The first Ashes Test has built to a dramatic crescendo, after four days in which neither team has been able to put the match to bed.
Heading into the final session, Australia needed 98 runs, with Usman Khawaja again the man a nation is pinned its hopes to – and Ollie Robinson is still trying to rile him up.
Rain wiped out the morning session, but the skies have cleared and a result is very much in play.
Follow it all with our live coverage below.
4.18AM: 5 OVERS REMAIN, FOUR RUNS TO WIN
Stuart Broad to Nathan Lyon – England’s talismanic paceman, and one of Australia ‘three No.11s’, as said by Ollie Robinson after Australia’s first innings.
Surely this is England’s best chance?
No, Lyon safely defends two bouncers and manages to eke out a single from the second. He comes perilously close to treading on his stumps, Shane Warne style from Edgbaston ’05 – but luck is on Australia’s side this time.
Cummins gets a single off the final ball, to keep the strike, and put Australia within three runs of victory.
4.13AM: 6 OVERS REMAIN, FIVE RUNS TO WIN
Ollie Robinson goes bouncer, bouncer, bouncer – yorker.
And somehow Cummins digs the yorker out. It seemed destined for the base of middle stump.
But is a maiden for Robinson, and the tension builds. All four results still in play here.
4.08AM: 7 OVERS REMAIN, FIVE RUNS TO WIN
Stuart Broad charges in, beats the bat, but can’t find the edge.
When he strays onto the stumps in search of an LBW, Pat Cummins works him down to fine leg for a single.
And then Nathan Lyon goes BANG – lofting Broad over mid-on with a ridiculous on-drive for four.
Two more singles trim the lead to just five, and you can hear a pin-drop at Edgbaston.
4AM: 8 OVERS REMAIN, 12 RUNS TO GO
Chip, chip, chip away.
Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have silenced the Edgbaston crowd – a stadium full of people with fingernails chewed to the bone.
They’re creeping towards the victory target with edges, leg byes and quick singles.
But they’re just 12 away from what would be the most famous victory for this group of champions that have won so much.
3.50AM: 10 OVERS REMAIN, 16 RUNS TO GO
A look in the Australian dressing room shows a mixture of nervous laughter, nervous pacing, and the most nervous man in all of England: Josh Hazlewood.
Australia’s victory target is down to 16 runs.
Pat Cummins has just hit a fine cover drive which is seemingly reeled in on the boundary by Zak Crawley – but in dragging it back from the boundary, he inadvertently kicks it into the rope for four.
“Little things in Ashes series can become big things really quickly,” says Ricky Ponting.
3.40AM: 12 OVERS REMAIN, 27 RUNS TO GO
To say it is tense would be a gross understatement.
With 10 overs left in the first Test, all four possible results (incredibly, including a tie) are on the table.
Australia require 27 runs, while England need two wickets and have just taken the new ball.
Pat Cummins is playing a supreme captain’s knock to keep the contest alive as Australia seeks to exorcise their 2005 Edgbaston demons.
Nathan Lyon, too, has some demons of his own to deal with – in the 2019 Ashes, it was he who bobbled the run-out chance during England’s all-time classic chase at Headingley, when Ben Stokes pulled off a miracle.
Is today a day for another miracle?
3.35AM: DROPPED! STOKES SPILLS SCREAMER
Ben Stokes nearly takes a SCREAMER off a Nathan Lyon hook shot.
It sails in his direction, after a sharp Broad bouncer, and the England skipper leaps high and throws out his right hand.
It looks to stick, but as he comes back to ground it bobbles out of his grasp.
What a huge moment.
Pat Cummins follows it up with a delightful cut shut, and the lead is cut to 30.
3.30AM: CUMMINS TAKES 14 OFF ROOT OVER
There’s 14 overs to go, and Joe Root has just leaked 14 runs to Pat Cummins, who thumps two sixes down the ground.
The Australian captain is trying to single-handedly drag his nation across the line.
And as the runs dwindle down, and the wickets tumble, the similarities with Australia’s agonising 2-run defeat to England at this ground in the 2005 Ashes become ever more stark.
I’ll let the great Robert Craddock and Ben Horne describe what happened on that occasion.
“There are eerie similarities to the final day four of the second Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005, when Australia needed 107 runs with two wickets in hand,” the pair wrote after yesterday’s nailbiting action.
“The game seemed gone on the last morning when Shane Warne was out hit wicket to Andrew Flintoff, treading on his stumps for 42, leaving last pair Brett Lee and Kasprowicz 62 runs from victory.
“Playing a type of Bazball before the term had even been thought of, the fearless duo almost shocked the cricket world before falling an agonising two runs short when Harmison claimed Kasprowicz in the most controversial fashion.”
Australia has whittled the lead down to 37 and England have the new ball on offer. The new ball can mean wickets – and England only need two. But it can also mean runs.
3.15AM: WICKET! ROOT DRIVES DAGGER THROUGH AUSSIE HEARTS
A huge wicket for England! That feels like the hammer blow for Australia.
With 54 runs required, Alex Carey fires back a sharp return catch to Joe Root – and the former skipper, who has dropped a couple of tough chances in recent overs – holds onto a screamer.
Carey goes for 20, and the end is nigh for Australia. Nathan Lyon joins Pat Cummins in the middle.
The new ball is also available – and was knocked back in favour of giving Root another over. It paid off enormously.
3.05AM: AUSSIES TRIM LEAD TO 63
It is clear Australia have shifted gears in the past few overs.
The runs haven’t flowed, but the intent is there. Both Carey and Cummins are taking more risks with their strokeplay.
And the finish line is not quite in sight – but one partnership will make all the difference.
It’s not hard to let your mind wander to the final partnerships of England’s innings, where Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson chipped in with crucial runs.
Crucial runs, as AAP’s Scott Bailey points out, which are currently the difference in the match.
2.55AM: CAREY SURVIVES TRIPLE CHANCE
Alex Carey is riding his luck.
Has he borrowed Marnus Labuschagne’s lucky bat?
Another key moment in the game, with England reviewing an LBW chance as they try to dislodge the Australian keeper.
Jonny Bairstow is adamant it is pad first. And he’s right.
But ball-tracker shows the ball juuuust sliding down the legside, and Carey survives as England burn a review.
Two balls later, Carey fires back a blistering caught-and-bowled chance to Root, who takes evasive action and fends the ball clear. It’s a chance, though.
And soon after Carey so nearly becomes the third Australian this innings to chop on. But the luck is with him.
2.45AM: WICKET! AUSSIE HOPES IN TATTERS, KHAWAJA FALLS
Is that the game? Ben Stokes with the killer blow, as Usman Khawaja chops on with Australia needing 72 runs for victory.
Sensing something needed to happen, Stokes brought himself into the attack and within two overs he had the wicket England craved so deeply.
Khawaja departs for 65, and there’s no R-rated send-off required this time. But the roar of the crowd is perhaps even more jarring than a wild-eyed Ollie Robinson for Khawaja.
He’s given everything this Test, top-scoring both innings and spending an eternity in the middle.
Pat Cummins joins Alex Carey in the middle, and they have an enormous task ahead of them – while England need just three more wickets to claim the first Test and strike an enormous mental blow.
2.30AM: CAREY CHANGES MOMENTUM
Alex Carey has pushed the tempo considerably since arriving at the crease.
Cameron Green played a crucial, stoic knock, but he was definitely on the defensive side – while Carey is upping the ante, perhaps with the knowledge that the second new ball is around the corner.
England are clearly nursing Stuart Broad through this section, protecting him so he can be unleashed with the new ball.
And, with that, Ben Stokes brings himself into the attack for the first time this innings.
“He’s made for big moments, Ben Stokes,” says Kumar Sangakkara.
2.10AM: WICKET! GREEN CHOPS ON IN HUGE BLOW
As it has been throughout the Test, just as one team starts to get on top, the cricket Gods intervene.
