Ashes classics and a Sabina Park demolition
Jerome Taylor 5 for 11 v England
first Test, Jamaica
On the fourth afternoon in Jamaica, the Test was meandering aimlessly and inevitably towards a draw. After two slow innings, West Indies had managed a 74-run lead. England looked like they would play out a safe draw. Enter Taylor, with the spell of a lifetime. He bowled full and fast and attacked the stumps. After each wicket the crowd went mad, recreating the atmosphere from West Indies' heyday of the mid-1980s. Nine overs, five wickets, 11 runs, and England had lost by an innings.
Mitchell Johnson 4 for 25 v South Africa
first Test, Johannesburg
Australia's revenge for the series loss at home to South Africa was set in motion by a hostile Johnson. His last act of the home series had been Graeme Smith's wicket, sealing the Sydney win. It took him five deliveries to remove the South Africa captain here, setting the tone for the rest of the series. His figures of 18.1-7-25-4 gave Australia a decisive 244-run lead in the first innings. South Africa would not come back in the series until the dead rubber.
Stuart Broad 5 for 37 v Australia
fifth Test, The Oval
Broad produced a performance better than Flintoff's at Lord's to prise away, finger by finger, Australia's grip on the Ashes. Responding to England's first-innings 332, the Aussies collapsed from 73 for 0 to 160 all out. The star of England's show was Broad, who responded with a full and straight 12-over spell that perfectly exploited a pitch that was showing increasing signs of uneven bounce. He claimed the first four wickets to fall for eight runs in the space of 21 deliveries, and wrapped up his second five-wicket haul in consecutive innings by yorking Brad Haddin.
Andrew Flintoff 5 for 92 v Australia
second Test, Lord's
When it came to a sense of occasion and an ability to stir the crowds, not many did it better than Flintoff. In his final Test act at the home of cricket, he broke England's 75-year Lord's curse with his first five-wicket haul since the Ashes-clinching Oval Test of 2005. It was, unquestionably, a performance that enhanced his already mythical status within English cricket, but more pertinently it gave them a critical 1-0 lead. He steamed in from his favoured Pavilion End, as 25,000 screaming voices drowned out the pain in his knee. Only a famous exit from Lord's would do and he duly obliged with the wickets of Phil Hughes, Simon Katich, Brad Haddin and two tailenders.
Graeme Swann 5 for 54 v South Africa
second Test, Durban
Swann, easily the spinner of the year, had spent the year away from the spotlight, doing his bit and then being sidelined by various star performers. In the last two Tests of the year, though, he grabbed the spotlight by the throat. Swann's penchant for taking wickets in the first over of his spells continued here, as he sent South Africa - behind by 231 runs with little over four sessions to go in the match - to defeat, turning around a game that looked to be shaping inevitably into a draw. Thirteen Swann deliveries later, 27 for 0 had become 37 for 2, and everything had changed. He finished with his fourth five-for of the year, more than any other bowler, and his second Man of the Match in a row.