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Atherton's exit, and Thorpe's miss

A selection of Cricinfo's writers recall their lowest Ashes moments

Cricinfo staff
As the 2005 Ashes prepares to get underway, Cricinfo asks a selection of its writers and senior staff members to recall their most memorable Ashes moments - good, bad or downright ugly. Last week, it was the highs. Now, it's the lows.

Mike Atherton bows out for the final time © Getty Images
Headingley 1997, and Thorpe drops a sitter in the slips off Matthew Elliott. I was working on a building site at the time with headphones in. At that moment, not only did the series change, but that summer altered forever. The next thing we knew, Mike Smith (the luckless bowler, in case you'd forgotten) had been dropped, Australia had retained the Ashes and Diana had died - I blame it all on Thorpe. Edward Craig
Waugh's calf injury at Trent Bridge in 2001. A lesser individual might have cashed his chips then and there, but Tugga not only came back in time for The Oval, but was still around 18 months later to mastermind another demolition job on home soil. When it happened though, you feared it might be most inappropriate of endings - a warrior going off lame. Dileep Premachandran
Missing Shane Warne's Gatting ball. Picked the wrong moment to get some air on the steps. A neighbour cheered the dismissal instead. It looks great on the replay. Peter English
Switching on the radio - as a student, Pay TV was not an option - and hearing England had won the toss on the first day of the 2002-03 series. Great! But ... wait ...! Nasser Hussain, in his wisdom, sticks Australia in, and you didn't need TV pictures to realise that he had done so for all the wrong reasons. By lunch the Aussies were 116 for 1 and a short time later Simon Jones was out of the match and the series with a ruptured knee ligament. The Ashes disappeared just as quickly. Andrew McGlashan
The day that hope finally died. Another lost cause for Mike Atherton to salvage, another fatal snick, and a final dismissal - his 19th - at the hands of Glenn McGrath. The crowd rose as one as the Australians, to a man, applauded from the crease an opponent who had averaged a distinctly unworthy 29.68 in his 33 Tests against them. They were thanked for their magnanimity by an apologetic semi-wave of the bat. The poetic futility of this moment overwhelmed me, as the very definition of a lost cause was played out before my eyes. That evening, I finally got round to tackling another lost cause, and dumped my long-suffering girlfriend. Andrew Miller
For England fans, the Saturday at Lord's has made a traditionally depressing spectacle. The sight - and silence - of Ian Botham's trudge back to the pavilion after making a pair in 1981 was chilling but, for heart-sinking reality-dawning awfulness, nothing beats the third day of the 1989 Test. England had restricted Australia to 276 for 6 overnight, with Steve Waugh unbeaten on 35. He finished 152 not out while the tailenders Merv Hughes (30), Trevor Hohns (21) and Geoff Lawson (Test-best 74) laughed in England's faces. The last four wickets added 263 and by stumps England were 58 for 3. This was one of the most significant days in recent Ashes history and produced another seismic shift towards Aussie world domination. John Stern
Atherton, his mind cluttered by impending retirement, misses an easy catch off Tufnell, and the great jungle-dweller is smashed into Test history by the Aussie top-order. Alex Chamberlen