Six great Ashes battles

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Fourth Test, Headingley, 1948

Don Bradman's 'Invincibles' secured the Ashes by completing a remarkable run-chase as time threatened to run out in a match in which England had held the edge until the final day.

England posted 496 with Cyril Washbrook (143) and Bill Edrich (111) reaching three figures and Len Hutton (89) and nightwatchman Alec Bedser, with his highest Test score of 79, making significant contributions.

Australia slipped to 68 for three in response, but the 19-year-old Neil Harvey (112) and Sam Loxton (93) helped them limit their first-innings deficit to 38.

England appeared to take control as Washbrook (65) and Hutton (57) shared their second hundred opening stand of the game and Denis Compton and Edrich added half-centuries.

They declared early on the final day but Australia, led by Arthur Morris (182) and the magnificent Bradman (173 not out), wanted to win and they successfully reached their 404-run target with seven wickets and 15 minutes to spare.

Jim Laker

Jim Laker's 19-wicket haul at Old Trafford remain the best match figures in Test history

Fourth Test, Old Trafford, 1956

A match forever remembered for the incredible feats of Jim Laker, who took an unparalleled 19 wickets as England routed Australia by an innings and 170 runs.

There was little hint of the sensation to come as Australia's spinners struggled in England's innings.

Peter Richardson (104) and Colin Cowdrey (80) put on 174 for the first wicket in just three hours and the Rev David Sheppard (113) added another century.

Australia's reply began in the afternoon session of the second day, but they could not handle the combination of a wet wicket and Laker's spin.

By the close they were already following on. Rain affected the next two days but Laker finished them off on the final day. He recorded figures of 9-37 and 10-53.

Third Test, Headingley, 1981

The 500-1 miracle. Only once had a side won a Test from following on and such was England's perilous position that a number of players checked out of their hotel on the fourth morning.

At that point they were already one wicket down in their second innings and needed a further 221 to make Australia bat again.

Enter Ian Botham. He had endured a miserable first two Tests and resigned as captain prior to Headingley, although he hit 50 in England's poor response to Australia's 401 for nine and by taking six wickets.

However, but that was nothing compared to what followed. He smashed a remarkable 149 not out and shared a vital 117-run stand with tailender Graham Dilley as England set Australia 130 to win.

The odds were still against an England win but Bob Willis bowled like a man possessed to take 8-43 and seal a sensational victory by 18 runs.

Dean Headley & Damien Fleming

Dean Headley traps Damien Fleming leg before en route to figures of 6-60 in a thrilling climax to the MCG Test

Fourth Test, Melbourne, 1998

England had seemed down and out after an abject defeat in the third Test and a humbling loss to an Australian second string side in a tour match.

Yet, cheered on by the Barmy Army, they somehow managed to defy the odds and secure an unexpected morale-boosting victory that briefly brought the series back to life.

Skipper Alec Stewart hit a century but Steve Waugh (122 not out) responded with one of his own to give Australia a first-innings lead of 70.

Stewart, Nasser Hussain and Graeme Hick scored fifties as England forged back ahead and Alan Mullally added a few lower-order swishes, but a target of 175 was still well within the hosts' capabilities.

At 103 for two, Australia were well on the way but Dean Headley then produced the performance of his short career, taking 6-60, including a spell of 4-4 in 13 balls in a marathon final session, as England won by 13 runs.

Fourth Test, Headingley, 2001

This time the series had already gone. Australia were superior in all departments and comfortably won the opening three Tests to retain the Ashes.

They were in control at Headingley too, when Ricky Ponting (144) Damien Martyn (118) and Glenn McGrath (7-76) helped them establish a first-innings lead of 138.

Ponting again (72) got the second-innings off to a good start but with time running out stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist decided to declare, preferring to push for another win rather than settle for a draw.

England had a final-day target of 315 to chase but, after losing two early wickets, it seemed unlikely.

It was then that Mark Butcher, who came close to being dropped after a late night out during the Nottingham Test, played the innings of his life.

Batting like he never had before, he cracked a remarkable 173 not out to lead England home by six wickets.

Michael Kasprowicz

Michael Kasprowicz gloves Steve Harmison down the leg side to seal England's remarkable two-run win

Second Test, Edgbaston, 2005

England had a new confidence that not even defeat in the first Test could quell.

They responded magnificently at Edgbaston to win one of the most nerve-wracking Tests in history.

The drama started before the game as England's nemesis Glenn McGrath trod on a loose ball during the warm-up and ended up on crutches.

England posted 407 after being put in to bat, enough for a first-innings lead of 99.

Shane Warne took six second-innings wickets, but Andrew Flintoff's explosive 73 looked to have put the game beyond Australia.

The game looked over as Australia resumed on 175 for eight on the fourth morning, still needing 107 to win - but Warne, Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz produced an extraordinary display of defiance to take the tourists to within sight of the winning line.

Yet it was England who snatched a two-run victory when Geraint Jones clung on to a gloved chance off Kasprowicz down the leg side off Steve Harmison.

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