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2005 Ashes

The 2005 Ashes was one of the most exciting enthralling series of all time. Starting on 21 July 2005, England and Australia played five Tests with Australia having held the Ashes for 16 straight years since 1989. The final result was a 2–1 series win for England with the series in the balance until the last day of the series.

In the leadup, Australia had been the top-ranked test nation since 1995. England had quietly won 14 and drawn three of their 18 previous Test matches, including being victorious in their last six successive series. Fast bowler Glenn McGrath made his now infamous predicton of a "5–0 win in the series for Australia"

Australia won the first Test comfortably, but the Second Test saw England level the series with a two-run victory, the narrowest win in Ashes history. The third Test ended in a tense draw. England won the fourth Test by three wickets, losing seven men in a chase of 129.

The 5th Test entered its final day with England batting in their second innings, 40 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand. Australia needed a win to force a 2–2 series draw and retain the Ashes. Kevin Pietersen scored a maiden century, and the match was drawn to ensure the return of the Ashes to England. Winning skipper Michael Vaughan reflecting on this memorable series said "Cricket has captured the nation; I'm not sure the sport will ever get to that level again".

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2005 Ashes

The Ashes: A brief history(28 June 2013)

The first Test match was played between England and Australia in 1877 at the MCG. The Ashes legend started 5 years later, after the ninth Test, played in 1882 at the Oval in London.

The third Australian team to tour England in 1882 achieved the unthinkable. Until then, the English had never been beaten on home soil, but Australia led by WL "Billy" Murdoch shocked England, with the legendary WG Grace in their ranks, lost by seven runs with Aussie fast bowler Fred Spofforth aking 14 wickets for 90 runs.

The following day, a mock obituary ran in the Sporting Times "in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882".

During the next tour to Australia in late 1882, a small terracotta urn was presented to the England captain Hon Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women, led by Lady Clarke, after a friendly game that was played at Sir William Clarke's Rupertswood manor in Sunbury, Victoria. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of an item of cricket equipment such as a bail, or scarf, depending on which legend is true.

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