35 years of great Ashes Tests: No.3, Adelaide Oval, 2006

By Sam Goodwin

The second Test of the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia will forever be known as ‘Amazing Adelaide’.

And for very good reason.

A match where bat completely dominated ball for four days as both sides amassed over 500 runs in their first innings was completely turned on its head when Shane Warne spun his magic to set up one of the most dramatic run chases in Test cricket history.

Paul Collingwood (206) and Kevin Pietersen (158) took Australia's bowlers to the cleaners on the first two days as England declared at 6-551.

But when Ricky Ponting (142), Michael Hussey (91) and Michael Clarke (124) managed to do the same to their counterparts, England's lead was just 38 and the match looked destined for a draw with just 19 overs remaining on day four.

When play started on day five, England were 1-59 with a lead of 97, and on a pitch that had offered little help to the bowlers for four days, hope of a result was almost non-existent.

But with nothing to lose, Warne threw everything but the kitchen sink at England, producing one of the finest spells of his career.

After he had Strauss controversially caught at bat-pad, Warne bowled Pietersen around his legs, got one to fizz from outside leg stump to catch the edge of Ashley Giles’ bat and land in Matthew Hayden’s hands at slip, and cleaned up Matthew Hoggard’s stumps with a wrong-un.

Supported by two wickets apiece from Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, Warne helped Australia grab the last nine English wickets for just 60 runs, and at tea on day five the Aussies needed 168 for a famous victory, with 36 overs, or 216 balls remaining.

Word of England's almighty collapse spread quickly and a large crowd filled the Adelaide Oval for what was sure to be an exciting final session.

The atmosphere was more like what you would expect for a one-day game as Hayden and Justin Langer smashed 13 off the first two overs.

England could only hope to restrict Australia's scoring and play for a draw, and when Hayden and Langer were dismissed at 2-33, the Aussies made a crucial decision to promote Hussey up the order to increase the run rate.

Alongside Ponting, Hussey cracked boundary after boundary to take Australia within 52 runs of victory with 84 balls remaining, but things stalled when Ponting and Damien Martyn were dismissed in quick succession.

When Clarke joined Hussey at the crease, the equation was 47 from 58, and the pair were determined to get the job done.

Clarke got off the mark with a trademark on-drive, and chipped in with 21 vital runs as Hussey swept Giles through square leg, cut Flintoff behind point, drove Anderson through the covers and pulled Harmison over mid-wicket on his way to 61 not out.

He cracked the winning runs with all of three overs remaining, and scenes of jubilation ensued as the Aussie players poured out onto the field.

A match that was neck-and-neck for four days ended with Australia completely dominating the fifth, and their sheer will to win in the game proved the difference.

2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, December 1-5, 2006

England 6-551 dec (168 overs)
Paul Collingwood 206
Kevin Pietersen 158
Stuart Clark 3-75

Australia 513 (165.3 overs)
Ricky Ponting 142
Michael Clarke 124
Michael Hussey 91
Matthew Hoggard 7-109

England 129 (73 overs)
Andrew Strauss 34
Shane Warne 4-49
Brett Lee 2-35

Australia 4-168 (32.5 overs)
Michael Hussey 61*
Ricky Ponting 49
Andrew Flintoff 2-44

Australia won by 6 wickets