Second Test at Edgbaston: Harmison the last-ball hero as England finally deliver

ENGLAND 407 & 182 AUSTRALIA 308 & 279 England won by two runs

And indeed there was. An England victory had appeared to be a formality when Michael Vaughan led his side out at 10.25am on the final day. His team, following Andrew Flintoff's heroics on the Saturday, required just two wickets to complete a memorable win over Australia and draw level in the five-Test series. Australia, meanwhile, required a further 107 runs.

Yet it appeared as though the world champions were about to pull off one of the most remarkable victories in Test history when Stephen Harmison ran into bowl from the Pavilion End at 12.10pm. Shane Warne, Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz had added 104 to Australia's overnight total of 175 for 8 and the tourists were three runs away from all but retaining the Ashes.

England's bowling throughout the morning had been disappointing. Flintoff and Harmison were aggressive but had bowled too short and runs were being conceded at an alarming rate.

But then, with only three runs required for an Australian victory, Harmison pitched a short ball on the right spot. Kasprowicz took evasive action and, in an attempt to protect his body, pushed his hands and bat towards the ball. The ball struck him on the gloves and lobbed towards the England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.

The glovework of Jones has been questioned by many since he dropped two catches at Lord's, yet on this occasion he moved to his left, dived forward and scooped up a low but crucial catch. Kasprowicz looked down the wicket hoping the umpire, Billy Bowden, would not give him out but he saw the finger rise and sank to his knees.

England's fielders and a partisan crowd went wild. Jones was ecstatic, and started gesturing to a section of Australian spectators who had been goading him, while the rest of the team ran around like headless chickens.

Vaughan's side had laid the foundations of victory with a first innings of 407, and were confident on Friday after keeping the Aussies down to 308, and by the end of Saturday, with the tourists on 175 for 8, England seemed within reach of victory. And so they were, as it turned out. But only just.

Angus Fraser's highlight

Glenn McGrath had ripped England apart at Lord's, taking nine wickets. Yet during Australia's pre-match warm-up McGrath trod on a stray cricket ball and badly twisted his right ankle. It ruled him out of the Test. England made the most of his absence and Ponting's surprising decision to bowl first, scoring 407 in 80 astonishing overs.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas