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Ashes countdown: Binger's fury, Slats' perfect kiss and Warnie's hat-trick feature in part 2 of our 40 greatest moments

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4th December, 2021
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With the Ashes starting on Wednesday, The Roar is counting down the top 40 Ashes moments from the past 40 years.

On Friday we looked at moments 40-31 and on Saturday our writers Tony Harper, Rob Smith and Benjamin Conkey chose their moments from 30-21.

30. Michael Slater’s 1993 century

Few Ashes images burn as bright as the moment Slats scored his maiden century at Lord’s. Then 23 and so far unaffected by arthritis and depression issues that would later dog him, his face was flush with unrestrained joy.

Slater pulled off his helmet and kissed the Australia badge. It was a massive goosebump moment and one which others imitated.

“After that it became my thing – the emotion I always played with,” he said. “I’m glad I did it. If I started a trend it is a good one.”

Michael Clarke had a poster of the kiss on his wall as a child, and when he got a Test century of his own he gave his cap a kiss as well.

Michael Slater

(Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

“People have said, “Were you always going to do that if you got 100?” And it was ‘no’. It was very instinctual,” Slater said. “It was the only way I could express what it meant to me at the time. I got badly drunk that night with Boonie, and he helped me through the night.”

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Slater’s 152 came in his third innings and was the first of his 14 Test centuries.

29. Warner, Bancroft break Test record at the Gabba, 2017

Warner and Bancroft claimed an 87-year-old Test record with the highest unbeaten opening partnership of 173 to guide Australia to a crushing 10-wicket win in the first Test at the Gabba.

Bancroft, on his Test debut, hit the winning runs to finish 82 not out, while belligerent Warner remained unbeaten on 87. When Warner moved to 63 on the final morning, a poignant number on the third anniversary of the death of Australia Test batsman Phillip Hughes, he paused to look skywards in reflection.

He and his teammates wore black armbands in commemoration. “It’s an absolute dream to be able to play Test cricket for Australia. To go through all the moments and experiences of the game has been fantastic,” Bancroft said.

The Brisbane Test had been even-stevens for the first three and a half days, before England collapsed losing 5-40 to be all out for 195 and leaving the Australians a target of just 170 to go 1-0 up in the series. Skipper Steve Smith played one of his greatest Test knocks with an unbeaten 141 in the first innings and was named man of the match.

“My hundred has got to be up there with one of my best, purely from the position we were in and that it’s an Ashes series. I had to work really hard for it, dig deep and get ourselves out of that situation, so I’m really pleased with it,” Smith said.

28. Jimmy Anderson’s 10 wickets at Trent Bridge

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“Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson…” The Barmy Army bellowed as James Anderson bowled England to a come-from-behind 14-run victory at the Trent Bridge series opener. Anderson claimed 10 match wickets for 158 with five-fors in both innings.

What made his bowling all the more remarkable was a gruelling spell of 13 overs on the final morning as he bamboozled the Aussies with his beguiling swing bowling. Australia led by 65 runs on the first innings and a last-wicket stand of 65 between Brad Haddin and James Pattinson took the fluctuating Test into the afternoon session before Anderson took the last four wickets to fall.

“It has been draining emotionally and physically,” Anderson said after the psychologically-important victory.

“The match had the nerves going but I love bowling here and I’m happy to pick up some wickets again. The hard work in the gym is for bowling the long spells in matches like these.” Ian Bell’s gritty 109 in the second innings – one of three centuries in the series – also played a major role in England’s fightback.

Ashton Agar fell just two runs short of a remarkable century on his Test debut, the most runs in a Test innings by a number 11 batsman and by a number 11 on debut.

27. Steve Smith’s maiden Test double century 2015

Steve Smith’s 215 was the first double hundred scored by an Australian at Lord’s since 1938 as Australia walloped England by 405 runs after a Smith-buttressed first innings of 8-566 declared.

He went into the second Test taunted as being a disaster waiting to happen at No.3 by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann before he dispatched the England bowlers to all parts of the ground in his 346-ball epic, laced with 25 boundaries and a six.

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It swelled Smith’s career average to 58.53, the best of any Australian batsman to have played more than 30 innings for the country since Sir Donald Bradman. “I haven’t had a great run at Lord’s with the bat in my first couple of games I’ve played here,” Smith said. “It was something I really wanted to rectify.”

Smith went after Joe Root’s part-time off-spin, which he lofted into the pavilion, and finally perished trying to reverse sweep. England were routed for 103 in the fourth innings with Mitchell Johnson the chief destroyer taking 3-27 off 10 overs.

Steve Smith celebrates a century

Steven Smith celebrates another century. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

26. Geoff Boycott’s 100th century

Controversial, bloody-minded and fiercely English. Those of the younger generation who have only been exposed to Geoff Boycott the commentator have had but a glimpse of the features that made him such a resilient foe. When he strode out at Trent Bridge for the third Test of the 1977 series, Boycott was returning from four years and 30 Tests of self-imposed exile.

Early in his innings Boycott ran out Nottingham’s favoured son Derek Randall for 13.

“I felt like I was going to be lynched but all they did was sit in silence,” recalled Boycott. Never exactly a dasher, Boycott retreated to his shell and barely played a shot, expect in defence. He ground out a century, though, and with 80 in the second innings became one of the rare men to have batted on every day of a Test.

That was all Boycott needed to get his eye back in, determination and patience never being an issue for him. At Headingley he became the first player to score a 100th first class hundred while playing in a Test and his emotional 191 sealed England’s series victory. Did the celebrations go overboard? Boycott, then in his late 30s, had his first ever glass of champagne. “And that’s all it was – a glass.”

