Ashes flashback: Caddick helps create Barmy Army's 'best atmosphere' ever - Barmy Army Menu
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Ashes flashback: Caddick helps create Barmy Army’s ‘best atmosphere’ ever

The 2021/22 Ashes series hasn’t played out the way we’d hoped but though Australia retained the urn after their win at the MCG, there’s still a lot to play for in the final two Tests.

The focus now shifts to Sydney for the fourth Test, which will be pink in support of the McGrath Foundation and the work it does to fund breast cancer nurses across Australia.

Ahead of the contest at the SCG, which gets underway at 11.30pm (GMT) on Tuesday the 4th of January, we’ve looked back at one of our fondest memories from the ground in our latest Ashes flashback.

We’re taking you back to the 2002/03 series for what Barmy Army co-founder Paul Burnham has described as “the best atmosphere that the Barmy Army has produced”.

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The Ashes were lost by the time Nasser Hussain’s side headed into the final match of the series 4-0 down but that did little to dampen the spirits of the travelling England fans in Sydney.

Once again Michael Vaughan put on a show with the bat, scoring his third big hundred of the series in the second innings, while Mark Butcher’s 124 in the first innings and scores of 75 and 71 in each from the skipper were also pivotal to the 225-run victory.

However, it was the way England’s bowlers – and in particular Andy Caddick – tore through the Aussies batting lineup on the fifth day and the atmosphere it helped to create that makes that New Year’s Test one that can’t be forgotten.

Paul Burnham was there that day and explained last year what made it such a special occasion…

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“On the Saturday, we’d been there to respectfully applaud Steve Waugh’s century in his record-equalling 156th Test with the SCG full of Aussie fans.

“There couldn’t have been more of a contrast on day five when the crowd was literally 95% Barmy Army or ex-Pats and England’s bowlers dominated in a raucous atmosphere.

“Man of the match Michael Vaughan had hit his third daddy hundred of the series earlier in the Test. He was brilliant, as was Mark Butcher who hit another fantastic Ashes century.

“Then on the final day, we bowled them out with Andrew Caddick taking seven alongside the likes of Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, and Richard Dawson.

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“The atmosphere at the SCG that day was just unbelievable. It’s been documented by people like Gough and Caddick and Nasser Hussain, who was the captain on that tour.

“He made a comment recently in a Sky documentary about how amazing the support had been even though they’d lost the first four Test matches and that the win in Sydney was the players paying back the fans for their unconditional support. It’s safe to say the supporters lapped up everything.

“The great thing was that some of us were able to go back to Australia later that year and when England won the Rugby World Cup.

“So we were able to say that in 2003 we’ve played one Test and won that, then played the Rugby World Cup and won that. It was just nice to be able to give the Aussies a bit of stick before that famous win in 2005 when we finally got the Ashes back.

“I always think that 2003 Sydney game was the best atmosphere that the Barmy Army has produced, simply because everyone was in the ‘away mode’ as I call it and we got the whole stadium, so 20-odd thousand Brits, all singing all day long and even more when a wicket was taken – with Justin Langer catching more than a little stick for his digs at us.

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“The atmosphere was unbelievably loud and truly memorable. It was a joyous occasion and again a win but in a losing series.

“We really needed a victory after losing the first four Tests and the celebrations just showed what the Barmy Army is all about, that total and proactive support.

“We make noise and we totally support the team whatever but that served up a perfect opportunity to bounce back at the Aussies verbally.

“The Aussies may call it a dead rubber but there’s no such thing when it’s England v Australia. Winning that Test match was a bit of a turning point. Beating all those big names when they were on the crest of a wave was amazing. You only have to look at what happened when they came over in 2005.”

There’s no reason a victory for Joe Root’s side this week couldn’t have a similar impact for England as we head into a busy 2022!