As the nights begin to draw , the next summer of cricket draws to a close leaving England fans before it starts again with the first of three winter excursions.
One simple reality has to be admitted, before trying to draw any conclusions though: this hasn’t been another summer of cricket. It’s been much more than this.
With a World Cup along with an Ashes series, it was likely to be a special but what’s transpired over the previous four months has surpassed all expectations. Cricket has caught the imagination of the people in a way never seen as 2005, thanks to a collection of – at times believable – minutes.
It has narrowed down to six, although there have been countless to choose from. Read on to discover that made the cut and then vote for your favourite.
When Jos Buttler strode out to the crease in the Ageas Bowl under 15 overs of the England innings staying the summer had started. Pakistan were the opposition and with all the hosts 211-3, they have been under stress.
However, they could not have been prepared for what happened next as Buttler proceeded to burst nine sixes on his way to a century from only 50 balls – the second fastest hundred by an England batsman. Top of this list? Buttler versus Pakistan in 2015, that one was from 46 balls.
Having accepted 32 deliveries to achieve his half, Buttler subsequently went ballistic because he travelled from 50 to 100 in only 18 balls runs coming from maximums. It is no more a surprise to watch him shoot a bowling attack apart in such fashion, but it’s always magnificent and over three months before the onset of the World Cup, it was a reminder of this incredible power England had at their disposal and just why they were moving in as favourites.
May 30. After the waiting was over and the World Cup had arrived.
England had posted 311-8 in The Oval and South Africa struggled in reply, the hosts had impressed however the game lacked something to really signal the beginning of the tournament, a moment.
Input Ben Stokes – along with Nasser Hussain…
“Oh! No way! No way! You cannot do that, Ben Stokes!”
Andile Phehlukwayo watched to watch the ball sail and had slog-swept Adil Rashid. Instead, he appeared in disbelief with the remainder of us as Stokes, five metres off the rope in deep midwicket, flung himself into the air and powered his right arm above his mind to pluck the ball out of the air for a few of the finest catches the World Cup has ever seen.
The World Cup was well and truly under way and Stokes has been the name on the lip of everyone, not to the last time in the summertime.
It had been touch and go for a while – defeats for Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia had left his World Cup hopes hanging by a thread – but England were at the World Cup closing. Australia was vanquished from the semis and the New Zealand of Kane Williamson stood between them and World Cup glory.
Since the Kiwis were restricted in Lord’s to 241-8, all seemed to be going nicely, Chris Woakes along with three wickets apiece and Jofra Archer miserly in the death and Liam Plunkett overs to help keep down the runs. However, when Eoin Morgan left over of their chase with England 86-4, of him lifting the trophy the possibility seemed slender.
Half-centuries from Buttler and Stokes maintained England in the search but they needed 46 out of 31 balls, when the latter dropped. Stokes kept fighting, granted a life when Trent Boult stepped to the border cushion after grabbing the all-rounder, however, wickets tumbled around him and with four chunks 15 runs were needed.
The ball from Boult went into the stands, the one later brought as the ball thrown in from the deep diverted off Stokes’ bat and then ran away into the fence. Suddenly it was if Mark Wood was conducted out a tie, of the ball and three out of two, then two out of one. Super Over.
Stokes mustered 15 in six balls as well as aided by a boundary apiece, emerged using Buttler for business. Then it was over to Archer. England’s superior border depend supposed New Zealand required 16 to win. A six out of Jimmy Neesham took it down to seven. This became the equation a few minutes previous of mirroring England, three from two, and then two from one.
What happened next will be seared into England cricket fans’ thoughts forever. Archer to Martin Guptill, a yorker dug outside into the legside, Jason Roy tearing into and, together with Guptill turned to come back to the moment, launching the ball into Buttler, who collected it and broke the stumps to win the World Cup for England -“by the barest of margins!”
No sooner had Morgan lifted the World Cup trophy, focus turned to the Ashes and the chance to recover the urn. Before that overcome and England were again back at Lord’s to try Ireland in a one-off four-day Test.
It did not go according to plan. Together with five in the XI of England’s World Cup winners, the home side were rolled out before supper on a sweltering day one for 85. They clawed their way back into the match out of nightwatchman Jack Leach, certainly the highlight of the left-hander’s summer thanks to 92, and Ireland were left desiring 182 to win.
A day that began with fantasies of a famous win in their first Test at Lord’s turned into a nightmare for Ireland. Their innings lasted only 15.4 overs as England tore through them, Woakes carrying 6-17 and Stuart Broad 4-19 – a wonderful boost before taking on Australia.
Twin hundreds from Steve Smith had condemned England at Edgbaston to a significant defeat in the Ashes opener, a situation made worse by an injury sustained on the very first morning.
England wanted a bowler, to galvanise both the supporters and the group although not only to replace Anderson. That guy was Archer. The bowler was left out of the first Test as he recovered from a minor accident but was match, firing and prepared to make his Test debut.
He needed to wait though after rain washed out all day one and a chunk of day two as well, to get into the action. By day three’s end however, he had truly made his mark.
For more than one hour on Saturday day the new star of England went toe-to-toe using the planet’s premier Test batsman of the most enthralling passages of drama Lord’s has ever noticed. Archer was fired and bowling consistently over 90mph – his fastest ball was clocked at among the fastest charms by an England bowler in years – at 96mph.
Smith was up for the battle in front of him shook up. Clearly in pain, the former Australia captain carried on, collecting a number of boundaries and carrying on the chunks from Archer, albeit rather fortuitously on occasion.
With the audience baying for blood of the calm Lord, the conflict came to a sudden end when Smith struck with bouncer that was ferocious around the neck. The batsman hit the deck and then directed off the pitch concluding.
Slimming down with 73 runs still needed to acquire. Having been bowled out to 67 on day twice in Leeds, a day that began with hopes of a record run-chase was turning to another to overlook for England. Australia needed only one wicket to keep the Ashes and it was just a matter of time.
Jack Leach started an hour of their most nerve-shredding, extreme and joined Stokes and, epic Ashes cricket you could wish to see at which Stokes was worried. For much of it, the tension was so that you wouldn’t wish it, although in fact.
Stokes started hitting him off for six, and it went from there. An astonishing reverse slog-sweep flew into the stands to take the essential runs down into less than 50, ramping Pat Cummins for six more got it down to 40 and from the conclusion of the following more from Josh Hazlewood, the first 3 balls of which went for 18, Stokes had his hundred and England had 18.
Marcus Harris didn’t hold on to a challenging chance running in from third man, Stokes hit on the two chunks for four and unexpectedly England were only nine away. Six off Lyon, this one hanging in the atmosphere and draining the long off fielder from millimetres. Two to win, and that is if it got interesting.
Stokes reverse swept straight to backward point but Leach had begun charging down the pitch hoping to sneak a single and he was well short of his ground because the throw came in to Lyon’s ending, he needed to do was collect the ball and then accept the bails but, strangely, he fumbled it. Next ball, Stokes went to sweep, missed and Australia went as you can. His thoughts shook, Australia was but with no testimonials left, it didn’t matter that ball-tracking revealed it would have struck the stumps.
Just two to triumph , after carefully wiping his eyeglasses Leach took strike Cummins and proceeded to nudge for, levelling the scores. Stokes thumped on the next ball through the covers for four and Headingley erupted. England to be dragged by A innings to the most incredible of wins.
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