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25. Brett Lee’s fury in 2002

Fired up by the relentless taunts of the Barmy Army, Brett Lee unleashed a chilling spell at the MCG which still ranks among his most hostile.

Coming a Test after Lee smeared young English bowler Alex Tudor’s blood over the WACA pitch with a brutal bouncer, his stunning spell was sparked by calls of “no ball!” from the England fans. Lee’s delivery style had been questioned but the International Cricket Council cleared him two years earlier.

Australia were 3-0 heading into the fourth Test in Melbourne and Justin Langer’s 250 helped them to 6-551 just before tea on day two. The Barmy Army, lubricated by the local beer and summer heat, got stuck into Lee from the start and his response was furious, removing Marcus Trescothick with a sharp bouncer and giving Nasser Hussain a torrid time as he increased in pace and intensity the more he was taunted.

The Australians were angered by the chanting. “I thought they were a disgrace – there’s no better sight on a cricket field than Brett Lee or any fast bowler running in like that, it’s a magnificent sight and if it did help fire Brett up then all the better for us,” said Langer. “These people stand behind a fence drinking beer with most of them 50 kilos over weight making ridiculous comments.”

24. Darren Gough’s hat-trick 1998-99

Darren Gough’s explosive cameo late on the first day of the fifth Test lived right up to his nickname of “Dazzler”. With Australia cruising at 5-319 following a century from Mark Waugh and 96 from Steve Waugh, Dean Headley started the slide by removing Mark.

Then Gough, a combative Yorkshireman, took over. First he had Ian Healy edging through to ‘keeper Warren Hegg. Then a blistering yorker bowled Stuart MacGill middle stump.

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“I’ve been on a hat-trick a few times in Test cricket,” said Gough later. “This time I was more relaxed.”

Roared on by a Barmy Army suitably refreshed nourished by a long day of drinking under a hot sun, Gough rumbled in and sent down another yorker. It swung away from Colin Miller’s blade and crashed into off stump.

“I just bowl it down the other end and if I don’t know which way it’s going to swing, I don’t think the batsman will,” Gough said.. “The ball to Miller ended up being probably the best I’ve bowled all series.”

Gough had become the only Englishman to register an Ashes hat-trick in the 20th century – the previous one having been bowled by Jack Hearne at Headingley 100 years before in 1899.

23. Shane Warne’s hat-trick 1994

For a keg on legs, David Boon could roll pretty fast if it meant getting a head start on the celebration beers. He moved like a man possessed by a demonic thirst in the dying stages of the Boxing Day Test, to deliver Shane Warne the first Ashes hat-trick since Hugh Trumble’s second in Melbourne in 1904.

Warne was wicketless for the innings as England, battling to save the Test, slumped to 6-91. With the fourth ball of his 13th over, Warne had Phil Phil DeFreitas lbw. Darren Gough edged the next through to Ian Healy, bringing bunny Devon Malcom trudging to the crease.

“The final wicket was typical Shane Warne,” said captain Mark Taylor. “As Devon came out to bat and Warney was on a hat-trick, he talked to the team about bowling a flipper or big leg spinner. After leaving the team huddle he obviously changed his mind and went for the top-spinner. He landed it perfectly, caught the gloves of Malcolm and it deflected to the leg side where David Boon took a superb one-handed diving catch.”

“It was the quickest I’ve ever run to get down to Boony,” Warne said. “I think I stuck my tongue in his ear.” Craig McDermott wrapped up the innings for 92 soon after and, to Boon’s delight, it was beer o’clock.

22. Andrew Flintoff’s maiden Ashes century 2005

Shouldering the weight of a muted start to the series and incessant comparison’s to Ian Botham, the hero of 1981, Andrew Flintoff stood up in decisive fashion at Trent Bridge. His stupendous 102 and long partnership with Geraint Jones (85) took England from a weak position to 477.

In the process, Flintoff moved his batting average higher than his bowling average for the first time – the acknowledged standard for a true allrounder.

It was a more subdued innings than usual, due to the importance of the Test and the state of the game. He paced himself with measured brutality and it was out of character in that he struck just one six – off Shane warne to post his half century.

He smashed Shaun Tait for three boundaries in four balls after he took the second new ball, and, along with Jones, scored 14 runs off a Michael Kasprowicz over as the Test spiralled out of Australia’s control.

Although Australia was forced to follow-on, England scraped home by just seven wickets. It was enough to give them their Ashes triumph.

21. Stuart Broad’s 8-15 in 2015

Stuart Broad ripped through Australia taking career-best 8-15 as the tourists were razed for a miserable 60 before lunch on the opening day at Trent Bridge as England steamed on to take the series with a Test to play.

Along the way Broad passed 300 Test wickets and equalled the fastest Test five-wicket haul – 19 deliveries – as the tourists were dismissed in 111 balls. It was the shortest first innings in Test history. It was Australia’s joint seventh lowest total in Tests, and their second lowest since 1936. Broad’s dazzling spell on his home ground came in the absence of the injured James Anderson.

“It was an amazing feeling, especially being at Trent Bridge, somewhere where I have got such great connections,” Broad said. “It was the first time I ever bowled the first ball of the Test match, the first time I ever had to set the tone. It was nice to get the 300th Test wicket early.”

The television images of him with hands over his mouth after wickets seven and eight suggest a sense of disbelief at what he had achieved. England capitalised on Australia’s meek effort amassing 9-391 declared with Joe Root hitting 130 on the way to winning by an innings and 78 runs to clinch the series in the fourth Test.

Tomorrow we count down 10-1. What are your favourite Ashes memories and what’s your tip for number one?

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