Cricket is in the blood of all Australians. It’s our summer sport; we play it in the backyard, at a BBQ, on the street, on a field, anywhere we can find space.
For that matter, we become so engrossed in it, we can’t turn away.
1: 2006-2007 Ashes whitewash (Australian Series)
Australia just swept all before them in that season. Then came the crushing victory against England. Ponting, McGrath, Langer, Hayden, Warne, Gilchrist; the whole team shone. It was at the end of Australia’s golden era. England were simply outplayed, and it was one of the greatest Ashes series witnessed in the last two decades. It also included the moment of:
2: Shane Warne’s 700th test wicket
I was there at the MCG, Boxing Day 2006, with more than 90,000 others. What a moment to witness. The stadium erupted in one gigantic roar as Warne spun the ball through opener Andrew Strauss, causing the spin king to celebrate wildly. On the premier cricketing stage in Australia, you can’t ask for much more.
3: 2005 Edgbaston Test
On the absolute edge of my seat as Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz bravely fought off an English bowling onslaught. Australia ultimately lost by just two runs, but it was the battle between teams that was the highlight of the match. The sportsmanship shown was nothing like I’ve ever seen before; at the end of the match Andrew Flintoff consoled Lee after the final wicket fell.
4: 16 test victories v India
Australia were 5/99 chasing India’s first innings total of 176. Enter Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, who systematically tore India a new one. A ten wicket victory secured a new record for any team of 16 consecutive test match wins.
5: Two undefeated World Cups – 2003 & 2007
Watching Australia dominate the one day stage in South Africa and the West Indies was just mesmerising. Still in our golden era, I was glued to the TV as we marched towards three world cups in a row. Nothing could seemingly stop Australia. Especially Adam Gilchrist and the squash ball inside the glove in the 2007 final, where he smashed a magnificent 149.
6: Steve Waugh v England, January 2003, 100 in a session
The SCG was electric as Steve Waugh gave the crowd something to savour. It was a beautiful display of batting, and the final ball of the day – delivered by spinner Richard Dawson – was dispatched to the boundary for four. One of the best innings to watch.
7: Matthew Hayden, 380 v Zimbabwe, 2003
The WACA turned into a slaughterhouse for Zimbabwe, as they and those in the ground were witness to Hayden putting on a masterclass. It was an impeccable display of batting, and an incredible test of endurance to grind out the bowlers.
8: Australia v South Africa, 2006, 434 v 438
If you ever want a game that involves a pile of runs, look no further. A lot of people said 400 was almost impossible; then along came Australia (434). Ricky Ponting scored 164. Australia might have lost the one-dayer (thanks to Herschelle Gibbs and 438 from South Africa), but there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of Australia’s most historical moments.
9: Ricky Ponting, twin hundreds, 100th test
The 2005-2006 season for Ponting was a run fest. He ended it in the New Year Test at the SCG with 120 in the first innings and 143 not out in the second – ultimately steering Australia to a series win against South Africa. However, the milestone for Ponting was that he became the first player to score two hundreds in his 100th test.
10: Second Ashes test, Adelaide, December 2006
The test was on the verge of being a draw, with Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood having helped carve a massive first innings score. Second dig; enter one Shane Keith Warne. Figures of 4/49 on the final day saw England crumble and one of the most gallant and exciting chases in Ashes history. An amazingly composed 61 to Mike Hussey, plus 49 to Ricky Ponting helped Australia secure a famous win.
Leave your comments if you believe there are moments I’ve missed. Happy reading!!