We take a look at the top five England Ashes moments on English soil. Do you agree these are the best moments?
Ian Botham and Bob Willis, Headingley 1981
This test is too hard to give to just one man. England were woeful in the first innings with both bat and ball despite Botham taking six wickets and putting on a very quick 50 in just 54 balls. However, they were forced to follow on by the visiting Australians who sensed they would not have to bat again.
This is where Botham once again came to England’s rescue as he scored 149 not out from just 148 balls. He was not hanging about as he wanted the victory so badly and knew that a draw would not be good enough with England 1-0 down after two tests. Botham made a mockery of some the best bowlers in the world as they could not figure out how to break down his aggressive play.
With Botham helping England with the bat, the Australians only needed 130 runs to win the test and they must have thought that the Ashes was theirs once again. However, they did not anticipate Bob Willis to be in the form he was in. Despite not taking a single wicket in the first innings, he took eight in the second and left the Australians shellshocked with his fast, no nonsense bowling. The Australians could only make 111.
When Willis took the middle stump of Ray Bright’s wicket, the England fans could not contain themselves and they invaded the pitch at Headingley. This was something special!
Stuart Broad, Trent Bridge 2015
This is the best spell of cricket ever bowled by a professional cricket player. Broad managed to take eight wickets and only conceded fifteen runs as the Australians were all out for 60 in their first innings. Broad ripped through the top order and took his 300th test wicket on his home ground in Nottingham.
The pick of the bunch came with a bit of help from Ben Stokes who took a superb catch diving quickly to his right to dismiss Adam Voges. Broad’s incredibly shocked reaction summed up how we all felt watching it.
Steve Harmison , Edgbaston 2005
With the Aussies already 1-0 up in the series, the second test become vital for England to win. With the visiting side bowling England all out with Shane Warne and Brett Lee inflicting lots of damage with the ball, they were required to do the same with the bat as England battled hard against the Aussies. When Andrew Flintoff took Warne, it looked like victory was in sight with just one more wicket to go. However, Lee and Michael Kasprowicz took the game to England as it went right to the wire.
Australia needed just two runs to win the game and England fans were biting their fingernails and looking distraught as they felt Australia opening up a 2-0 lead. However, Steve Harmison came powering in to Kasprowicz, who read it completely wrong and flicked it over his head but only to a diving Geraint Jones. Ensue pandemonium in the stands and on the pitch. England had won the game.
Ben Stokes, Headingley 2019
There is a similarity to how Stokes played here to how Botham did in 1981. On the same ground, Stokes took the game by the scruff of the neck and put down the gauntlet by getting 135 not out. It was clear he was not going to lose the game despite losing batsmen to help him out.
England had struggled with the bat in the first innings as they only mustered up 67 runs. Going into the second innings needing 359 runs to win. It was highly unlikely. Once again, the first two wickets tumbled quickly but Joe Root and Joe Denly put up some resistance but not scoring quickly as England were playing to bat out nearly two days to get a draw.
However, when Jonny Bairstow came in Stokes took that as “let’s give this a go”. When Bairstow went on 36 and Jos Buttler quickly followed the batsmen gave Stokes as much as he needed as they allowed him to be on strike as much as possible. Alongside Jack Leach, Stokes cut Pat Cummins away for four to grab one of the most unlikely of victories.
Kevin Pietersen, The Oval 2005
England headed into the final test at The Oval needing just a draw to regain the Ashes. Someone should have told Kevin Pietersen. The youngster in his maiden test series was playing as if it was a one-day game in his second innings. Pietersen is known for his explosive, exciting, full throttle batting and this is where he made his name.
After being trapped for 14 by Shane Warne in his first innings, KP turned it on in the second. He made 158 from 187 balls; 15 4s and 7 6s. That is not test cricket style, but he got everyone off their feet with his big hits and at times baseball style of play. There is no finer sight for England fans than seeing Australian bowlers look perplexed and that is what KP did to them that day. With his shocking blonde Mohican and flamboyant style, Pietersen was part of the crew that made cricket fun and rock & roll!