The Edgbaston Ashes thriller

The classic that turned a series around

Andrew Miller

Play 06:06

The importance of Edgbaston '05 is best explained by what didn't come to pass. England's best Test team in a generation didn't choke from a winning position, and hand an all-time great Australian outfit a 2-0 headstart in the final Ashes series to be broadcast on British free-to-air television.

Andrew Flintoff didn't suffer the indignity of having the performance of his life trumped by the ageless brilliance of Shane Warne, or sink to his haunches in despair to be consoled by a jubilant Brett Lee, after he and his tenth-wicket partner, Michael Kasprowicz, had sealed a stunning one-wicket victory with an unbroken, and indelible, 62-run stand.

The nation's casual cricket fans - momentarily drawn in by yet another engaging but ultimately empty England Ashes performance - didn't immediately transfer their Sunday afternoon viewing from the cricket to the Community Shield, where José Mourinho's Chelsea were set to usher the football season back onto the back pages by seeing off Arsene Wenger's Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley.

The greatest Ashes series in living memory didn't degenerate into a miserable month of going-through-the-motioning, as the crestfallen hosts succumbed to a 5-0 series thrashing, their final humiliation sealed in front of a sparse Monday crowd at The Oval on September 12 - the latest date on which a home England Test match has ever finished, and a suitably morose autumnal vibe with which to crown a depressing season, and end the terrestrial TV era.

Got 'im: England sneaked the narrowest of Ashes wins at Edgbaston © Getty Images

Instead, Edgbaston has been elevated to that most exclusive of plinths in the Test pantheon. Alongside Headingley and Kolkata, it is a game that can be identified by the name of the venue alone, and shares the distinction of setting in motion a truly epochal turnaround in a failing team's fortunes.

The greatest summer of English cricket's life could not have come to pass had it not been for Michael Vaughan's men, in the face of an existential crisis, salvaging the narrowest victory in the history of Ashes conflict.

"Jones! Bowden! Kasprowicz the man to go…"

Nothing can ever detract from the glory.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @miller_cricket