England cricket's best moments of the summer - picked by Sky Sports' cricket team
Last Updated: 15/09/15 10:12am
A dire World Cup campaign and underwhelming tour of the West Indies rather put a dent in England hopes for a smashing summer.
But what transpired - a phenomenal 3-2 ODI series victory over New Zealand, the Ashes regained and a tenacious display against 50-over World Champions Australia - provided a plethora of special displays.
So we asked our pundits for their moments of the summer. Check them out, then let us know yours @SkyCricket…
David Gower - Root and Stokes revival
At 30-4 on the opening morning of the first Test of the summer, at Lord's, England's hangover from a dismal winter appeared not to be shifting. Enter Ben Stokes (92) who, together with Joe Root (98), turned home fortunes around with a fifth-wicket partnership of 161. It was the entertaining manner of the fightback as much as the middle-order rally that lifted spirits, reviving home hopes that all was not yet lost, and the theme was picked up by Jos Buttler (67) and Moeen Ali (58). Stokes duly did get his hundred, powering to three figures off 85 balls second time around, in support of Alastair Cook's belligerent 162.
Nick Knight - Buttler's big show
It's quite something when you blast a 71-ball century in ODI cricket but are still outshone. Such was Root's fate as Buttler tore New Zealand's attack to shreds in the first ODI of the summer, against New Zealand. Buttler powered his way to 129 off 77 balls - having reached his century off just 66 balls, the second quickest by a Englishman - courtesy of 13 fours and five sixes - as the hosts clubbed their way to their highest one-day total of 408-9 after being put into bat. Not a bad way to start the summer…
Michael Holding - Finn returns in style
Back in the Test frame for the first time in almost two years, Finn came back with a bang - removing Steve Smith and Michael Clarke in double-quick time as Australia were dismissed for just 136 in 36.4 overs on the first morning of the third Test. James Anderson rather stole the next day's headlines from the Middlesex seamer having taken 6-47 - so Finn came out firing again and bagged Test-best figures of 6-79 in the second innings.
Tom Moody - Smith's run riot
How different would the Ashes scoreline have been had injury-plagued Ryan Harris not been forced to retire before the first Test? We'll never know, but Tom was quick to give 'Rhino' an honourable mention for his career commitment to Australia's cause. His actual pick, though, was a Steve Smith's exquisite double century at Lord's. After two scores of 33 at Cardiff, there were those who questioned if Australia's number three had what it takes to score big in English conditions. His answer was emphatic.
Nasser Hussain - sensational Stokes catch
It was the catch Stuart Broad couldn't quite believe - and he wasn't the only one! Australia were already deep in trouble at 21-4 on the first morning of the fourth Ashes Test when Adam Voges nicked into the gully area where Stokes dived to take the ball one-handed behind him - just when it appeared to have beaten him all ends up.
Mike Atherton - Broad's wicket blitz
That catch was just part of the story, though. Broad, leading the attack in the absence of James Anderson, began the day on 299 Test wickets, but by lunch he had matched Fred Trueman's tally of 307. Broad's extraordinary figures of 8-15 have only been bettered in Ashes cricket by Jim Laker. There was no way back for the tourists as they were shot out for just 60 - their lowest total against England since 1936.
David Lloyd - Stokes seizes six-for
Each of England's seamers played their part in the successful Ashes campaign - all-rounder Stokes grabbing his share of the limelight with the ball by recording his second Test-match five-for on day two at Trent Bridge, the other coming against Australia in Sydney in January 2014. The inspired spell gave England hope of a two-day victory. The fact they had to wait until day three mattered not a jot, Stokes picking up where he left off by claiming the first wicket of the morning.
Benedict Bermange - seven-figure star
There was only ever going to be one standout moment for our sharp-as-a-tack statistician Benedict Bermange - the millionth delivery to be bowled in Test cricket in England. The honour of sending down the historic ball fell to Ben Stokes, although he probably won't want to be reminded of it as David Warner creamed it for four. One well worth remembering for all those sports pub quizzes…
Ian Botham - the Ashes regained
Beefy's first nomination - like that of most of our pundits, to be fair - was the moment Nasser put down a dolly of a catch in our slip-catching demonstration at Nottingham. But for the sake of variety, and because it still means so much to England's greatest all-rounder, he plumped for the moment England regained the urn - the champagne delivery coming from Mark Wood, who rather made a mess of Nathan Lyon's stumps.
Oh, go on then...