Great Ashes moments

Ashes Follow Us looks at the moments which have shaped the most famous of cricketing rivalries:

1948 - Bradman’s farewell

Legendary Australia batsman Don Bradman required just four runs from the final innings of his career in the fifth Test at the Oval to average 100 in Test cricket.

But his quest was cut short when leg-spinner Eric Hollies bowled him for a second-ball duck. Bradman finished with a batting average of 99.94.

Wisden lauded Bradman as “the greatest phenomenon in the history of cricket, indeed in the history of all ball games”.

1956 - Perfect 10 for Laker

At Manchester in the fourth Test of a series England won 2-1, off-spinner Jim Laker achieved cricketing perfection when he took 10 wickets in the second innings to end with an incredible match haul of 19.

Anil Kumble has since become the second bowler to take all 10 in a Test innings, while Muttiah Muralitharan has bagged 17 in a match.

Laker, however, stands alone - and probably always will. Though he had conditions in his favour, particularly after the uncovered pitch received a soaking midway through the match, he bowled with great control and considerable menace.

At the other end, Laker's spin twin Tony Lock bowled superbly, too - but his left-arm orthodox spin was less of a mystery to the Australians, and his reward was the only wicket which eluded his team-mate.

Bob Massie

Ray Illingworth becomes one of Bob Massie's 16 victims on a stunning debut for Australia at Lord's in the 1972 Ashes

1972 - Massie swings in

Massie’s swing bowling tore England to shreds as he claimed match figures of 16-137 in the second Test at Lord’s.

Massie, who played only five more Tests for Australia, took the scalps of Alan Knott, Ray Illingworth and John Snow in both innings, and his outstanding debut performance helped Australia draw the series 2-2 and retain the Ashes.

1974 - Walters in a hurry

Doug Walters completed a dramatic century in a session during the second Test at the WACA in the 1974-75 series - hooking the final ball of the day from Bob Willis for a memorable six.

Walters, who hailed from a dairy farm outside Dungong in New South Wales, scored 15 Test centuries but none on his four Ashes tours.

1977 - Hats off to Randall

Derek Randall’ reputation as one of the most popular cricketers in the country was underlined when he made a splendid 174 in the Centenary Test at the MCG. Although the Ashes were not at stake on this tour, Randall's innings is one of the most memorable moments in the rivalry between England and Australia.

Bowled out for 95 in the first innings and set an improbable 463 to win, England fell just 46 runs short of pulling off an astonishing victory thanks to Randall, who famously doffed his cap to Dennis Lillee after narrowly evading a bouncer during an innings high on character.

He was named man of the match in a contest in which Lillee returned figures of 11-165.

1977 - Boycott’s 100th hundred

After abandoning Test cricket for four years, Geoffrey Boycott returned in 1977 and registered his 100th first-class century against Australia in the fourth Test at Headingley, his home ground.

He finished with 191, one of 22 Test centuries during a stunning career which saw him average 47.72 and become England’s leading run-scorer with 8,114.

Ian Botham, Terry Alderman & Bob Taylor

Ian Botham seals a remarkable England victory at Edgbaston in 1981, claiming five wickets for one run in 28 balls

1981 - Five alive for Botham

One of many heroic performances from legendary all-rounder Ian Botham helped England win the fourth Test at Edgbaston and take a 2-1 lead in a series which brought the country to life.

He claimed five wickets for one run in 28 balls during a blistering spell as Australia - chasing 151 to win - slipped from 105 for five to 122 all out.

Botham's victims included Rod Marsh, Ray Bright, Dennis Lillee, Martin Kent and Terry Alderman, who was comprehensively bowled to cap a monumentous day.

It was no surprise when Botham was named man of the series. He plundered 399 runs, including a match-transforming 149 not out at Headingley, and took 34 wickets.

1982-83 - Border and Thomson go close

Chasing 292 to win the fourth Test at the MCG - and the 250th between England and Australia - the hosts’ hopes were all but extinguished when they slumped to 218 for nine.

However, Allan Border and number 11 Jeff Thomson embarked on a remarkable last-wicket stand which took Australia to the brink of victory.

They required just four to complete a sensational triumph when Thomson edged Ian Botham to provide Chris Tavare at second slip.

Tavare could only parry it, but Geoff Miller, at first slip, showed fine reactions to catch the rebound and secure victory for England.

Mike Gatting

A dumfounded Mike Gatting surveys the damage done by Shane Warne with his first ball in Test cricket in England

1993 - Ball of the Century

England's best player of spin, Mike Gatting, was at the crease when Allan Border threw Shane Warne the ball in the opening Test at Old Trafford.

His first delivery in Test cricket in England was a vicious, dipping leg-break which pitched outside leg stump and beat Gatting’s defensive prod to hit the top of off.

It was subbed the ‘ball of the century’ by Gatting, and represented the first entry in a long and distinguished Ashes story for the legendary Warne.

1994-95 - Warne does the trick

Yet again, Shane Warne was England's tormentor-in-chief. The mercurial leg-spinner terrorised the tourists on a fifth-day pitch in the second Test at the MCG, dismissing Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in consecutive balls.

DeFreitas was lbw playing back to one that skidded through, Gough was beaten by turn to be caught behind, and Malcolm was superbly taken by David Boon at short-leg via the glove.

It was the first hat-trick by an Australian in an Ashes Test for more than 90 years. England were bowled out for 92 and lost by 295 runs.

Steve Waugh

The crowd rises to acclaim Steve Waugh after he reaches three figures off the last ball of the day

2002-03 - Waugh’s Sydney century

Australia led 4-0 going into the fifth Test at the SCG, but Steve Waugh was under the microscope after making just two half-centuries in the series.

The captain arrived at the crease with his team in trouble at 56 for three, and with the weight of expectation resting firmly on his shoulders.

However, he responded with a century which said all you needed to know about the character of the ultimate fighter, becoming only the third batsman to score 10,000 Test runs before reaching three figures by hitting the final ball of the day for four.

Waugh’s hundred - the 28th of his Test career, taking him level with Sir Don Bradman - could not prevent England winning the test by 225 runs and avoiding a series whitewash.

2005 - Flintoff’s sporting spirit

The spirit of cricket was illustrated at the end of the second Test at Edgbaston, regarded by many as the greatest match of all time.

While England's players celebrated after clinching a nail-biting two-run win, Andrew Flintoff - their lynchpin all-rounder - took time out to console Australia's devastated not-out batsman Brett Lee.

In a sensational conclusion to a pulsating contest which grabbed the nation’s attention, it was a gesture of great sportsmanship from Flintoff.

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