The Test started with a bang with Ben Hilfenhaus dismissing Andrew Struass with the third ball of the match but the first day belonged to Peter Siddle. On his 26th birthday Siddle took a hat trick dismissing Cook, Prior and Broad and finished with six wickets for the innings as England were dismissed for 220. Australia were looking shaky in response at 5/143 until Hussey & Haddin put on a partenreship of 307 with Mike Hussey recording his highest test score of 195 and Haddin 136. Australia led by 221 but what happened next was a sign of things to come for the series. Andrew Stauss made 110, Alistair Cook 235 not out, and number three Jonathan Trott made 135 not out as England faced 152 overs and declared at 1/517. Australia’s only wicket taker in that innings – Marcus North. The match ended in a draw.
Injury prevented 2005 Ashes winning skipper Michael Vaughan from playing in the 2006/07 series in Australia. In his absence England plumped for star all rounder Andrew Flintoff as skipper. Flintoff was immediately in the action as notoriously fragile fast bowler Steve Harmison delivered the first ball of the match so wide it went to his skipper at second slip. It set the tone for not just the match but the series as Australia steam rolled England. Ricky Ponting made 196 as Australia racked up 602 in it’s first innings and bowled England out for 157 as the old tormentor, Glenn McGrath, claimed 6/50. Despite holding a lead of 445 Australia chose not to enforce the follow on and instead ground the England bowlers into the dirt. Justin Langer made a century and Australia set England a victory target of 648. A pair of 90’s to Kevin Peitersen and Paul Collingwood were not enough and England lost by 277 runs. Shane Warne and Stuart Clark took 4 wickets apiece in the second innings.
England’s captain grumpy, Nasser Hussain won toss and decided to bowl: big call, wrong call. It was a disastrous first day for England as Matthew Hayden dominated with 186* and Ricky Ponting made a century as Australia reached 2/364 at the end of the first days play. To add injury to insult England fast bowler Simon Jones bowled only 7 overs after he wrecked his knee sliding to stop a boundary. He wouldn’t play again in the series. Australia had a 170 run lead on the first innings and thanks to 103 to Matthew Hayden (he made 300 runs in the test: 197 and 103) set England a target of 464 to win. England capitulated for 79 all out in just 29 0vers and Australia won by 384 runs.
Australia were struggling on the first day at 5/178 but in what turned out to be his last test at his home ground, Ian Healy delivered his highest test score, 134, to lead Australia to 485. Steve Waugh also made a century and Western Australian/Englishmen left arm paceman Allan Mullally took 5 wickets. Mark Butcher managed a century in England’s first innings but Australia led by 110 runs thanks to 6/85 to who else but Glen McGrath. Michael Slater delivered 113 in the second innings to help set England a victory target of 348. England were struggling on Day 5 teetering at 6/178 with spin twins Stuart McGill and Mark Waugh taking five wickets between them. Fortunately for England thunderstorms rolled in shortly before tea, the match was abandoned soon afterwards and they escaped with a draw.
Michael Slater hit the first ball of 1994/95 Ashes, delivered by Phil De Freitas, for four on his way to 176 off 244 balls. He was dismissed caught by Mike Gatting off the bowling of Graham Gooch – the pair having a combined age of 78. Slater’s slashing innings had set the tone for the series and Australia finished Day 1 on 4/329. Mark Waugh contributed 140 as Australia totaled 426 against an English attack which included “the rat who joined the sinking ship” Martin McGauge. Born in Northern Ireland but raised in Australia fast bowler McGuage decide to play for England. His nervous and erratic performance resulted in runs flowing at almost 5 an over in the first innings and he didn’t get a bowl in the second. McGauge did pick up two wickets, but they were Craig McDermott and Glenn McGrath. England’s batting was as poor as its bowling with no individual century makers. In the first innings England were rolled for 167 thanks to 6/53 to Craig McDermott. They improved in the second innings to register 323 but had no answer to Shane Warne who claimed 8/71 from 50 overs to give him match figures of 11/110. Despite batting collapses of 6/97 and 8/92 in both innings Australia won by 184 runs and McGuage was never picked again. As a side note it is said that McCague once consumed 72 pints of Guinness during a bucks weekend in Dublin.