The great Richie BenaudÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commentary captured the mood perfectly as Geraint Jones dived low to his left to catch Michael Kasprowicz off the bowling of Steve Harmison. Edgbaston erupted and moments later, as Andrew Flintoff stooped and offered his hand to the not out batsman Brett Lee, one of SportÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defining images was born.
England were 1-0 down after a comprehensive defeat at Lords and after a promising start to the Summer, in which the great Australian team appeared to have lost some of their invincibility, it was assumed that England would once again fold in the face of Warne, McGrath and co.
Then, on the morning of the second Test, McGrath trod on a stray cricket ball during a routine warm-up and despite being without his champion fast bowler, Ricky Ponting elected to bowl when the coin fell in his favour and the rest is history.
For the next few weeks the sporting stage was given over almost exclusively to cricket. Players barely known to the general public were suddenly household names and cricket truly permeated the popular conciseness for the first time in a generation.
The cricket itself also continued to astound. 20,000 were turned away on the last day at Old Trafford and by the time Kevin PietersenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s astonishing, counter-attacking century on the final day at the Oval ensured that the Ashes were coming home, things had reached fever pitch.
The players enjoyed an open top bus parade and the now infamous trip to Downing Street the following day but cricket never did become the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnew football.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Michael VaughanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team unravelled quickly though a combination of injury and form and were beaten 5-0 in Australia 18 months later.
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BIOGRAPHY: Jerome Boateng
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