The Ashes 2009 August 24, 2009

Monty's miracle, and a Broad burst

After the conclusion of a topsy-turvy series, Cricinfo looks back at the pivotal moments of the Ashes which England eventually won 2-1.

Monty's miracle
Forget the Bermuda Triangle, how Monty Panesar stayed with James Anderson for 11.3 overs in Cardiff will remain one of life's great mysteries. Australia were one wicket from a 1-0 lead with an hour to go, but Panesar, one of the least-qualified No. 11s, refused to bow to Johnson or Siddle or Hilfenhaus or Hauritz or North. Anderson held firm too and, assisted slightly by some delaying tactics from the physio and 12th man, England literally edged into the black and held on. It was a draw that felt like a win.

Loose at Lord's
Nobody could remember the last time an Australian attack bowled so badly in the first session of a match. Having expected they could pick up immediately from their domination in Cardiff, the visitors were upended by Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook as they piled on 196 for the first wicket - before tea! Mitchell Johnson was the greatest help to England during the worst week of his international career, and when Andrew Flintoff finished with five wickets on the final day, England had the lead.

Clarke stands firm
England could have virtually wrapped up the Ashes by holding a 2-0 buffer after three games if it hadn't been for the Michael Clarke-Marcus North rearguard on the final day in Birmingham. Starting the morning 25 behind, Australia lost two wickets shortly after taking the lead, but Clarke's 103 and North's 96 saved the rain-ruined game.

Alarm bells
What happens when a fire alarm goes off in the team hotel at 5am, Matt Prior hurts his back five minutes before the toss and Australia pick four fast men on a seaming pitch? England are dismissed for 102 and the nation's hopes disappear. After the explosive first session at Headingley, Australia were on track for a 1-1 scoreline and, surely, certainties to retain the Ashes.

Broad burst
A light shower and a blond allrounder turned the Ashes in less than a session. Australia were untroubled at 73 for 0 before play resumed after lunch on the second day and Stuart Broad ripped out five wickets in 47 balls. The tourists, disbelieving and dumbfounded, were gone for 160 and England boasted of a new Flintoff. There was no way back for Australia as the hosts stole the Ashes again.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo