Fate of "Ashes" Changed by a Player Who Never Played International Cricket


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The "Ashes" is the series that signifies the oldest rivalry in the world of Cricket between England and Australia. Filled with sporting brilliance, drama, and much more, the Ashes remains one of the most awaited encounters in the sport. 

One of the most significant and controversial moments of that famous series was during the 4th Test at Trent Bridge in the 2005 Ashes Series.  

The Australian captain Ricky Ponting got run out at a crucial moment in the match. In a moment that symbolizes the drama surrounding the Ashes, Ponting was infuriated after the run-out, not with his batting partner but the England team. 

This is the story of one of the most famous and controversial run-outs in the history of Cricket, by a player who never played international Cricket. 

Background

Perhaps, the Ashes’ most famous rendition came about in 2005, as Australia went to the English shores to retain the Ashes once again after years of dominance over their British counterpart. However, England was driven by a sense of purpose to win the series at any cost.
The battle wasn’t fought only on the field, but off it as well. 

One of the contention points was England’s policy of frequently using substitute fielders to give their bowlers a rest. Australia claimed that not only those rests were unwarranted, but their substitutes were specialist fieldsmen. This would give England an unfair advantage.
After three hard-fought Test matches (2nd Test at Edgbaston was an absolute thriller), the series hung in the balance at 1-1 with two Test matches still to come. 

In the 4th Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, after being dismissed for 218 in their 1st innings, Australia still trailed by 259 runs and was asked to follow-on by England. Notably, this was the first time in 17 years that Australia was asked to follow-on in a Test match.

However, despite being so far behind in the game, no one count this Australian team out. After all, this Australian team was one of the most dominant teams the game had ever seen. If any team could prevail from this situation, this Australian team was it.

The Run Out

Australia had scored 155 for the loss of 2 wickets in its 2nd innings. The Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, had scored a solid 48 runs, and along with Damien Martyn, looked all set to save this Test match. 

It was the first ball of the 44th over. Andrew Flintoff, the bowler. Damien Martyn, the batsman. Martyn played a forward defensive shot. Ponting tries to steal a quick single. The fielder runs in, picks up the ball and shoots a direct throw at the stumps, with Ponting still short of the crease. 

The fielder was Gary Pratt, the 12th man who had come in for England fast bowler, Simon Jones. 

Gary Pratt was a decent left-handed batsman who, at the time, played for the county side Durham. But he was known more for his fielding abilities than his batting. He was never a part of that Ashes squad and never played for England. 

Yet, in a moment of sheer brilliance, Pratt changed the course of the English Cricket with a crucial run out of one of the best batsmen the game has ever seen. 

Aftermath

Ricky Ponting was livid after this run-out. He believed that this run out was a result of underhand tactics by the England team to use specialist substitute fielders while giving rest to their bowlers. 

Australia was bowled out for 387, giving a target of 129 runs to England. England went on to win the Test by three wickets and the series 2-1 (5th Test was drawn). 

This series holds a special place in the hearts of Cricket fans, due to the sheer competitiveness, brilliance, and drama on display. 

After all, David had finally defeated Goliath. But not without the help of someone named Gary Pratt.


Written By - Snehil Kesarwani

Edited By - N. Nargis Fathima

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