Memorable Ashes Moments: Flintoff consoles Lee after England edge Edgbaston thriller

As Australia and England prepare to battle it out once again for possession of the Ashes urn, we look back at the top moments from the last 10 series.

For the first, but not the last time in this rundown we look at a match from the thrilling 2005 series, rated as one of the all-time greats, as England took the first step towards retaining the urn for the first time in 18 years.

 

Sunday August 7, 2005: Second Test, Headingley

There was little to suggest that the 2005 series would be anything special when the Aussies won in customarily comfortable fashion in the Lord's opener, but a game of football before the second contest at Headingley set off a chain of events that would alter the cricketing landscape.

Glenn McGrath tore ankle ligaments after treading on a stray cricket ball, ruling the supreme seamer out for the remainder of the series. He was replaced by Michael Kasprowicz.

England were rejuvenated and when Steve Harmison's stupendous slower ball accounted for Michael Clarke at the end of day three, Australia were 175-8, 93 runs away from their victory target.

Surely, England had to just turn up on the fourth morning and win.

Shane Warne and Brett Lee had shared all 10 of England's second-innings wickets between them and once again went about rescuing their side, but the spinner clumsily treading on his own stumps brought their 45-run resistance to an end.

However, Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles found Australia's 10 and 11 limpet-like at the crease.

Not only stubborn, but also swashbuckling. Lee jabbed Flintoff through the slips for four, Kasprowicz flicked a perilous one to the rope over leg gully, Lee tracked Giles over midwicket, and Kasprowicz hit the same over for two more fours as, all of a sudden, Australia needed just 33.

Captain Michael Vaughan recalled Harmison, but he bowled four wides down the leg side before Flintoff did likewise with a no ball on top and the target began to tumble towards single figures.

Lee and Kasprowicz had prodded and poked their way to requiring four when Lee drilled a Harmison full toss through the covers. 

A roar went up among the Australians present, but a sweeper was there to limit the damage to a single, taking Lee to 43 not out - a score he would not add to.

Kasprowicz defended a delivery from Harmison, but the follow up from the big Geordie was a vicious bouncer that the tail-ender could not avoid, feathering through to Geraint Jones, who took a plunging catch and sparked wild English celebrations - players streaming in differing directions, beer joyously thrown into the air in the stands.

Flintoff had scored 141 runs and taken seven wickets to earn man of the match but his immediate focus as Billy Bowden raised his famous crooked finger was to crouch with a crestfallen Lee, whose Herculean effort had come to nought.

The image remains one of cricket's most famous, though the words were perhaps not as profound.

Lee's recollection went: "It was something like, 'Awesome game, bad luck, I thoroughly enjoyed it.'"

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