The Ashes series, a historic cricket competition between England and Australia, has provided us with numerous unforgettable moments. These moments have undoubtedly contributed to the incredibly rich history of the Ashes, ranging from exciting matches to outstanding performances. In this article, we will delve into the archives and boldly rank the greatest Ashes moments that have left a lasting impact on the world of cricket.
The Bodyline Series
One of the most controversial moments in Ashes history was the Bodyline tactic employed by England during the 1932-33 series. Led by Douglas Jardine, the English bowlers aggressively targeted the bodies of the opposing team’s batsmen to neutralize the unmatched talent of Don Bradman.
This approach caused a diplomatic dispute between the two nations and had a lasting impact on the sport of cricket – forever changing the way it was played. The controversy sparked a heated debate over sportsmanship and ethics in cricket, with many questioning the morality of such aggressive tactics.
Despite the controversy, the Bodyline tactics proved to be a successful strategy for England, leading them to victory in the series. The incident is so embedded into the rivalry that the series would be the setting for a 1984 TV Series starring Hugo Weaving as the leading Douglas Jardine.
Shane Warne’s Ball of the Century
During the 1993 Ashes cricket series, Shane Warne, a highly esteemed and widely recognized leg-spinner, demonstrated his exceptional skills with an unforgettable moment of brilliance. In the first test match held at Old Trafford, Warne delivered a mesmerizing delivery that spun sharply and completely bamboozled Mike Gatting, ultimately hitting the off stump.
This now-legendary “Ball of the Century” not only marked Warne’s remarkable emergence on the international stage, but also stands as an iconic moment in the history of the Ashes cricket series.
The 2005 Ashes Series
The 2005 Ashes series was a thrilling five-Test match contest in England that ended Australia’s long-standing supremacy. England won the series 2-1, with Andrew Flintoff earning the Man of the Series Award. The first two Tests were particularly close, with England winning by just two runs. The third Test was a draw due to rain, but England secured their victory with a win at Trent Bridge. The final Test was also a draw but did not affect England’s triumph.
Mitchell Johnson’s Revenge
Mitchell Johnson’s exceptional pace and aggression were key to Australia’s victory over England in the 2013/14 Ashes series. He took 37 wickets in just five matches, with a remarkable average of 13.97 and an economy rate of 2.31.
Johnson’s presence and aura created immense pressure on the English batsmen, causing a psychological dent that proved difficult to recover from. His lethal bowling and the aggressive intent of the entire Australian team propelled them to reclaim the Ashes with utmost authority.
Ben Stokes Headingley Miracle
Ben Stokes’ performance at Headingley in 2019 is widely regarded as one of the greatest individual displays in cricket history. In the third Ashes Test between England and Australia, Stokes played an extraordinary innings that singlehandedly propelled England to an improbable victory.
Chasing a target of 359 runs, England found themselves in dire straits at 286 for 9, with victory seemingly out of reach. However, Stokes, with unwavering determination, embarked on a remarkable counter-attacking innings that defied the odds.
Stokes unleashed a breathtaking assault on the Australian bowlers, displaying incredible shot selection, power, and composure under immense pressure. He took calculated risks, playing audacious strokes, while also showcasing remarkable defensive technique when required.
Throughout his innings, Stokes received vital support from Jack Leach, who defended stoutly while Stokes attacked relentlessly. Stokes reached his century in dramatic fashion, hitting the winning boundary to complete a historic comeback victory.
His innings of 135 not out included 11 fours and 8 sixes, with several memorable shots that will forever be etched in cricketing folklore. Stokes’ heroics not only turned the match on its head, but also reignited the nation’s passion for cricket, captivating fans around the world.
Scott Boland at the G
In December of 2021, the Australian Test squad was pleased to welcome Boland as a bowling cover for the third match of the highly anticipated 2021-22 Ashes series. On December 26th of that same year, Boland made his debut against England and was honoured to receive his baggy green cap from none other than Josh Hazlewood himself.
Boland’s exceptional performance on the field did not go unnoticed as he managed to take an impressive seven wickets in the match, including an astounding 6/7 in England’s second innings. In recognition of his remarkable performance, Boland was awarded the prestigious Mullagh Medal.
Boland continued to exhibit his impressive skills on the field throughout the remaining three Tests of the Ashes series, ultimately taking a total of 18 wickets at an outstanding average of 9.55.
The Ashes series is renowned for producing remarkable moments that epitomize the greatness of cricket. These moments, ranging from contentious strategies to exceptional individual performances and remarkable comebacks, have played a significant role in shaping the narrative of the longstanding rivalry between England and Australia.
With every new Ashes series, cricket fans can look forward to witnessing more iconic moments that will captivate them and create memories that will last for generations to come. So hopefully, the 2023 Ashes series can provide the goods again.