Alright so I finally decided to play the 2005 Ashes series on ICC 2005 as it was the only option I hadn't done as of yet, and I chose England seeing if I could reproduce something similar to what they did last year.
I chose pretty much the exact same side as England did but I had Graham Thorpe in for Ian Bell. So I get started and in the 1st test I choose to bat first and straight away things start getting weird because Hayden is brought on to bowl 2nd change and gets 2 wickets in one over, Trescothick and Thorpe. He ends up only bowling 2 overs for the innings, and has figures of 2-2-0-2. Not sure why he got taken off Anyway I end up getting all out for 167, Australia pile on something like 500 runs and I lose by an innings and 48 runs. I choose to dismiss this as my own version of the "Lords Test" (Particularly since Pietersen was my best batsman, just like the Lords test) whereby Australia thrash England and England come back hard in the 2nd test at Edgbaston.
That doesn't happen. Instead things get worse. Australia bat first, pile on a ridiculous amount of runs, and I don't even get close. Ponting makes me follow on, I don't reach their total and again I lose by an innings, this time by an innings and 8 runs. So far in this series, Flintoff has done crap all with the bat and ball, and Gilo is averaging more with the bat than everyone but Pietersen. Geraint Jones has also batted like a grade a idiot, and he even pulled off one of his patented "tries to sweep, misses and gets bowled" shots like he did against Pakistan. Disgraceful effort by all. I can hear the England tabloids calling for my head. To make matters worse, Gillespie is having a killer series with the ball. This isn't 2005 at all.
By now I'm starting to get pretty peed off because I now have to win 3 tests on the trot to get back the Ashes. So we start the 3rd test at Old Trafford, and Ponting wins the toss again and again Australia pile on a mammoth total, 552 all out. I can only manage 267 all out and once again, Ponting makes me follow on and I'm 2-for hardly anything immediately. Its around this time I'm starting to realise that I'm not only not going to win back the Ashes, I'm about to lose by an innings in 3 consecutive test matches. This is more like the 2002/03 Ashes than the 2005 ones. But then begins the revival...
Strauss tons up, and Thorpe and Pietersen provide support. We're just about to prevent an innings loss when wickets start to tumble and Strauss, the key wicket, falls. Then from no where Flintoff comes to the party with the bat, and Geraint Jones joins him. The pitch is an absolute mess, with uneven (closing in on erratic) bounce and its turning a mile. All I'm thinking is "If I can get something like 150, maybe the great Giles can do something for me." Then I begin to laugh to myself.
Flintoff eventually falls, but Giles again scores with the bat and I manage to set Australia a target of 168 for victory. Seems impossible, especially since Harmison and Simon Jones have hard a pretty ordinary series so far, and Flintoff has been a waste of space with the ball. The only players that have done decently have been Hoggard and Gilo.
I get a sniff early when Hoggard Hayden who has whipped my butt all series, but Langer and Ponting get going and I know if I don't strike now I'm stuffed. With the pitch turning I know Gilo is my only hope, so I skip over Simon Jones and Freddy, and bowl Giles at first change. Suddenly the match is turned on its head. Gilo manages to pick up Langer and Ponting, and though Martyn threatens to take the game away from me Simon Jones gets him. I decide that Flintoff isn't even going to get the ball, and I'll let Giles and Jones try and take me home. Amazingly Giles and Jones both turn it on and run through the rest of team and somehow I manage to defend this total, winning by 36 runs and keeping the series alive. This English team now become the 4th team to win after following in, following in the footsteps of 2 previous English teams and of course the Indian team of 2001 against Australia.
I've played some awesome matches in ICC 2005 and all the previous ones, but this one takes the cake for me. The fact that Gilo was the man of the moment makes it that much sweeter. Go Gilo I've still only played 3 tests in the series so far so for all I know Australia will thump me in the 4th test and ruin everything, but for now the series is alive and I can still win back the Ashes.
Scorecards are attached below.