And it’s the first Test villain, Ollie Robinson, who makes the massive breakthrough – getting Cameron Green to chop on early in the final session.
Australia need 89 runs, and this is the final partnership of recognised batsmen: Alex Carey joining the well-set Khawaja (59 not out).
Just like that, the crowd is a factor again.
2.05AM: ROOT TURNS TO CROWD FOR LIFT
England are up to their old tricks again – trying to get the ball changed, as it’s stopped doing anything.
Joe Root starts his over by revving up the crowd. They’ve gone very quiet in the Hollies Stand and he wants to bring them back into the contest…. And of course they oblige.
With 34 overs remaining, Australia have trimmed the lead to 89. They’d love to get it down to below 50, without losing a wicket, before the second new ball arrives.
1.50AM: STRAP YOURSELVES IN
I hope you’ve made a tea, or coffee, or something stronger. Because it’s time to strap yourself in for the final 38 overs of this utterly gripping contest.
With 98 runs remaining, Australia can score at roughly 2.5 runs an over to get the job done.
But the closer it gets, the more nerves will set in.
The second new ball is due in 21 overs, which typically brings with it more for the seam-bowlers. England will want Stuart Broad with the new rock in his hand, but how many overs can he contribute before that?
Here we go. The final session begins.
TEA BREAK: FIRST TEST ON THE LINE IN DO-OR-DIE SESSION
Another session, another couple of hours of heart-in-mouth moments.
Whenever it feels like one team is getting on top, a wicket falls, or a 40-run partnership pops up.
As it stands, Australia have done well to limit the damage – losing two wickets, including that of nightwatchman Scott Boland, in the session.
It was the same old faces dominating again. For Australia, Usman Khawaja has been a giant, raising the bat for another half-century to add to his first innings ton.
For England, Stuart Broad has been an ever-present threat.
Scoring has been slow, but the lead has been trimmed by 76 – leaving 98 remaining in the final session of the first Test.
It will be a big one, though. There are 38 overs remaining in the day, and a reminder that it would not be unusual for play to be pushed out past 7pm (5am AEST) local time if required, and if light allows.
1.25AM: AUSSIES KNOCK OFF ANOTHER KEY MARKER
Australia has just nudged the remaining runs below 100. With a Khawaja single, the target is down to double figures: 99 runs required for victory.
Khawaja and Green have added 39 runs since Travis Head’s costly dismissal – but their job is not even half done.
This pair needs to take Australia deep into the early evening.
I reckon if you looked at WinViz right now, it would be an even split for Australia and England – maybe with a couple of per cent thrown in for the draw, although that’s looking less likely as the clouds clear.
From CODE’s Dan Cherny: “I can’t remember too many more nip and tuck Test matches than this one. England was probably well on top when they had Australia 3-67 in the first innings but otherwise it’s see-sawed without either side ever being in a dominant spot.”
1.15AM: KHAWAJA CHALKS UP ANOTHER 50
Australia’s hopes seem to rest with Usman Khawaja, and he’s putting together another fine innings.
He brings up 50, and there’s barely a reaction – and certainly no celebration.
Cameron Green walks down to punch gloves with his senior partner before they resume Australia’s runchase.
Australia need 108 runs for victory.
Cast your mind back four years to the absolute shambles Australia endured at the top of the order. It will make you appreciate the work of Khawaja over the past days even more.
12.50AM: KHAWAJA V ROBINSON ROUND 2
The biggest flashpoint of this Test was the ugly fallout from Usman Khawaja’s first-innings dismissal, when he was given an X-rated send-off by England’s Ollie Robinson.
“F**k off you f**king pr**k,” was Robinson’s not-so-friendly refrain after bowling Khawaja for 141.
And the two come together again during a drinks break during the middle session of Australia’s tense runchase at Edgbaston.
As the Australians went to get their water bottles, Robinson followed him with some pointed advice.
Khawaja could be heard on stump mic saying “that’s why you’re not a batsman”.
