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Assault of the year

Michael Slater: 77 v England, 1st Test, Edgbaston

Michael Slater got himself a new Ferrari and a Superman tattoo in 2001. Other than that, he didn't do too much. At least, that's what the statistics say. How they lie! Slater's audacious and breathtaking assault on Darren Gough on the first day of the Ashes series at Edgbaston pushed England onto the ropes so quickly that they were always struggling for their footing afterwards. In the space of five minutes, Gough - bounding in with the enthusiasm of a Yorkshire terrier - was reduced to a whelping bundle by Slater's whiplash. Eighteen runs don't win you a Test series but they were enough to show Australia that England's spearhead could be blunted till it was no sharper than a marshmallow. After that heady evening in Birmingham, Slater was ineffectual with the bat and his proximity to page three saw him lose his place to Justin Langer. There is little chance of him getting it back but Australian fans won't forget that sunlit afternoon. It could be their last indelible memory of an opener who did everything his way, whether it was belting the cover off the new ball or kissing the helmet crest with unbridled passion each time he got to a hundred.