The tied England-Australia NatWest Final at Lord’s

The rivalry between England and Australia has been fierce over several decades but towards the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, Australia had a clear upper hand over their opponents.

England and Australia faced each other at Lord’s 33 times across formats between 1900 and 2005, during which England won only five times. With the hosts staring at another defeat, a counter-attacking partnership between Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones took the game deep.

It was 2005 and Australia were close to their best. In the final of the 2005 NatWest series, which had Bangladesh as the third team alongside Australia and England, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden started in typical fashion. The two got stuck into the English attack and reached the 50-run mark within 7 overs.

However, England bowlers fought back. Steven Harmison was fast and straight, Andrew Flintoff hardly gave anything away, Simon Jones’ aggression was unparalleled and Ashley Giles was on the button.

From 50 for no loss, Australia slumped to 93/5. Had it not been for an unbeaten 62 from Michael Hussey, Australia would have imploded for 150, but somehow limped to 196. Andrew Symonds 29 (71) couldn’t score a lot but ensured that one end remained occupied.

Steve Harmison 3/27 (10) and Andrew Flintoff 3/23 (8) were the most successful bowlers for England.

The opening burst from Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee was too good for the England batters. The home side was in trouble at 33/5 and the fate of the NatWest Trophy seemed to be decided.

A brilliant counter-attacking partnership between Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones followed, with luck favouring the two at many points during the stand. Jones, batting at No. 7, started tentatively but grew in confidence as the innings went on. When the wicketkeeper was dismissed in the 45th over, England still needed 36 runs to win.

With 10 needed from the last over, runs came through singles, doubles and extras. Darren Gough was run-out off the second-last delivery but Ashley Giles somehow scampered for two leg byes on the last ball of the match to prevent Australia from bagging another victory as the match ended in a tie.

While Paul Collingwood 53 (116) contributed for the hosts apart from Jones, Glenn McGrath 3/25 (10) and Brett Lee 2/36 (10) were right on the money for the visitors.

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