After exchanging words that “didn’t look all that friendly”, Robinson was dragged away by experienced paceman Jimmy Anderson.
12.35AM: WICKET! MOEEN JAGS HUGE HEAD WICKET
That’s a killer blow for Australia – as Travis Head departs for just 16.
And it’s another captaincy masterstroke from Ben Stokes, who brings Moeen Ali into the attack.
His first over was expensive, leaking 10 runs in his first three deliveries, but with the fifth delivery he has Head edging to Joe Root at first slip.
It was unclear what role Moeen would play, or how many overs he could bowl, today – but he’s already landed a devastating punch on the Australians.
Five wickets remain for England, while Australia are 138 runs from victory.
12.25AM: KHAWAJA HERE FOR A LONG TIME… AND A GOOD TIME?
Usman Khawaja has made it clear what his approach is going to be. He wants to make sure he is there deep into Australia’s innings.
He will be the rock they build around and he won’t jeopardise that with any unnecessary risks, and that means the runs have dried up – for now.
Per Dan Cherny, Khawaja has faced the most balls by an Aussie in an Ashes Test since Langer in Melbourne 2002.
He’s also become just the 13th player in history to bat on every single day of a five-day Test. That’s rather elite company.
Meanwhile, Australia need another 148 for victory.
12.15AM: REBORN HEROES HOLD AUSTRALIA’S HOPES
By Ben Horne
Usman Khawaja and Travis Head.
This is the partnership that will make or break the nerve-wracking first Test for Australia.
Eighteen months ago, the two left-handers were vying with each other for one vacancy in the Australian side for the last home Ashes on Australian soil.
Now they must combine and join forces if Australia is to pull off one of the great day five triumphs in Ashes history.
England nemesis Stuart Broad is once again stalking Australia like the Ashes predator he is, and struck the first blow on day five after the covers lifted to get rid of nightwatchman Scott Boland.
But Australia’s fate largely rests on how deep Khawaja (38 not out) and Head (0 not out off 11) can take their partnership.
Australia requires 156 to win with six wickets remaining and the run chase is only going to get more intense as it goes on.
Khawaja’s run-scoring has been slow to start day five and Head has had an unusually constrained start to his innings.
Cameron Green and Alex Carey could also be key contributors, but you get the feeling Australia needs Khawaja and Head to at least cut the deficit down under 100.
11.50PM: WICKET! BROAD GETS THE BREAKTHROUGH
Now the fun and games begin. Stuart Broad has the breakthrough and he has his tail up.
Ben Stokes ramps up the pressure, bringing himself in under the lid and telegraphing a bit of short-pitch bowling.
But it’s just a good outswinger that undoes Scott Boland, who survives an extra 35 minutes this morning and departs for 20 after nicking off to become Broad’s third victim.
That’s a fine contribution, and brings Travis Head to the middle. This is the partnership that will define the match.
11.45PM: AUSSIES WEAR BARMY ARMY SLEDGE
There’s no denying it, this is a patient start from Australia.
England, through Anderson and Broad, are bowling a tight line and attacking the Australian duo with short-pitched stuff.
But Khawaja and Boland are resisting the urge to bite on the short-ball.
“Australia has left more balls in the first five overs today than Ben Duckett has in his entire Test career,” says Daniel Cherny.
The opening half-hour, with the cloud cover expected to disappear over the next hour, looms as the best period for bowling for England.
It hasn’t stopped the Barmy Army sticking the boot in, though.
11.30PM: NERVES TAKE OVER EDGBASTON
Even from 17,000km away, you can feel the tension at Edgbaston.
This game is so evenly poised, and the first half hour so crucial, that even the raucous crowd have lost their voice a touch.
The longer this partnership extends, the more frustrated England will become. They will be desperate to see the end of the nightwatchman, Scott Boland, if nothing else.
But the big Victorian is hanging in there beautifully so far – adding 24 runs with Khawaja since last night.
