20 great Ashes moments No2: the miracle of Cardiff, 2009 | Rob Bagchi

Spectators who dared to look did so through their fingers as Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson held on for a draw

It is to Britain’s martial and imperial past that the metaphors for a home team’s defiance of overwhelming odds still habitually turn when honour, even in retreat, is salvaged from a seemingly inevitable ignominious fate. Dunkirk and its fabled spirit, a cornered belligerence and breezy fortitude in the face of imminent catastrophe, is the most common analogy but for England’s draw with Australia in the opening match of the 2009 Ashes series, something more symbolically Welsh was required to commemorate Cardiff and the country’s first ever Test.

For the generations brought up on the annual televised screening of the 1964 film Zulu, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift and specifically the poignant if apocryphal singing of Men of Harlech by a hopelessly outnumbered company of the 24th Regiment of Foot valiantly defending their position and lives against 4,000 warriors, suggested the obvious soundtrack to the highlight reels of Sunday at the Swalec Stadium.

Continue reading…

For more details, click on: 20 great Ashes moments No2: the miracle of Cardiff, 2009 | Rob Bagchi