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Freddie's farewell

Joe Drabble looks back at the 2009 Ashes series as Andrew Flintoff left the Test arena in style - with the little urn in the bag.

You beauty! England celebrate winning the 2009 Ashes series

Great Escape: Monty Panesar and James Anderson were unlikely batting heroes in Cardiff

After the drama of the 2005 series, dubbed by many as the Greatest Ever, Ashes fever gripped England once again when a new-look Australia arrived for the 2009 tour.

There were a few notable absentees on the flight from Down Under this time, with bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and prolific openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden no longer in the away camp.

Both sides had endured a mixed build-up to the series - a 1-0 away defeat in West Indies culminating in the sacking of Peter Moores and the appointment of Andy Flower, who steered England to victory in the return series.

Australia shared the spoils with South Africa, losing 2-1 in a fiercely contested away tour before redressing the balance by the same scoreline on home soil.

Not only was it all-change in the Australia dressing room, but also in tradition as Cardiff, not Lord's, hosted the first Ashes Test from July 8-12.

England made a strong start to the match as all batsmen contributed to their 435 all out, however Australia, led by captain Ricky Ponting's brilliant 150, hit back to post a mammoth 674-6 declared.

ASHES 2009

First Test - Cardiff: Match drawn
Second Test - Lord's: England won by 115 runs
Third Test - Edgbaston: Match drawn
Fourth Test - Headingley: Australia won by an innings and 80 runs
Fifth Test - The Oval: England won by 197 runs
ENGLAND WON THE SERIES 2-1

Ponting was one of four Australia batsmen to reach three figures, keeping England in the field for the best part of two days to open up a commanding 239-run first-innings advantage.

A 1-0 lead for the tourists looked inevitable when England crashed to 233-9 in their second knock, only for last-wicket pair James Anderson and Monty Panesar to prove unlikely batting heroes with an unbroken show of defiance. The duo held out for 11.3 overs to inch England into a lead to leave Australia with insufficient time to complete the job.

On to the familiar surroundings of Lord's and England maintained the momentum gained from their Great Escape in Wales as Andrew Strauss took inspiration from Jimmy and Monty with a sublime 161 on day one at his home ground.

Strauss might have hoped for more than 425 on what seemed a good batting surface but it proved wonderfully sufficient due to the efforts of his bowlers, who skittled Australia for 215 in reply.

England declared in their second innings with a lead of 521 - giving themselves a full two days to bowl out Australia, which they did shortly before lunch on the final day thanks to Flintoff's five-wicket haul.

Cardiff 2009 - Last stand

After torrential rain left the Edgbaston outfield sodden, the third Test at Edgbaston looked destined for a draw after the first three days. However, after England had opened up a first-innings lead of 113, the home fans started dreaming of an unlikely victory. Then, with the Aussies still 61 runs behind in their second innings, Graeme Swann produced the ball of the series to clean bowl Ponting late on day four.

Michael Clarke, who made a century in a losing cause at Lord's had other ideas, though, sharing a match-saving 185-run partnership with Marcus North (103no) to frustrate England and keep Australia trailing by just one.

Headingley hosted the penultimate Test - a Test Australia had to win to keep alive their hopes of winning the series outright.

The tone was set from the first ball, when Strauss should have been out lbw, and England never improved. Australia's winning margin - an innings and 80 runs - if anything flattered England.

After skittling the stunned hosts for just 102 in 33.5 overs on the opening day, Australia then closed on 196-4 before eventually posting 445 all out.

With England well and truly on the ropes Australia scented blood, finishing the job inside three days as Mitchell Johnson (5-69) and Ben Hilfenhaus (4-60) shared nine wickets.

Ashes Moments - Broad's 5 wicket haul

The decision to play five bowlers spectacularly backfired and it's a tactic England have avoided at all costs ever since.

The series was fascinatingly poised heading to the Oval for the winner-takes-all Test - the scene of England's famous series victory four years previous.

After winning the toss, England made a par 332 in their first innings, but Australia made an ominous start to their reply, going along nicely on 73-0.

Enter Stuart Broad.

The Nottinghamshire all-rounder swung the match and series in England's favour with a superb spell of seam bowling. Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin all perished to the England quick, who finished with 5-37 during a manic 12-over spell.

Reeling on 111-7, Graeme Swann stepped in to mop up the tail and hand England a significant 172-run first-innings lead.

Andrew Flintoff enjoyed a memorable finale to his Test career

Debutant Jonathan Trott was thrown into the Ashes arena under the most pressurised of circumstances and, after making a solid 41 in the first innings, the Warwickshire batsman became the first England player since Graham Thorpe in 1993 to score a century on debut in the second innings. His 119 took the game away from Australia after England had been reduced to 39-3 late on day three.

Requiring 546 for an unlikely victory, Australia knew only rain could save them.

It never arrived.

Flintoff, who announced midway through the series that this would be his last Test, may not have contributed much in his swansong with bat or ball, but he produced the defining moment of the five days when he ran out Ponting on the fourth afternoon. His direct-hit ended a 127-run partnership between the Aussie skipper and Mike Hussey and England swiftly clinched the little urn oncemore.

Flintoff claims the celebrations of '09 where much more sophisticated than '05 - either way, he had thoroughly deserved a large drink!