There’s been six runs added this morning, and just the one play and miss from Khawaja.
You could cut the tension with a knife.
11.15PM: WE ARE BACK!
It’s game on. There’s 67 overs to be played tonight.
Australia need 174 runs. England need seven wickets.
You know the deal. It’s Jimmy v Khawaja. Broad v Boland. England v Australia.
And the Hollies Stand is in full voice already. It smells like something special could happen today.
11.05PM: WHAT IS MARNUS UP TO?
Marnus Labuschagne has had a rough Test.
A golden duck in the first innings, and out cheaply in the second – both times to Stuart Broad – is something we’re not used to seeing from the world’s No.1 Test batsman.
He is famously cricket-obsessed and challenges Steve Smith for his appetite for long stints at the crease.
So perhaps that explains why, while his teammates were warming up and not out batsmen Usman Khawaja and Scott Boland were taking throwdowns, Labuschagne walked to the centre wicket.
It’s where he would’ve expected to spend much of his time this Test, and perhaps he just wanted to reacquaint himself with the pitch.
Or, as suggested by respected cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan, he is in mental rebuild mode given the short turnaround between the first and second Test?
The Aussies are warming up. Alex Carey and Scott Boland both getting throwdowns. – DANIEL CHERNY
10.30PM: PLAY RESTART TIME CONFIRMED
The umpires have done their thing, had an inspection of the ground, and their verdict is in.
Play is set to resume in 45 minutes at 11.15pm AEST (or 2.15pm local time).
What does that mean now? The players will make their way out to the middle and do some warm-ups on the ground as the groundstaff continue to mop up the excess water.
There’s a few particularly damp patches, mostly near the boundary rope, which deserve extra attention. But they’re confident they’ll get through that in the next 45 minutes.
We’ve lost some overs, but barring more rain there’ll be 67 overs of play left today.
And, what’s that we spot, blue skies? We dare to dream….
9.55PM: FRESH INSPECTION TIME
The umpires will inspect the pitch at 1.20pm local time (10.20pm AEST).
Should they be satisfied with the wicket, and the outfield, word will be sent back to the respective dressing rooms and they’ll start their warm-ups on the outfield.
Already players have started wandering over to the indoor nets to have a hit to warm up for the afternoon’s play.
Typically, after the successful inspection, it’s still another half an hour before play resumes – so we could be looking at a 2pm/11pm AEST restart.
9.35PM: CRICKET IS ON THE HORIZON
This is not a drill. The rain has stopped – and the 10.10pm (AEST) start time is looking like a very strong possibility.
“It looks like the covers are starting to come off!” says Dan Cherny.
“The rain has stopped and cricket is on the horizon.”
9.30PM: A LATE NIGHT LOOMS
So, with all the rain… how late can we finish?
In the home summer, we know that there are limits to how late play can go into the evening – not least of all because of light issues.
But in England, where sunset can go past 10pm during the height of summer, it can go much, much later.
Some words to live by from Dan Cherny below.
“Some potential advice for those back home wanting to know whether to stay up: they can play until it’s still light here so could be going until well past 7 local time (4am AEST),” he writes.
“Maybe grab a few hours sleep now while you can!”
Not me, though. No rest for the wicked.
And, because I know you’re mainly here for weather updates, here’s the latest from the ground. It might have stopped raining!
“Very mild movement at the station: the umpires are inspecting the ground,” Cherny adds.
9.00PM: THE STATE OF PLAY
We know the basic details: Australia needs 174 runs, England needs seven wickets.
But let’s dig a little deeper on how the final day should play out.
The loss of Marnus Labuschagne and, especially, Steve Smith late last night wildly swung the match back in England’s favour.
Australia would’ve been banking on at least one of the world’s top two-ranked batsmen to make a sizable contribution to this total – and their failures heap even more pressure on Usman Khawaja, who was enormous in the first innings and now has to back up and do it again.
Any runs that come from Scott Boland will be gold dust for the Aussies, because the closer he can get Australia to their victory target, the less damage needs to be done by the likes of Travis Head and Alex Carey – the last of the recognised batsmen still to come.
