An old favourite and Harmison's charge
I'm sure everyone else has bagged the Ashes moments, so it has to be ... the restoration of that leafy delight, Queen's Park ground in Chesterfield, to its rightful place on the English first-class circuit. As pretty as a summer morning and as comfy as an old jumper, it has wowed men form Barnsley (Dicky Bird) and Bombay (Sachin), which takes some doing. Closely followed by sitting in the dead of an Australian night, watching the first England v Australia one-dayer on telly and becoming slowly intoxicated by Kevin Pietersen's strokeplay (also Bundaberg rum). Pietersen pulled England back from the brink and a weary 'here we go again' became an excited 'here we go!'
Seems the wrong year to moan.
Paul Coupar is assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer
The first day of the Lord's Test against Australia was my coup-de-grace. Memories of Michael Slater biffing his way like a bulldog released from his kennel haunt England fans, especially this one. But all that changed. A single-minded desire to inflict early punishment on Australia's top-order left them bleeding, literally, on 87 for 5, with Steve Harmison in a deliciously venomous mood. Macabre it might be, but when Harmison struck Ricky Ponting on the cheek, it signalled to Australia that at last England had a plan to counter the steamrolling juggernaut.
How difficult is it to bowl with a straight arm? The ongoing saga of bowler's illegal actions blighted an otherwise unforgettable year. The introduction of a 15-degree permissible bending of the elbow was an admirable idea, but the recent banning of Shabbir Ahmed (for one year) suggests perhaps the ICC will, at last, take a tougher stance in 2006. Either that, or issue umpires with protractors to measure the 15 degrees and red-card the lot of them.
Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo