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Flashback: Jimmy and Monty’s great escape – Cardiff 2009

Still desperate for your cricket fix? Then allow us to take you back eleven years, to a sun-drenched Cardiff evening in June…

The year was 2009 and England ran out 2-1 winners of an Ashes series whose momentum shifted every Test. Andrews Strauss captained the side to two reasonably comfortable victories at Lord’s and the Oval, but the importance of the series’ first game – a draw in Cardiff – should never be forgotten.

This was a classic ‘great escape’. England’s second innings featured an incredibly resolute 74 from Paul Collingwood and a rather special partnership between Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson.

‘Rather special’ is probably underselling it a touch. The partnership lifted the nation and gave England a base from which they could kick on in their bid to regain the urn. At nine wickets down, the two came together needing to survive the best part of 12 overs. Monty was an extremely gifted left-arm spinner, but he wasn’t exactly renowned for his ability to bat…yet.

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Missed our Q&A with Andy Carter? Check it out here…

The two got in behind everything Peter Siddle could hurl down at them and patted Nathan Hauritz back ball after ball in the evening sun. Every ball, the clock ticked closer to 6:30 as every England fan in the country held their breath. Every block was cheered like a victory and the TV cameras continued to zoom in on an increasingly frustrated Ricky Ponting.

There was, of course, a touch of the farcical. England sent out a runner with some ‘gloves’ for the pair, only for the Aussies to kick up their usual fuss in an attempt to send him packing, while Monty dived for the crease for no apparent reason and motioned to pick the ball up with eleven desperate Aussies surrounding him. It all added to the drama and set the pulses ticking that bit quicker regardless of which side of the fence you sat.

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Primarily, though, this was all about two new batting heroes; if you’re one of our younger readers, then these two were the Jack Leaches of 2009. A 1-0 lead for Australia had seemed inevitable at tea, only for two old-school tailenders (hence, we suppose, the name of Jimmy’s podcast) to deny them at the final hurdle.

We really could go on about this partnership for pages and pages, but it’s probably best if you just take a look for yourself