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England and Australia set for Ashes final day thriller to evoke memories of 2005

Australia require 174 runs to win on the final day with England needing to take seven wickets

Sonia Twigg
at Edgbaston
Tuesday 20 June 2023 07:13 BST
Broad: ‘Ashes cricket is just magical, isn’t it? Tomorrow is set up to be a cracker’

Stuart Broad’s late wickets have set up a thrilling conclusion to the first Ashes Test of the series at Edgbaston, evoking memories of the 2005 nail-biter.

The 2005 Ashes was one of the most hotly contested between the two nations in its rich 141-year history, and in the second Test at Edgbaston England won by two runs to level the series.

Broad has proven time and again in an England shirt that he is capable of producing magic, and the Ashes brings out the best in the 36-year-old.

His eight for 15 at Trent Bridge against Australia back in 2015 was one of the most destructive spells of recent years, and he showed a glimpse of the same rhythm on the fourth day at Edgbaston.

Australia had been set a chase of 281, eerily similar to the 282-run total required 18 years ago.

Ollie Robinson made the first breakthrough, taking the wicket of David Warner to reduce Australia to 61 for one, and then it was Broad’s turn.

He found his rhythm, revved up the Hollies Stand – not that they needed much encouragement – and had two of the best batters in the world caught behind.

Australia were 89 for three, with both Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith back in the dressing room, but rallied slightly with nightwatchman Scott Boland hitting 13 off 19 and the visitors finished the day 107 for three, needing 174 runs to win.

Close-fought Tests that go right down to the wire are where Ashes memories, and a love of the sport, is cultivated and developed, and with the final day due to be a sellout, it is set up to be a thriller.

Broad dismissed Smith and Marnus Labuschagne to leave first Ashes Test in the balance (AP)

“I think Ashes cricket creates that energy,” Broad said.

“All four days have been amazing, incredible atmosphere. Zak [Crawley]’s first ball was one of my favourite Ashes moments, the sound it made and the roar just looking around, it was such a special moment to witness.

“Edgbaston does bring that character and noise to it and the cricket generally pays the crowd back here. It always seems to be exciting cricket and cricket on a knife-edge.

“I think tomorrow’s one of those days both teams will come to the ground with a genuine belief they can win the game which is a great place for Test match cricket to be in.”

Smith’s dismissal gives England hope of winning the first Ashes Test (Getty)

The seamer admitted this series has a similar feel to 2005, but Broad does not want the final day this time around to be quite as closely fought.

“I’m quite conscious I don’t want to build up too much hype of that ’05 Edgbaston because I’m not sure we want that going to two runs tomorrow from our point of view,” he said.

The weather forecast could add an extra dimension to the day’s play, with rain due in the morning, and England will be hoping Broad can channel his form of the final session on day four as they look to make key inroads.

The way Scott Boland was nipping the ball around during a brief interlude in downpours on the third day can only bring encouragement to the England dressing room – assuming, that is, any rainfall does not take too much time out of the game.

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