On this day in 2005: England and Australia play out the Edgbaston epic

The 2005 Test series between Australia and England was an absolute spectacle in the history of the Ashes. The hosts lost the opening Test at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground by a massive margin of 239 runs to go 0-1 down in the five-match series. However, Michael Vaughan and Co made a stupendous comeback to win two out of the next four games, and in the end, clinched the series 2-1.

After going down in the first Test, the Brits stormed back to win the second Test at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. The Aussies almost snatched defeat from the jaws of defeat, but the Three Lions held their nerve to win the match by two runs. After being put in to bat first, the home team managed 407 on the back of half-centuries from opener Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff.

Trescothick was unlucky to not have gotten his century, perishing to Michael Kasprowicz for 90. Shane Warne was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with four wickets. In Australia’s first innings, England eked out a 99-run lead after Flintoff and Ashley Giles picked up three wickets each. Justin Langer’s 82 and Ricky Ponting’s 61 couldn’t help the visitors overhaul their opponent’s score.

Lee and Warne’s valiant efforts go in vain

However, the Kangaroos stormed back into the contest after bowling Vaughan’s men out for 182. After being reduced to 75 for six, Flintoff’s 86-ball 73 with six fours and four sixes rescued England. Warne got a six-fer and ended with 10 wickets in the game. The spin wizard got the apt support from Brett Lee, who picked up four wickets, setting Australia a target of 282 to win the encounter.

In their run-chase, the Aussies cruised along, thanks to a 47-run stand for the opening wicket between Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden. But once Flintoff castled Langer, the momentum shifted. Ponting and Co. were reduced to 137 for seven with 144 runs still needed to win.

This time around, Warne and Lee showed their class with the bat. Warne’s 42 and Lee’s 43 took their team tantalisingly close to the target. No.11 Michael Kasprowicz also scored 20. But to their dismay, Steve Harmison found Kasprowicz’s outside edge to deny Australia the victory.