Ashes Rewind - Third Test 2005: Moments from Old Trafford, Manchester
“You were outstanding in this game. Five or ten years ago, the Australians would never have been celebrating a draw against England as they are now.” - Michael Vaughan to his team in the huddle after Australia’s last wicket managed to draw the third Test of the 2005 Ashes Series.
Times have changed. The 2005 Ashes series was eventually won by England, ending their 17-year long wait, and marked the beginning of the end of Australia’s domination of the rivalry.
The series is remembered as one of the greatest ever to be played in the history of the long-standing rivalry and certainly is the reference point for a modern day follower of the cherished biennial event that is quickly becoming an endorsement for Test Cricket. It would have been an even better endorsement had Australia been more competitive at Lord’s.
The emotions ahead of the third Test at Old Trafford will be markedly different from those that were present during the 2005 series. The contest was as even as it could have been before the thirrd Test as England had levelled the series with a two-run victory at Edgbaston (that remains the narrowest margin in the history of the Ashes).
It’s the polar opposite this time around as England lead the 2013 edition 2-0, handing out a humiliating loss to Australia at Lord’s after a close contest at Trent Bridge. England are not just in pole position to win the series, the odds predict a whitewash.
But still there’s an excuse to revisit the best moments of the Old Trafford Test of 2005 as we head to the same venue on the August 1 this year.
Good Luck, Bad Luck
Unlike now when the Decision Review System is responsible for providing the kicks, it was all about the cricket eight years ago.
England were batting on Day 1 and ‘the pigeon’ ran in with his usual accuracy, floating deliveries in the corridor of uncertainty. He was able to exact an edge from Marcus Trescothick but it was soiled by Glichrist, who was going to have a particularly harsh day as he dropped another one that flew just over his head of Michael Vaughan’s bat as Geoffrey Boycott chuffed in the commentary box.
The very next ball from McGrath uprooted Vaughan’s off-stump but umpire Steve Bucknor called a no-ball. England returned the favour in the second innings as Geraint Jones let go off a stumping chance and a straight-forward catch to allow Shane Warne the opportunity to save Australia the blushes in the second innings.
Warne’s 600 Wicket milestone
Apart from scoring critical runs in difficult circumstances for Australia, Shane Warne could also hurl a few gentle leg-spinners. He was just one-short of the 600-wicket milestone and achieved the feat by dismissing Trescothick as he tried to attempt a sweep shot but only managing to nick it to Adam Gilchrist.
Warne was the first bowler to reach the milestone and was given a standing ovation by the sporting Old Trafford crowd. The applause continued till the end of the over and Warne acknowledged the respect by holding out the ball and waving to his fans. It is difficult to think of a greater moment of mutual respect. He finished the series with 40 wickets. Enough said.
The England captain was in abysmal form coming into the Test match having scored 32 runs in his four innings, three of which were single-digit scores. He managed to turn that around, although with a dose of heavy luck, scoring a massive knock of 166 runs that set-up the game for England.
The innings was all the more special as it came against the likes of Warne, McGrath, Lee and Gillespie. The ground also witnessed his maiden Test century four years ago and it gave him, arguably, his most significant individual performance as he scored his fourth Ashes hundred.