One of the greatest day's cricket at Old Trafford saw the 3rd Test end in a draw but the fifth day will be etched into cricket history.
3rd TEST, 11-15 August 2005
England 444 (Vaughan 166) & 280-6 dec (Strauss 106)
Australia 302 (Warne 90, Jones 6-53) & 371-9 (Ponting 156, Flintoff 4-71)
The final day dawned with Australia requiring 423 to win or, more realistically, they had to bat all day for a draw. With tickets costing just £10, some supporters had camped outside the ground from 2.30am and by 5.30am queues stretched around the ground and thousands were heading towards the Old Trafford.
Capacity crowds of 22,000 had watched the first four days, and the unprecedented step was taken at 8.30am of the Police and local radio dissuading people from travelling to the ground, the crowds were that large. 10,000 were locked out when the ground full signs went up and it was estimated a further 10,000 or more were stopped from travelling. Cricket had never seen anything like it.
The cricket did not disappoint, Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting produced ‘Captain Courageous’ performances. Both needed to be at their best, and both were. The England skipper’s 166 included 20 4’s and a six, and Flintoff did not disappoint with 46 from 67 balls as England posted 444.
Following magnificent bowling from Jones with 6-53, Warne rescued Australia with the bat. He had already taken four wickets, including his 600th in Test cricket, and when he was out for 90 Old Trafford rose to salute him. England scored quickly and built on their lead of 142 and with Strauss carving out a century England were able to declare to set up a tense final day.
Ponting came to crease in the second over of the day and laid anchor. While the England bowlers took wickets at the other end he looked secure and set to bat all day. With four overs of the day remaining, and a draw on the cards, he was out for 156 (ct Jones b Harmison).
Four overs remained with the last two Australian batsmen at the crease. The crowd was on its feet for every ball and the crescendo of noise was deafening. Lee and McGrath hung on against all the odds and when the final ball of the day was struck for four, the Australian players on the balcony were ecstatic.
22,000 spectators wended their way home, exhausted and exhilarated by a day’s cricket, the like of which the great old ground had never seen before.
Pictures: Brian Statham Way is packed with spectators waiting in vain to get into the ground. Andrew Flintoff celebrates his dismissal of Adam Gilchrist (John Dawson)