The situation seems tailormade for Head’s aggressive counterattacking style. A quickfire 60 could be a matchwinner in these conditions.
For England? They have proven champions throughout their attack, but don’t have access to a fully fit Moeen Ali, who is struggling with an injury to his spinning finger.
Fortunately for the hosts, the heavy overhead conditions are certain to suit the seamers. But without the steady contribution of a slow-bowler, fatigue will become a factor for England’s war-horse attack, unless Joe Root can contribute on that front.
But a part-time spinner also brings Australia’s runscoring into play.
In short: a fascinating finish to this Test looms. We just need the rain to go away.
8.35PM: EARLY LUNCH TO BE TAKEN DUE TO RAIN
With the rain continuing to fall in Birmingham, it’s been decided that players will take an early lunch – at 12.30pm (9.30pm AEST).
This means that the earliest possible start time today will be 1.10pm local time (or 10.10pm AEST).
All of this, however, is good news. The weather is forecast to clear up around lunchtime so this should mean there is minimal time wasted while the ground is prepared.
Can you imagine if they had the ground all ready to go, and then the players took lunch while the shone down on Edgbaston?
Don’t laugh. It happens all the time.
8.15PM: ASHES HEROES FACE ANXIOUS WEATHER WAIT
If you want the freshest of weather updates, you go to the source.
In this case, that’s CODE Sport’s Dan Cherny who is holed up in the media section of Edgbaston Stadium, patiently waiting for the cricket to get underway.
“There’s no sign of play anytime soon here at Edgbaston,” Cherny says.
“There is still some light, misty rain, and there is a heap of surface water on the outfield and on the covers.
“Groundstaff are sweeping waters off the covers while the supper sopper is working on the outfield.
“The stands are largely empty, and it’s still overcast.
“This is going to be a long couple of hours – at least – of waiting for potential play after lunch. Those spectators who are here have umbrellas and ponchos.”
7.45PM: LATEST WEATHER UPDATE
We are just 15 minutes from the scheduled start on Day Five, but I can tell you that will not be happening.
It is still raining, and the covers haven’t budged from the centre wicket as a result.
Outside the ground people are in good spirits, despite the grim forecast.
The good news: Edgbaston has famously good drainage, so once the rain does abate, we should be able to tidy things up fairly quickly and get some play underway.
And when will the rain stop? The suggestion is it could happen around lunchtime, so another 90 minutes or so and we’ll know a lot more.
“England just in front, with that wicket of Steve Smith last night, but one decent partnership and it will turn,” says Mark Taylor
7.15PM: KHAWAJA’S LEGACY-DEFINING SHOT AT ULTIMATE REDEMPTION
Thirty-six years young and in the form of his life, Usman Khawaja has the chance to add yet another page to what has been a legacy-defining chapter in his career.
Australia will resume play on day five at 3-107 chasing 284 to win, with Khawaja unbeaten on 34 opposite nightwatcher Scott Boland (13).
Granted a life in the first over of the chase when he edged Jimmy Anderson between wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and first slip Joe Root, Khawaja is now be tasked with laying the bedrock of Australia’s day five pursuit after the dismissals of David Warner (36), Marnus Labuschagne (13) and Steve Smith (6).
Khawaja was dropped mid-Ashes in 2019 and for two-and-a-half years that looked to be the end of his time wearing the baggy green.
Since his return to the Test arena he has been arguably the world’s best batter, leading the way for runs scored (1796), centuries made (seven, level with Joe Root) and with the second best average of any batter with more than 1000 runs in that period (69.07).
He’s made centuries across three continents and four countries in that time, putting to bed doubts over his ability to play the turning ball in Asia and the seaming, swinging ball in England.
Testament to that is an average of 42.05 away from home – bettered only by Smith and Cameron Green going into today’s play. – JACOB KURIYPE
6.45PM: WILL DAY FIVE BE A WASH-OUT?
