Ashes 2009, 1st Test, Cardiff

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James Anderson & Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar and James Anderson walk from the field after rescuing a vital draw for England in the first Test at Cardiff

England (435 and 252 for nine) drew with Australia (674 for six declared)

There was a huge sense of anticipation ahead of the 2009 Ashes, with both teams thought to be evenly matched.

This proved to be the case as the series progressed, yet England were on the back foot for much of the opening Test in Cardiff as Australia looked to continue where they had left off in the 2006-07 series Down Under.

Honours were shared on the opening day, which saw England reach the close on 336 for seven thanks to half-centuries from Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior.

But it was on day two that the tourists started to take a firm grip on proceedings, albeit after England had scraped their way to a seemingly competitive total of 435, with Graeme Swann adding 47 from 40 balls at number 10.

Phil Hughes fell victim to Andrew Flintoff for 36 in Australia's reply, but fellow opener Simon Katich and skipper Ricky Ponting both recorded centuries as England’s bowling attack was made to toil.

After Katich and Ponting had eventually departed for 122 and 150 respectively, Australia continued to pile on the runs, with Marcus North and Brad Haddin also reaching three figures.

When Ponting finally declared with the score on 674 for six, England were left with a mountain to climb and the enormity of their task increased when Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara were dismissed cheaply to leave the hosts on 20 for two at tea on day four.

The weather prevented any further play that evening, but Australia remained strong favourites to claim victory, particularly after reducing England to 70 for five and then 159 for seven on the final day.

With wickets tumbling around him, it was Collingwood who emerged as the hero for England, the Durham batsman proving his worth once again with a defiant innings of 74 that spanned almost six hours.

However, when he was dismissed by Peter Siddle, England still required six to make Australia bat again and were some 11.3 overs from salvation.

What followed was pure drama as last man Monty Panesar teamed up with James Anderson to see England through to the close.

Each delivery that passed was greeted with wild cheers from an enchanted crowd, but the loudest roar came at the end of play as the home fans celebrated an extraordinary escape.