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Cardiff 2009: England pull off great escape in thrilling Ashes opener | Cricket News

Watch a full rerun of the 2009 Cardiff Ashes Test from Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket with watchalong of closing stages on Sunday

Last Updated: 08/06/20 5:05pm

Michael Atherton interviews Monty Panesar and James Anderson after England's great escape in Cardiff

Michael Atherton interviews Monty Panesar and James Anderson after England’s great escape in Cardiff

Edgbaston 2005, Headingley 2019, last year’s World Cup final at Lord’s – we have been revisiting some thrilling England finishes on Sky Sports with coronavirus denying us any live cricket.

Our next stop is Cardiff 2009, when Monty Panesar and James Anderson combined in a dogged last-wicket stand that lasted over 11 overs to foil Australia and earn England a draw in that summer’s Ashes opener.

Ahead of the full rerun of that Test from 10am on Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket, including a watchalong of the closing stages on Sunday, we look at how Cardiff’s first-ever Test unfolded….

DAY ONE – England close on 336-7

Kevin Pietersen rebuilt England's first innings alongside Paul Collingwood

Kevin Pietersen rebuilt England’s first innings alongside Paul Collingwood

England, like they did in 2015, began the 2009 Ashes series looking to regain the urn on home soil having lost it in Australia following a 5-0 hammering. After winning the toss on a slow pitch, Sir Andrew Strauss opted to bat against an inexperienced Australia attack but the hosts slipped to 90-3 with Mitchell Johnson – England’s nemesis in the 2013-14 Ashes – accounting for the captain and Ravi Bopara.

The home side’s middle order rallied, with Kevin Pietersen (69) and Paul Collingwood (64) adding 138 and then, after they had fallen in quick succession, Matt Prior (56) and Andrew Flintoff (37) sharing a partnership of 86. Flintoff – amid his final Test series, something he would announce ahead of the next game at Lord’s – and Prior were both bowled by Peter Siddle late in the evening session as England’s day had a touch of the gloss wiped off, but it was pretty much honours even.

DAY TWO – Australia close on 249-1, trail by 186

It was very much advantage Australia come stumps the following day, though, with England managing just the one wicket – the late Phillip Hughes caught by Prior off Flintoff for a vibrant 36.

Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting walk off at the end of day two after hitting unbeaten centuries

Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting walk off at the end of day two after hitting unbeaten centuries

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting and team-mate Simon Katich came through early scares to reach 100 not out and 104 not out respectively – Ponting subjected to an lbw review first ball and Flintoff unable to cling on to a sharp return catch that would have removed Katich for 10.

Ponting moved past 11,000 Test runs during his century and ended the day far happier than he would have been in the morning session as England swelled their total to 435. Graeme Swann (47), Anderson (26) and Stuart Broad (19) all reached double figures as the hosts added 99 before being bowled out, with Swann smoking fellow spinner Nathan Hauritz for three consecutive boundaries in a belligerent display.

DAY THREE – Australia close on 479-5, lead by 45

Rain knocked off 22 overs on day three, preventing Australia from extending their lead even further. England had struck three times in the morning session with Anderson pinning Katich (122) lbw to end a 239-run alliance with Ponting and then forcing Mike Hussey (3) to drive behind, before Panesar bowled Ponting off an inside-edge for 150.

Ricky Ponting was bowled for 150 by Monty Panesar - but it was another day of toil for England

Ricky Ponting was bowled for 150 by Monty Panesar – but it was another day of toil for England

Australia were four down at lunch and still 87 behind but England only picked up one more wicket – that of Michael Clarke late on for 83 when he edged Broad behind on the pull – with Clarke and Marcus North sharing a stand of 143 for the fifth wicket. Clarke’s dismissal came amid six overs under the lights in Cardiff after the rain had fallen earlier in the final session and caused a long delay, but it was England under the pump at stumps.

DAY FOUR – England 20-2, trail by 219

England would have been grateful for more rain on day four with the final session entirely wiped out after they had sunk to 20-2 – Cook and Bopara ousted lbw for single figures by Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus respectively.

Alastair Cook trudges off after being dismissed by Mitchell Johnson on day four

Alastair Cook trudges off after being dismissed by Mitchell Johnson on day four

North (125no) and Brad Haddin (121) had made three-figures scores in their first Ashes knocks, putting on a mammoth 200 for the sixth wicket before Haddin holed out off Collingwood and Ponting declared on 674-6, Australia’s highest total against England since 1934 and their sixth-highest total ever against any opposition.

England had failed to pick up wickets under leaden skies but Australia managed it in the 20-minute period before tea and although a downpour afterwards denied the Baggy Greens the chance to inflict more damage, England were still staring down the barrel with day five in Cardiff set fair.

DAY FIVE – England close on 252-9, match drawn

Fair it stayed but Australia could not make the most of it with no doubt many England fans humming The Great Escape theme tune as Panesar and Anderson, and let’s not forget, Collingwood, played spoiler.

Paul Collingwood's obdurate knock helped England earn a draw

Paul Collingwood’s obdurate knock helped England earn a draw

England’s perilous position of 20-2 soon became a disastrous 70-5 as Pietersen was castled by Hilfenhaus, and Strauss and Prior were caught off Hauritz playing ugly shots. Collingwood (74 of 245), though, lived up to his Brigadier Block moniker and alongside Flintoff (26), Broad (14) and Swann (31) took time from the game – Collingwood’s eighth-wicket stand with Swann worth 62, during which time Swann required attention from the physio after being peppered by some ferocious deliveries from Siddle.

When Collingwood fell to a parried catch from Hussey after looking to work Siddle through point, England were nine down and six runs behind with 50 minutes to play, but Anderson (21no off 53) and Panesar (7no off 35) saw off the next 69 balls pretty calmly as England, skipper Strauss in particular, went through a gamut of emotions on the balcony.

The England balcony claps during an absorbing end to day five in Cardiff

The England balcony claps during an absorbing end to day five in Cardiff

When England took the lead through an Anderson boundary two overs and 10 minutes had been lost and they only needed to bat until 6.40pm, not the official cut off time of 6.50pm. They did just that, salvaging an unlikely draw in a series they would go on to win 2-1 after triumphing by 197 runs in the final Test at The Kia Oval. That Cardiff escape act proving crucial.

Watch the 2009 Ashes Test in Cardiff in full from 10am on Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket and then join us for the watchalong on Sunday.

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