Ashes 2013: England v Australia - top five moments at Old Trafford

The Manchester ground plays host to the third Test

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The Independent Online

The third Test between England and Australia takes place at Old Trafford. Here, we remember some of the great Ashes moments at the famous ground.


In his first and last Test match, last-minute inclusion Fred Tate dropped a fateful catch which allowed Australian captain Joe Darling to go on and set a target of 124. Tate took to the crease with England needing eight runs, but rain forced him off the pitch before he faced a ball. After the restart, a petrified Tate hit a four to put England within inches of victory, but the fourth ball he faced re-arranged his stumps to break English hearts and hand the Aussies a nerve-shredding win.


History was made in Manchester in 1956 when England off-break bowler Jim Laker recorded the frankly unbelievable figures of 19 for 90, which are unequalled to this day. Laker and fellow spinner Tony Lock initially struggled, but the decision taken by captain Peter May to swap them over proved a stroke of genius, and the Yorkshireman ripped into the Australian batting attack from the Stretford End to win England the series.


Like a cricketing Terry Butcher, Denis Compton shed blood for his country in the name of sport. Having been felled by a vicious Ray Lindwall bouncer, a bloodied Compton was helped from the field with a gash in his forehead. But Nick Compton’s grandfather headed to the nets instead of the hospital, and after a few stitches and a couple of slugs of brandy returned to the crease to hit a lion-hearted 145 not out.


Voted as the number one Ashes moment in history in a recent poll by an Australian newspaper, Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting on the second day set the tone for the 1993 series.

After Peter Such’s 6-67 had helped restrict Australia to 289 all out, England were 80-1 when Warne came on to bowl his first spell. An unplayable delivery sent the former captain back to the pavilion and Michael Atherton’s side never recovered, slumping to a 179-run defeat.   


The third Test in the historic 2005 Ashes series was a tour de force of tension with no suggestion of release. Australia went into the final day, needing a record 423 for victory, while England looked to plunder ten wickets, and neither seemed out of the question. At the close of play, Australia were 371-9, last wicket Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath digging in against a ferocious Flintoff to hold out for a dramatic draw to crank up the excitement to breaking point.