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Jones recalls Australia tie

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When cricket lovers are asked to describe the iconic moments of the summer of 2005, most of the answers given come from the historic Ashes series: Andrew Flintoff consoling Brett Lee at Edgbaston, Steve Harmison's slower ball that castled Michael Clarke in that same game, Andrew Strauss' catch to dismiss Adam Gilchrist. I could go on all day.

It was, for many of the sport's fans, the pinnacle; an illustration of everything that is good about cricket: highly-competitive action on the field, good-spirited friendships between the two sets of players off it.

The greatest Test series of all-time? Quite possibly, that much I think most people will remember.

Yet it is perhaps a mark of its quality that few seem to recall the five-day contests were merely the final act of a theatrical spectacle fit for a West End production.

Geraint Jones & Paul Collingwood

Speaking about his and Paul Collingwood's stand in the 2005 NatWest Series, Geraint Jones said: “That is exactly the sort of situation I love and thrive on."

The summer began with England thumping the old enemy in the first-ever Twenty20 international between the sides and ended with Kevin Pietersen's majestic 158 at The Oval.

Yet, in between and excluding the Ashes, there were some moments that also belong in cricketing folklore: Pietersen's 91 at Bristol, Bangladesh's victory over Australia, Paul Collingwood's incredible catch to get rid of Matthew Hayden. Again, I could go on all day.

Few, however, encapsulated the competitive nature of the summer quite like the NatWest Series final at Lord's.

Having initially struggled in the rubber, Australia had finally found top gear while England were playing some of their best ODI cricket.

Geraint Jones, who claimed the man-of-the-match award at the home of cricket that day, chatted to to take up the story.

“We won the toss and I ended up taking five catches in the innings, so I was obviously very involved in the game a lot behind the stumps,” he said.

“The ball kept coming in my direction and it also set the tone a bit for the way our bowlers were going to bowl during the Test series.

“It was good for Freddie (Flintoff) and Harmy (Harmison) to take three wickets each and have a good go at them.

“We were taking those wickets and bowled them out for 196 and obviously fancied our chances of chasing that target down.

“It was a good pitch and to keep the Aussies to under 200 was a great effort by the bowlers.”

Confidence quickly turned to despair for England in their innings as the new-ball pairing of Glenn McGrath and Lee ran through the top-order.

Indeed, when Jones arrived at the crease to join Collingwood, the hosts were in huge trouble at 33 for five - only for the duo to combine in a brilliant 116-run partnership.

Geraint Jones

"The biggest shame was that I got out before the end. If I had stayed in until the finish, we would have won," added Jones to

That put England back in command yet Collingwood was then run out following a mix-up with just 48 needed from 40 deliveries.

Jones followed for an outstanding 71 soon after, and it all came down to the final delivery, from which Ashley Giles needed to collect three runs for the win.

McGrath bowled, rapped the batsman on the pad and - with the echo of the bowler’s loud, unsuccessful leg-before appeal ringing through their ears - Giles and Harmison scampered two leg byes.

The camera flicked to the balcony, where leading the cheers for the 21st tie in ODI history was Jones.

“The pitch seemed to change when we went out to bat,” Jones joked. “They pretty much steamed through the top order and it was left to myself and Colly.

“That is exactly the sort of situation I love and thrive on, though - the backs-to-the-wall stuff. To go to the middle in that situation helped me in a way.

“It focusses you even more and also is a bit of a no-lose situation because you can go out there and bat; the pressure is on but off in a way as well.

“I just went out there and played my shots. Colly and I just edged up closer and closer; the biggest shame was that I got out before the end. If I had stayed in until the finish, we would have definitely won.

“The Collingwood run out was also very unfortunate because we had done all of the hard work, but it was just yet another twist in the game.

“There was a little bit of a sense that we should have won it but we were also happy to be in the situation we were.

“But it just added to the flavour of the summer and was an unbelievable end to the game, which was much like the others over the rest of that summer.”

Twists and turns epitomised the summer of ‘05, which will certainly always be remembered by those who watched on, even if they do not recall every single amazing aspect.

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