Ben Stokes made a brilliant 135* at Leeds in the third Test to help England level the Ashes 1-1. His jubilation post the win showed how much a win in Ashes matters.
Ashes is one of the biggest and most rivetting cricketing rivalries. There have been numerous memorable wins for both teams. But there have been some Test matches in Ashes that the last hour of the fifth day has seen the momentum swing to either side, with the match either ending in a thrilling draw or a memorable win for one or heartbreak for another.
Cricwizz makes the list of five Tests in Ashes that have ended in the last hour of the fifth day. These Tests have been far memorable than the whole series itself.
Oval Test in 2013 Ashes: Match drawn
Australia went into the fifth Test, trailing 3-0, in 2013 Ashes series in England. They were playing for pride and seeking a consolation win. A rain-marred fourth day saw Australia setting a target of 227 runs in little over a session on the fifth day.
The fifth day saw three innings. First, England innings was wrapped up for 377. Australia then made 111/6 decl in 23 overs and set up a challenging target of 227 for England. England gave a good chase while Australia picked up wickets at regular intervals.
At 206/5, England were 21 runs away from winning Ashes 4-0, but bad light stopped play, and Australia managed to save themselves from another loss. Kevin Pietersen led the charge with 55-ball 62, but the match was stopped just four overs left for England to score another 21 runs.
Cardiff Test in 2009: Match drawn
It was just the first Test in the 2009 Test series. And it was a cracker of a contest. England were bowled out for 435 in the first innings before Australia racked up 674/6 decl to take a 239-run lead. Four Australian batsmen score a ton each, with Ricky Ponting top-scoring with 150.
England had to bat out 105 overs to save the Test. And Australia had reduced England to 233/9 with them trailing by 6 runs still. James Anderson and Monty Panesar then batted by the skin of their teeth in the last hour of the match to save the Test.
England also deployed some time-wasting tactics. Anderson-Panesar remained unseparated by stumps and stitched a valuable 19-run unbeaten stand for the 10th wicket to save the Test for England.
The Manchester Test in 2005: Match drawn
Both the teams went into the third Test 1-1. England posted 444 before bowling out Australia for 302 to take a 142-run lead. England then posted 280-6 decl to set up a target of 423 runs in 108 overs. Australia were never in the hunt but scored at a brisk pace to keep England interested on the fifth day.
Captain Ricky Ponting led from the front with a knock of 156. His dismissal at 354/9 with four overs still to go gave England hopes for a win. But Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath held forth to deny England. The two batted out the four overs to draw the match and go into the fourth Test level at 1-1. Lee raised a victory cry as defeat loomed large on Australia’s head.
The Oval Test in 2005: Match drawn
Australia headed into the fifth Test at The Oval, trailing 2-1. They had to win this Test to level the series. It was a rain-marred Test, but not without much excitement. England entered the fifth day with 40-run lead. Australia were fired up to dismiss England cheaply and chase down the target on the last day.
They were in for some hope when they had brought England down to 199/7 with more than half of the day to go. But then Kevin Pietersen rose to the occasion and blunted any hopes of Australia of forcing a win and levelling the series.
He slammed 15 fours and 7 sixes in his 158 to help England draw the game and win the series 2-1. He and Ashely Giles (59) produced a series-saving stand of 109 runs for the 8th wicket in the last hour of the match.
1982 Melbourne Test: England won by 3 runs
Australia were leading the series 2-0 going into the fourth Test at Melbourne. England batted first at Melbourne, putting 284. Australia managed a 3-run lead, scoring 287 in the first innings. England then scored 294 all out in the second innings to set up a target of 292.
England had reduced Australia to 255/9 at stumps on 4th day. The fifth day was evenly poised with Australia needing 37 runs with Allan Border and Jeff Thomson the last two men standing.
The two fought bravely, narrowing down the runs required. With four runs to score for a win, Australia lost Thomson for 21, with England all-rounder Ian Botham taking the last batsman. Australia lost the Test by 3 runs on the fifth day.