGrath after he injures ankle treading on ball in training before match.

    Man of the match: Andrew Flintoff (Eng).
    A total of 141 with the bat, plus six wickets.

    Stat: Narrowest runs-margin win in 128-year history of the Ashes.

    Headline: 'At last' (The Independent)

    England's odds to win 2005 series: 3/1 outsiders.

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    Kevin Pietersen and Simon Jones
    THIRD TEST
    Old Trafford, Manchester
    11-15 August

    Eng 444 & 280-6 dec drew with Aus 302 & 371-9

    ENGLAND 1-1 AUSTRALIA
    Tale of the match: Australia grimly held on to claim a tense draw despite trailing by 142 after Simon Jones tore into their first innings with 6-53.

    Skippers Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting both topped 150 runs, but the Aussie's dismissal with four overs left meant his last two men faced 24 agonising deliveries.

    Key factor: Rain on the third day washed away England's chances of victory.

    Man of the match: Ricky Ponting (Aus).
    Gritty captain's innings of 156 over six hours saved his side.

    Stat: First time in 10 years Australia forced to bat out a draw against their Ashes rivals.

    Headline: 'Coulda, shoulda, still might...' (The Times)

    England's odds to win 2005 series: 3/1 outsiders.

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    Ashley Giles celebrates England's win
    FOURTH TEST
    Trent Bridge, Nottingham
    25-29 August

    Eng 477 & 129-7 bt Aus 218 & 387 by three wickets

    ENGLAND 2-1 AUSTRALIA
    Tale of the match: Another nerve-jangling climax as England get the jitters after dominating with a big first innings.

    The Aussies had to follow on for the first time in 191 Tests, but set a victory target of 129. England lost seven wickets before bowlers Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard proved unlikely batting heroes.

    Key moment: Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting lost his cool after being run out by a substitute fielder.

    Man of the match: Andrew Flintoff (Eng).
    Hit game's only century - 102 off 132 balls in first innings.

    Stat: England's first win over Aussies at Trent Bridge since 1977.

    Headline: 'Ricky Fined as Poms March on' (Brisbane Courier Mail)

    England's odds to win 2005 series: 4/7 favourites.

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    The Oval
    FIFTH TEST
    The Oval, London
    8-12 September

    Eng 373 & 335 drew with Aus 367 & 4-0

    ENGLAND 2-1 AUSTRALIA
    Tale of the match: Australia looked in the box seat at 281-2 but then came the clouds and a devastating spell of bowling from Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard on Sunday.

    England took an improbable six-run first innings lead and, after surviving a nervy start on the final day, a Kevin Pietersen century calmed the jitters and ensured the party could start after the hosts batted Australia out of the match.

    Key moment: Shane Warne dropping county colleague Pietersen on 15 in the second innings. He went on to make 158 to help secure the draw... and the Ashes.

    Man of the match: Kevin Pietersen (Eng).
    His runs came under the highest pressure and his maiden Test century ensured he finished the series as the leading run scorer.

    Stat: The first time England have got their hands on that little urn since 1987.

    Headline: 'They think it's all Oval - it is now!' (Daily Mirror)






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