Blast From The Past, The Birmingham Miracle.

It’s been 12 years since the historic 2nd test match of the Ashes series 2005, which took place in Birmingham. Ricky Ponting’s Australia started the tour of England and Scotland with an aim of winning the Ashes for 9th consecutive time. Things did start off their way after England had to eat up a humiliating defeat of 239 runs at Lords in the first test. Everything got so special about this ashes series. The first test at one point was between both sides until Australia tried to take a big shot and pull the game in their favor.

Australia was all over. They were dominant for over a decade in Ashes now and of course that increased more pressure on England before the 2nd Test of the series.

With England batting first at the Edgbaston, Trescothick and Strauss gave an opening stand of 112 runs. Trescothick scored a brilliant innings of 90 runs with solid shots. Later on, the middle order didn’t stood for long as the English Captain Vaughan and Ian Bell were sent back to the pavilion for cheap. A strong partnership of 103 runs came up on the sixth wicket between Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.

Andrew Flintoff later walked back to the pavilion after scoring 68 runs in 62 balls. His innings concluded 6 fours and 5 big sixes. Kevin Pietersen didn’t wanted to play too slow either. He scored 71 runs off 70 deliveries with the help of 10 fours and 1 six. England were all out for 407. Shane Warne took 4 wickets, Kasprowicz took 3. Gillespie bagged 2 wickets while Brett Lee managed to get only 1 wicket.

England had set a big total in the first innings against Australia which gave England a better chance to dominate the game.

Australia started their first innings with a scrappy start, with Hayden going on a duck, on his first ball. Simon Jones’ appeal for LBW was successful. Justin Langer was off to a slow start but on the other side Ponting scored 61 off 71 balls. He edged the ball and Vaughan caught him. Few overs later Damien Martyn was run-out after a brilliant display of fielding by the English captain, Vaughan. Micheal Clarke was Ashley Giles’ next victim. Australia was 194-4 now. Adam Gilchrist remained not on 49 at the end of the innings. Australia managed to score 308 runs in their first innings, giving England the lead of 99 runs. Andrew Flintoff took cracking 3 wickets. He was surely on fire.

England’s 2nd innings turned out to be a complete mess for them. Half of the team was sent back to the pavilion for just 72 runs. An early end of the innings was expected for England until Andrew Flintoff didn’t disappoint again for the third time in the match. He was not playing, it was like as if a guardian angel came in to help England. His 6 fours and 4 sixes helped him score 73 runs. England were all-out for 182 with the lead of 99 runs which made 282 for Australia to win the 2nd Test. No one shall ever forget the bowling Australia did in 3rd innings of the test match. The stumps were shattering, Lee was probably doing what he couldn’t manage to do in the 1st innings. He was a shooting star, too fast to defend. Warne took 6 wickets. Including that famous delivery to Strauss where the ball went on spinning for a quite long and beautiful margin.

Australia had enough time to chase the target. Just because Australian bowlers were cracking wickets didn’t mean the English men couldn’t.

Andrew Flintoff got the first wicket of the innings, he departed Justin Langer after a huge appeal for an LBW. Andrew Flintoff was special that day. Three deliveries later Flintoff got Ponting on a duck. Andrew Flintoff was the Luke Skywalker of the England now. Steven Harmison got Micheal Clarke for 30 runs after bowling an absolute beauty which forced the bails to go off, he was bowled. But hey! How can you count out Flintoff here? Infact, it was all about Flintoff. He dragged in the energy to the English side. Australia were 175-8. Australia needed 107 runs to win with just 2 wickets in hand. For a while, England was seen as the winning side. But Shane Warne and Brett Lee turned out to be a sign of relief for the Australia. But then again something happened. Well not something, Freddie happened. Flintoff got Warne, Warne scored 42 runs. England needed 1 wicket, Australia needed 62 runs. It was surely in England’s hand now. None of the Batsmen were good batsmen. But Lee and Kasprowicz made Australia 2 runs short from the victory. Still anything would’ve happen. Kasprowicz played the wrong shot, wrong delivery, the ball was edged towards the keeper and England couldn’t believe what they had just done, Australia couldn’t believe either. It was unbelievable.

At every phase of the game both sides had a good chance to snatch the victory. It could’ve been a one-sided last innings but Australia went 2 runs short to win the test. It was display of classic cricket and will be always remembered as one of the greatest test match in the history of game.

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