EXCLUSIVE: Former England spinner Monty Panesar has reflected on his Ashes memories, having been part of three series during his career.
Panesar has experienced everything from a 5-0 whitewash to being part of the squad which won the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1987.
However, his favourite Ashes memory comes from the 2009 series when he scored seven off 35 balls in the first Test at Cardiff, sharing an unbeaten 69-ball partnership with James Anderson to save the match and earn England a hard-fought draw.
Speaking exclusively to Mirror Sport, Panesar said: “It’s got to be the Cardiff Test match, that’s my finest hour in an England shirt!
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“I didn’t expect to draw that Test match but somehow these kinds of miracles happen! It was brilliant to play in such a big series and draw that Test match.
“It created momentum for the England team and we went on to win the series.”
Despite not playing a game, Panesar was part of England’s squad for the historic 2010/11 series win down under.
That tour remains the only time England have won the Ashes in Australia since 1987 and Panesar pinpointed Alastair Cook’s magnificent 235 not out in the first Test as the moment the squad began to believe they could create history.
He said: “The first Test at The Gabba I was twelfth man and just sat in the pavilion and watched Alastair Cook bat all day long.
“I was like ‘Wow, Alastair Cook has taken his game to another level’. He’s got that mental toughness that other players don’t have.
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“When he scored that double-hundred and both Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott scored hundreds, that was the moment where we thought ‘Hang on, guys. We can win the Ashes in Australia.'”
During his first Ashes series in 2006, Panesar took 5-92 in the third Test at Perth and ended the tour as England’s third highest wicket-taker, despite only playing in three of the five Tests.
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“There’s something about the Ashes,” he added. “It’s the series that every young Australian or English cricketer wants to be part of. You want to be known as an Ashes legend.
“Once you finish your career it’s the one thing everyone remembers, everyone asks me about Cardiff or the Perth Test match.
“The key moments you play in an Ashes series are what people remember.”
Monty Panesar was speaking to the Mirror in conjunction with William Hill