Australian cricket team in England in 2005The Australian cricket team landed in England on 6 June 2005. Over the course of the summer, they played one Twenty20 International, a one-day triangular tournament with both Bangladesh and England, a one-day tournament with England, and five Test matches, the outcome of which would decide The Ashes. With Australia the top-ranked team in the World Test table, and England the second-ranked, this was the most eagerly anticipated Ashes series since the 1980s. One-day International series
The first international matches scheduled were as part of the Natwest Series against England and Bangladesh. In their first match, Australia lost to Bangladesh by five wickets in the last over, perhaps the biggest upset in recent memory. Just before that game Andrew Symonds was dropped for disciplinary reasons. The following day, Australia lost their second match in a row to England, due mainly to Kevin Pietersen's late batting onslaught. However, Australia remained undefeated throughout the rest of the series to tie a thrilling final against England at Lord's.
Australia's next tournament was a three match Natwest Challenge One-day International tournament against England. Despite losing the first match, they bounced back to take the series 2-1. After a drawn 3-day match against Leicestershire, the main part of the tour - the Tests against England for The Ashes - were about to start.
Australian cricket team in England in 2005
Australian cricket team in England in 2005 ResultsThe Ashes Tests
With all the hype preceding Australia's arrival in England, especially Glenn McGrath's assertion that Australia would win 5-0, many people expected a good, tight contest, although Australia's fans predicted a clear overall victory. English fans were quietly confident that their strong run - winning 15 and drawing 2 of their last 18 Test matches - would continue and they could at least stand up to Australia, having lost the last eight Ashes series.
What followed surprised everyone - England's hostile pace bowling ripped through Australia in the first Test, reducing them to 190 all out. However, Australia replied in style by skittling England out for 155, with only Pietersen - playing in his Test debut - able to resist. During this innings, McGrath took his 500th Test wicket. Australia then fared considerably better in their second innings to win the first Test by 239 runs.
The third Test match was held at Old Trafford, and again England took a large first innings lead, the England innings notable for Shane Warne taking his 600th Test wicket and Michael Vaughan scoring the first century of the series. Glenn McGrath had also returned from injury, returning the Australian side to full strength. Due to rain delays, the Australian first innings did not finish until the fourth day. England then set about scoring quickly in their second innings (with the aim of declaring and bowling Australia out to win), setting Australia 423 to win with only a day and 10 overs remaining. Ricky Ponting batted for seven hours on the final day to score the first Australian century of the series, but was dismissed with only four overs left and Australia's last two batsmen facing them. Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath managed to hang on for those four overs to salvage a draw for Australia, with England unable to take the last wicket.
Australia then played a two-day match against Northants, a drawn match in which Australia opted for batting practice instead of trying to force the win. Fourth Test
For the second time in less than a month, Glenn McGrath was ruled out of a test due to injury - this time with elbow problems. Australia also dropped Jason Gillespie from their side after taking just three wickets so far in the series. In contrast, England remained with their original starting XI from the first Test. They carried on their first innings form with their best of the series (477 all out), before England's bowlers managed to swing the ball prodigiously to leave Australia at 99/5 and 175/9. Despite the best efforts of Brett Lee, Australia finished 259 runs behind England and were asked to follow-on - for the first time in 17 years. However, with the need to bowl for two innings in a row, Simon Jones, England's best swing bowler, started showing signs of injury and was taken to hospital for a scan on his ankle. Australia were then able to post a target for England to chase, but on a wearing pitch with Shane Warne getting large amounts of turn, England struggled in their pursuit of 129, winning by three wickets in the end.
Australia then played a two-day match against Essex, in which Essex reached 500 in the first day before declaring, while Australia reached 500 on the second day. The match finished in a high-scoring draw, as no team was able to dismiss the other twice.
For the first time in the series, England made a change to their side - Simon Jones' ankle injury meant that England needed to replace him. With England 2-1 up with one to play, Australia needed a victory to level the series (and thus retain the Ashes). With this in mind, England decided to call up Paul Collingwood, an all-rounder and England's best fielder, rather than a like-for-like bowler.
England won the toss and elected to bat, reaching 373 in their first innings. Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer then batted through to the end of the second day, coming off for bad light before the scheduled close of play. With Australia needing to force the victory, many were surprised at this move. The third day was also affected by rain and bad light, with only half of the scheduled overs being bowled. Australia again came off early for bad light, but as they were only 96 runs behind England and still had eight wickets in hand, they were possibly hoping to establish a significant lead and bowl England out cheaply. An Australian collapse after lunch on the fourth day meant England were actually leading by six runs after the first innings. With Australia needing to dismiss England and score more runs than them, England merely had to bat for as long as possible, denying Australia the time needed to force victory. Thanks to Kevin Pietersen's maiden Test century on the fifth day, and Paul Collingwood batting patiently for 10 runs in 51 minutes in the second innings, Australia were left with a target of 342 runs with only 19 overs remaining in the day. With Steve Harmison opening the bowling for England, Australia were offered the light in the first over of their second innings and accepted, leaving Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden to remove the bails at 18:17 BST to signal a drawn match and the series victory for England.
During the presentations, Pietersen was voted Man of the match for his innings of 158, while Andrew Flintoff and Shane Warne received the Man of the Series awards, nominated by the opposing team coaches (Duncan Fletcher for England and John Buchanan for Australia). In addition, Flintoff was awarded the inaugural Compton-Miller medal for the overall "Man of the Series", nominated by the two chairmen of selectors, David Graveney and Trevor Hohns.