The first Test will get the dramatic finish it deserves… or will it?
The fickle English weather has poked its nose into the drama and added an extra layer of intrigue, with showers blanketing Birmingham on the morning of day five.
It seems certain that we’ll be subjected to a delayed start to play, but how much of a factor will the weather be throughout the day – and who will it favour?
The forecast suggests that while the first session could be a wash-out, things look more promising after lunchtime – and with the ability to extend play deep into the evening, owing to the late sunsets of a British summer, there’s still a big chance of a lot of cricket being played.
But if the clouds continue to hover over Edgbaston, it could play into the hands of the English seamers, with the wicket offering little but the overhead conditions plenty this Test. The most damaging period of bowling came under leaden skies when Pat Cummins and Scott Boland unleashed 20 minutes of hell on Day Three, taking two wickets in just 22 balls.
THE DAY KASPROWICZ ‘SAVED TEST CRICKET’
By Robert Craddock and Ben Horne
Australia’s knife-edged Edgbaston run chase has taken fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz back to the day when, as the story goes, he single-handedly saved Test cricket.
It’s just a shame, as he often tells audiences when he is guest speaking, that the umpires didn’t know that single hand was not on the bat at the time when he gloved the final catch of the 2005 Edgbaston Test behind to keeper Geraint Jones off Steve Harmison.
Australia has a massive winning chance at Edgbaston tonight, needing 174 runs with its last seven wickets for what would be a crucial – and famous – victory in the first Test.
There are eerie similarities to the final day four of the second Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005, when Australia needed 107 runs with two wickets in hand.
The game seemed gone on the last morning when Shane Warne was out hit wicket to Andrew Flintoff, treading on his stumps for 42, leaving last pair Brett Lee and Kasprowicz 62 runs from victory.
Playing a type of Bazball before the term had even been thought of, the fearless duo almost shocked the cricket world before falling an agonising two runs short when Harmison claimed Kasprowicz in the most controversial fashion.
Had there been a DRS review Kasprowicz would have been given not out as his hand was off the bat when it was clipped by the ball.
“I think DRS was being trialled around that time but they didn’t use it in the series – that’s the way it goes,’’ said Kasprowicz.
“Someone from India wrote to me saying I single-handedly saved Test cricket because if Australia had won that Test we would have been 2-0 up and Test cricket would have been dead. But everything changed after that (and England won the series 2-1).
Kasprowicz smiles when recalling the fallout to the series.
“It was massive. There was a video made of the series. They sold 10,000 copies. It was called the greatest series ever, junior participation went up 20 per cent in both countries. They gave MBE’s to all of the English players including the bus driver.
“And what do you reckon happened to me, the man who was responsible for that big moment … I got dropped (for the next Test)!’’
Kasprowicz was speaking from Sydney where he was on business for his role as General Manager of Pooled, a smart pool company which helps pool owners cut costs on the energy and chemicals needed for their pool.
He can still recall the madness that swept Edgbaston when he was given out.
“I remember in the moment being shocked. I went down on my haunches and used the bat to balance myself and sort of take it in. No-one gave us a chance. When Shane Warne got out I walked to the wicket and said to Brett Lee ‘let’s just have some fun.’ It worked because they over-attacked.
“I remember the crowd were going nuts then Andrew Flintoff bowled a ball which hit the footmarks and went for four byes and it took the target down from 13 to nine and the crowd went silent. Almost like ‘holy s**, they are going to win here’.”
Asked if he had any advice for Australia’s tail tonight, Kasprowicz said: “Just enjoy it and remember they will be trying extra hard to get you out.
“When they were bowling to us (in 2005) they went nose and toes (full and short) and we just kept picking up runs and turning over the strike. That might happen again. It will be great to watch tonight.
“It’s struck me the secret ingredient of Bazball is having fun. Smiling. Enjoying it. I know it’s about backing yourself but it’s more than that.’’
Originally published as Ashes cricket 2023 live score: Australia v England day 5, first Test