England have won the Cricket World Cup after a nail-biting final against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were the heroes for the hosts on a dramatic afternoon in London which saw the game go down to a super over.
Here, PA looks at England’s other highs in the 21st century.
Thousands took to the streets for an open-top bus parade as the players, who were by their own admission slightly worse for wear, had an audience with then Prime Minister Tony Blair to celebrate a truly momentous achievement. Australia were at their peak of their powers, a number of all-time greats in their squad, but in one seminal summer England matched them. A breathtaking see-saw series saw Michael Vaughan’s side prevail 2-1 as they regained the urn to end 18 years of misery against their oldest rivals. The contest and the aftermath are viewed as halcyon days for English cricket and for good reason – an estimated eight million viewers are said to have watched the climax at The Oval on Channel 4, numbers that have not been seen since.
Rejoice, for Paul Collingwood is no longer the only England captain to hoist aloft a global trophy. This was the one occasion where tinkering with the line-up before a tournament actually bore fruit. Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter elbowed their way in as openers and were able to regularly lay a platform in the Caribbean. Kevin Pietersen was player of the tournament, consistently delivering either side of a trip home for the birth of his son, while Ryan Sidebottom’s left-arm seam was a point of difference for England, who used slower-ball bouncers to great effect. They needed a bit of luck, edging out Ireland in the first group stage on net run-rate alone, but gradually built a head of steam, culminating in a seven-wicket thrashing of Australia in the Barbados final.
Waking up to news of England’s meek surrender Down Under is a right of passage for any cricket fan from these isles. Australia is often regarded as the final frontier for England but Andrew Strauss’ side came, saw and conquered in a winter beset by snow back home. England fans, though, were kept warm by a sequence of scarcely believable numbers – 766, 517 for one, and 98 all out among them. If you know, you know. A 3-1 series victory barely reflected England’s dominance, Australia were spared complete embarrassment by a reversal of fortunes in Perth which quickly ended once they got to Melbourne. The scenes of the side performing the ‘Sprinkler’ in unison at a near empty Sydney Cricket Ground live long in the memory.
From the wreckage of Jamaica 2009, woefully bowled out for 51, came the determination to become the best Test side in the world. Under the shrewd leadership axis of coach Andy Flower and captain Strauss, they realised their aim by whitewashing India 4-0 four years later, leapfrogging the Asian giants to get their hands on the Test mace. A settled top five – Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Pietersen and Ian Bell – compiled the ‘daddy hundreds’ while James Anderson and Stuart Broad perfected bowling dry. Graeme Swann, meanwhile, was perhaps the best spinner in the world during this period. England were removed from their perch by South Africa the following year as bonhomie gave way to ill-feeling within the camp.
The dust had barely settled on Pietersen’s ‘reintegration’, coming back into the line-up for England’s first Test series under the stewardship of Cook. They made an inauspicious start in Ahmedabad, the saving grace in a nine-wicket defeat their new leader’s mammoth 176, showing the rest of England’s order how to bat. Cook would finish a remarkable 2-1 series victory with 562 runs but was overshadowed in Mumbai, where Pietersen’s 186 is often held up as the finest innings by a foreigner in India. Swann and Monty Panesar contributed 37 wickets between them while Anderson’s back-breaking contributions were held up as the difference between the sides by no lesser an authority than India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.