Cricket Expert & Columnist
Athers' Top 10
Mike Atherton picks his most memorable moments from a decade in which cricket has changed a lot.
Last Updated: 01/01/10 4:38pm
With the decade at an end, skysports.com has assembled its Noughties' Hot 100 - a century of stand-out sporting moments.
It covers all sports, but seeing as we have so many experts to call on, we asked our commentators and columnists to come up with their very own Top Ten from their sport.
And they have picked out one Moment of the Decade, their own personal highlight and why, from the decade - but do you agree?
Here, former England captain Mike Atherton gives his selection, in chronological order...
Captain courageous - 2001
Steve Waugh was one of the most significant cricketers of the decade and his hundred at the Oval in 2001 said a lot about Australia and why they were such a great team. Waugh's tour looked as good as over when he ripped his calf muscle at Trent Bridge but he fought his way back. I don't think many other players would have played in the fifth Test in those circumstances, let alone go on to get a century.
Heroism on their sleeves - 2003
The black armbands worn by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa in protest at 'the death of democracy in Zimbabwe' was an act of bravery that highlighted the failure of the administrators to deal with the serious issues of the decade. Their actions helped to highlight the issue and embarrass the administrators who up to that point had done very little about Zimbabwe's plight.
A Lara, Lara runs - 2004
Brian Lara's world record 400no at Antigua in 2004 - the second time he'd set a new world record for the highest Test score - was a staggering achievement, even if the pitch was very flat and England had a fairly modest attack. To score that many runs in a single innings must take a herculean physical and mental effort. I can recall scoring 268no for Lancashire and that was tough enough!
Gold Trafford - 2005
Watching 20,000 people stream down the Warwick Road and Chester Road after being turned away on the final day of the 2005 Ashes Test at Old Trafford will resonates with me because it's an image that suggests there is still a deep well of support for cricket and sport in the North West. After years of struggling to fill Old Trafford, it proved cricket could still capture the public's imagination.
England urn it - 2005
Kevin Pietersen's 158 in the fifth Test at the Oval in 2005 - his first Test century - took the Ashes away from Australia and the thrilling nature of his counterattack was encapsulated by his hooking of Brett Lee as the urn came within reach. Pietersen had already burst onto the scene in South Africa but this fantastically entertaining knock confirmed that he was going to be a serious player in the decade.
A genuine icon - 2007
Sachin Tendulkar will rightly go down in history as an iconic figure of the decade. His staggering longevity and achievements in the game have come even though his life had been subject to intense scrutiny for the last 20 years. In November 2007 he surpassed Allan Border's 11,174- run aggregate to cement his place in the pantheon of great batsmen. It wasn't long before Lara was trailing in his wake too.
Spin it to win it - 2007
Shane Warne was one of the great cricketers of the decade and his 700th Test wicket could not have been better scripted. It came in the 2006/07 Ashes on his home ground, Melbourne, when by rights he should not have been bowling. The seamers should have done the damage on what was a green top but England had reached 101-3 when Warne bowled Andrew Strauss through the gate. It was a magical moment, particularly as it came just days after he announced his intention to retire from Tests at the end of the series.
End of an era - 2007
The Sydney Ashes Test of 2007 represented the end of an era - it was the last moment that Australia was super dominant. Ricky Ponting's side completed a 5-0 Ashes whitewash for the first time in 86 years - a fitting end to the Test careers of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist retired soon after Test cricket became a different place. No-one deserved a decent send-off more than Warne and McGrath, a great pair of bowlers who left the game together.
A hit of alright - 2008
The birth of the Indian Premier League was a significant development in the decade and Brendon McCullum's scintillating 158no from 73 balls for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural IPL match in April 2008 helped to highlight how much cricket had changed. The tournament encapsulated the prominence of franchise cricket, India's rise in one-day game and confirmed that Twenty20 cricket would have a major part to play in the game's future.
Mike Atherton's Moment of the Decade
I've chosen a game between South Africa and England right at the start of the decade - the fifth and final Test in January 2000 at Centurion. It was a Test that I played in but in a way it was a bit of a dead game because we were already 2-0 down with one to play. There had been lots of rain at Centurion and it sparked a remarkable last day. You don't often see a forfeited innings in Test match cricket but there were two in that game and I was sent off for negotiations with South Africa captain Hansie Cronje over the run-chase on the last day. We thought at the time it was in the best interests of cricket to give the crowd that had turned up a good game to watch. In the end we negotiated a target of 249 and managed to scrape home. But it is really the aftermath of that Test which is so important because that was the game in which match-fixing came to light. Cronje had taken money to make sure that particular game wasn't drawn. After that all of the match-fixing from the 1990s came out. Ten years on as a result of that Test we have got a clean game with no bookmakers, no match-fixing and players trying to do their best to win every game that they play in.
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