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. First-up, here are a selection of the finest hours.

The balcony scene, Old Trafford, 1989. David Boon's sweep sends everyone but Bob Simpson and Mike Veletta into an arm-raising standing ovation outside the dressing-room as they reclaim the Ashes. The iconic photo reminds a generation that a childhood of losing was over. Peter English



Ian Botham: he didn't want to bowl, apparently © Getty Images

When Alec Stewart and Andy Caddick added 103 for the last wicket on the first day of the 2001 Ashes, the underdog in me was feeling good. But then came Michael Slater. First ball, smacked for four past point. Second: ditto. Fourth ball, driven the other side of point. Last ball, thick-edged over gully. Eighteen in the first over - including two no-balls - and from that moment there was never any doubt over who would win. I loved Slater. He batted like there was no future and made the present incredibly exciting. Sambit Bal

I was sat in the old pavilion at The Oval watching Gooch and Gower pasting the Aussies all over the park for a day, and then watched a red-faced Craig McDermott, steam coming out of his red ears, swearing in frustration as he trudged off the field. There have not been too many days since then, when the Aussie pace attack has been put to the sword with quite the same ease and style. Alex Chamberlen

For a young England fan, 1993 was turning out to be a dog of a series. Australia were winning with ridiculous ease, Brendon Julian denied England a series-salvager at Trent Bridge, and Gooch was driven to resignation. But then, out of the blue, came news that the one man who could save us was back in the wickets. Angus Fraser had spent 18 months on the sidelines with a chronic hip injury, but with 7 for 40 against Leicestershire, he was propelled straight back into the squad. Eight wickets and a Man of the Match later, England had won their first Ashes Test in six-and-a-half years. Andrew Miller

Ian Botham made only 18 at Edgbaston in the fifth Test of the 1985 series, but what an 18. The series was still in the balance at 1-1 but when Botham came in, England were 572 for 4 and he was facing a bullish Craig McDermott, 20 years old. The first ball was full and straight and disappeared back over McDermott's head into the stand. The second went for four and the fourth disappeared into the crowd just like the first. Botham was then caught on the midwicket boundary by Jeff Thomson whose gesture to the crowd revealed a certain mutual disrespect. England declared almost immediately and went on to win the Test and the Ashes. John Stern

In 1997, England had produced three straight one-day wins against the Aussies, and it was scarcely possible to believe things could get better. But 90 minutes after Mark Taylor had won the toss in the first Test, Australia were 54 for 8. I was sat next to an Aussie for whom this day was his one chance to watch his team live - how sweet it felt. Never mind that it was a false dawn, at that precise moment Edgbaston was alive with possibility. Andrew McGlashan

Botham, 1981, at Edgbaston. The most dramatic moment of that series - five wickets for one run, crowd roaring, huge celebration from the man himself - and Brearley's interview afterwards: "He didn't want to bowl, you know." Edward Craig

Steve Waugh's first century on the second day of the series in 1989. Mark Taylor's opening-day hundred had been a tortuous affair on a day of extreme attrition, but Waugh clattered 174 on day two, out of a tally of 373. It was vindication of the faith that the legendary Bill O'Reilly had expressed after watching Waugh in the Sheffield Shield final in 1985. The Ashes were never the same again. Dileep Premachandran