Decade Review 2009

Edgbaston and all that

England's Ashes glory, a Warne-Tendulkar battle, the advent of Twenty20: Cricinfo columnists and senior editors pick their favourite bits of the decade

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Mike Kasprowicz is distraught at gloving a Stephen Harmison delivery, and losing the match by just two runs, England v Australia, Edgbaston, August 7, 2005
The moment that changed England's decade © Getty Images
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Christian Ryan, Former editor, Wisden Australia
Australia v England, first Test, Brisbane, 2002
"Footwork! Footwork! Footwork!" the coaches like to bark, when the more precious but less easily taught thing to have is a clear head. A clear head can help a batsman upturn convention - conventions like the one that tells him to be extra vigilant in the second innings if he made nought in the first. Adam Gilchrist, on a pair, and five innings on since his last Test fifty, as dry a stretch as he'd ever known, allowed himself one delivery to look at Ashley Giles before leaning down the pitch, his feet moving only as much as they had to, and hitting the ball clean over the sightscreen.

Sambit Bal, Editor, Cricinfo
Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, Durban, 2009
Admittedly this is an eccentric choice. I didn't even watch the whole match. I was out for dinner with a friend and the restaurant had the game on the big screen. Rajasthan had been restricted to 145, and though Mumbai had slipped to 76 for 5, Sachin Tendulkar had taken 18 runs off the 15th over, bowled by Ravindra Jadeja. My friend was getting late and we were about to leave when a familiar figure walked up to bowling end. Shane Warne had only one over left, and there was no way I was going to leave. In four balls, the match was settled. The first one went for three wides. Tendulkar and Abhishek Nayar pinched singles of the next two. Tendulkar looked to sweep the fourth, but overbalanced himself by going too far across, and the ball, flatter and quicker, caught him on the pad for a straightforward leg-before. Theirs has been one of most compelling duels of their times, and for the most part Tendulkar has got the better of Warne. It didn't matter who won this one. Just the charge I felt for those couple of minutes was enough. That I could find such pleasure even in a two-minute contest was reassuring.

Andrew Miller, UK editor, Cricinfo
England v Australia, second Test, Edgbaston, 2005
The 2005 Ashes was a blessing that came with a built-in curse - the energy that England expended in that extraordinary summer effectively drained them of inspiration for the remaining five years of the decade. Was it worth it? Emphatically yes, because without that beacon of brilliance the 2000s would, in all probability, have fizzled away with a whimper. Another Ashes defeat would have been England's ninth in as many series since 1989, and as Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz inched Australia towards a 2-0 lead on that fateful final day at Edgbaston, that is exactly what was lying in wait. But up popped Steve Harmison with the timeliest lifter of his career, down stooped Geraint Jones with the snaffle that silenced his critics, and up went Billy Bowden's crooked finger. In that instant, the nation was hooked, and the rest passed directly into folklore.

Jayaditya Gupta, Executive editor, Cricinfo
England v India, Natwest Series final, Lord's, 2002
It was drama out on the field, it was history (though we didn't know it then) off it. Out there, a young and vibrant Indian side overhauled England's 325 to record the second-highest total ever chased down in ODIs at the time. In the process, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif laid down the template for India's domination, in the broader sense, of limited-overs cricket (and vice versa): youth, fitness, confidence and strong telegenic appeal. From there to the IPL was but a hoick away. The celebrations off the field - Ganguly's wild shirt-twirling and serial screaming of f-words at the most hallowed of cricket grounds - signified something else: that India had arrived and would stay and play on their own terms. From there to Modi was but an arm-twist away.

Peter English, Australasia editor, Cricinfo
Australia v England, fifth Test, Sydney, 2007
There aren't many days in a cricket watcher's career when you are joyful, depressed, reflective and fearful all in the same morning. The last day at the SCG in 2006-07 was like going to a funeral, except that it was also a big party. Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer were waving goodbye with a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, while Damien Martyn, who had sneaked into retirement after the second game, was also at the ground. The last time Australia lost three greats at once, in 1983-84, the team went into a deep, depressive and destructive spiral. What would happen this time? The fall wasn't as bad, but less than three years later Australia's ranking was No. 4. Warne and McGrath were in no danger of being replaced, and Simon Katich was the closest the side had to Langer. On that last day McGrath finished off England's second innings with three wickets, Warne was rushed in for three overs and Langer was not out on 20 when the game finished. Then the tears and cheers continued in the stands and lounge rooms across the country as supporters remembered not what happened in those couple of hours, but what the players did so well over the previous decade. Even Steve Waugh's exit in 2003-04 wasn't that emotional.

Ian Chappell, Commentator and columnist
India v Sri Lanka, third Test, Mumbai
Virender Sehwag coming so close to scoring 300 in a Test match day against Sri Lanka. I wish I had been there to see it.

Gideon Haigh, Australian cricket historian and writer
Andrew Flintoff's first over of the second innings at Edgbaston in 2005: seven deliveries - there was a no-ball - in which absolutely anything could have happened, but which no force on Earth could have withstood. If ever wickets were by popular demand, this was it: first Justin Langer, bowled by a ball off bat, pad and body; then Ricky Ponting, snicking one he did well to touch. An extraordinary moment: never did Ponting, the decade's best batsman, make a crowd happier.

Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar chat, Lord's, June 20, 2005
Warne v Tendulkar: even over a two-minute contest, they did not fail to thrill © AFP

S Rajesh, Stats editor, Cricinfo
England v India, third Test, Headingley, 2002
When India won the toss and chose to bat under overcast skies and in seaming conditions in Headingley, one feared the worst for a batting line-up that had regularly crumbled in similar conditions in the past. But this Indian team, under Sourav Ganguly, was beginning to show a new resolve and steel when playing outside India, and this match was ample proof. Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Bangar patiently saw off the toughest periods, while Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly ruthlessly exploited that foundation and a wearying England attack. After scoring what was then India's highest overseas total, the bowlers took over with a clinical performance: there was no individual five-for, and yet England were bowled out twice for a match total of 582. It was as close to a perfect performance as one could have hoped for. India won several more matches overseas during the decade - more than in all previous decades put together - as fans got used to it and expectations went up, but that display remains special for the sheer unexpectedness and perfection.

Martin Williamson, Executive editor, Cricinfo
Surrey v Middlesex, Twenty20 Cup, 2003
My moment of the decade came on what was supposed to be a sleepy evening in June 2003, when Twenty20 took to the stage. A largely cynical media predicted, at best, a lukewarm response, and in the Cricinfo office we were toying with the idea of not sending anyone to the opening games. In the end Andrew Miller, in those days keen and unattached, volunteered to head down to The Oval. On my way home I called him and when he answered it was against the backdrop of cheering and yelling. Instead of the few thousand we had expected, the ground was two-thirds full and the crowd was lapping it up. A few days later I went to sleepy Imber Court near Esher and found another sell-out crowd basking in the evening sunshine. It was clear the format was not going to be another flash in the pan.

Harsha Bhogle, Commentator and writer
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders, Bangalore, 2008
The first game and the opening ceremony of the first IPL. We realised we were in the midst of something that would define our times

Dileep Premachandran, Associate editor, Cricinfo
India v England, first Test, Chennai, 2008-09
Who could have scripted it better? Three weeks after the terror attacks in his home city, Sachin Tendulkar came to the crease in Chennai with India chasing the sort of total that was once deemed impossible on a fifth-day pitch. Virender Sehwag had stunned England with the audacity of his initial assault, but there were still miles to go as Tendulkar marked his guard and settled into his stance. A little more than five hours later, he paddled a delivery from Graeme Swann to fine leg, a stroke that clinched victory and also took him to three figures. This, remember, was the man who allegedly went missing when India needed him most.

Telford Vice, writer
The Ashes, 2005
Call it weird for a South African to say so, but England finally winning back the Ashes is the light that beams out of the murk of a decade in which the volume of cricket played reached meaningless proportions. Previously, so many Australian teams had dealt with so many England sides as effortlessly as they might have wiped beer froth off their top lip. Then came the shining moment when the invincible were proven vincible. Out here in the colonies, some of us had grandfathers who expounded lengthily on the Battle of Britain. Try as they might to inculcate in succeeding generations the emotion that floods the soul when the anticipation of dread is turned into triumph, we never quite caught their drift. Cricket and war should never be equated, but after the 2005 Ashes we have a better idea of what the old codgers were on about.

Note: this is not intended to be a list of the greatest moments of the decade. It is a subjective list of the favourite cricket moments of the writers in question


Comments: 49 
Posted by Fahad on (December 24, 2009, 14:43 GMT)

6 out of 11 are Indian moments yet no one picked Kolkata 2001.. That is strange

Posted by sports_freakz on (December 24, 2009, 14:39 GMT)

One more....for a few months England had been running their mouths about how McGrath was washed up and England would look to dominate him....Brisbane 2007 arrived....and in about 2 sessions of play England were shot out for ~ 150 with the great man taking 6 wickets. Tendulkar, Lara, Inzamam, Dravid, Kallis, Strauss, Kirsten etc were all reduced to poking and prodding by the greatest bowler of the decade.

Posted by sports_freakz on (December 24, 2009, 14:23 GMT)

One of the best moments of the decade...WC Final 2003...Ponting on strike...his supposed tormentor harbhajan comes on. crucial passage of play....this is as big a stage as it 4 balls he had hit a 4 and 2 sixes. The second one nearly left the ground....I wish he had mimicked the cola ads playing at that time and asked harbhajan to go fetch the ball. In one over he had established that when the stage was big...there was no bigger player than Ponting.

Posted by Robin on (December 24, 2009, 13:59 GMT)

where did the champions trophy 2004 final go and where did Joburg 2006 go?Not to forget KOLKATA 2001(the test match of the century)

Posted by hemant on (December 24, 2009, 13:46 GMT)

hmmmm...i guess comments are not being added....i wrote 12 hours ago...writing again..... every good site seems to forget that kolkata test.... as warunanc mentined malinga's 4 in 4 also missing... and so are yuvraj's 6 in 6, gibbssy's too...australia undeafeated in both world cups, ind vs pak t20 final, misbah scoop and tendulkar copied it against aus after scoring 175, tendulkar's 20 years, west indies and sa chasing 400 plus in 4th many omissions..hmmm....

Posted by Dindial on (December 24, 2009, 13:37 GMT)

Shiv Chanderpaul vs Sri Lanka. 10 needed of last 2 deliveries, then 6 of the last, guess what. He did it"

Posted by Faraz on (December 24, 2009, 13:36 GMT)

wat abt that famous match between Aus and SA at Jo'burg in 200 seeing a record chase by SA..........????

Posted by Sulav on (December 24, 2009, 13:08 GMT)

What about Newzealand beating Australia 3-0? Yes, the Aussies weren't 100% but nor were the kiwis, they never are.

Posted by sreekanth on (December 24, 2009, 11:07 GMT)

Amazing no mention about Kolkata 2001? From a pure cricketing point of view, 2001 Kolkata test between India and Australia was the biggest and most amazing moment in the last decade.


Posted by Chandra on (December 24, 2009, 10:51 GMT)

Either England has become the most exciting team in the world or this web-site is full of British or British leaning editorial staff....

8 out of 11 instances mentioned had England playing a game......

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