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A look back 15 years at Channel 4's cricket coverage

Test cricket returns to terrestrial TV on Friday for the first time since the 2005 Ashes.

Live Test cricket returns to free-to-air terrestrial television for the first time since the 2005 Ashes on Friday when Channel 4 broadcasts the opening game of England's four-match series in India.

In the 15-and-a-half years since Michael Vaughan's team of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen et al triumphed – and celebrated – in unforgettable fashion, the five-day format has been exclusively available via subscription.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at the personalities and the performances who took centre stage the last time England's Test team graced terrestrial TV.

The music

Mambo No. 5, a Cuban-influenced dance track by Lou Bega, a German born to a Sicilian mother and a Ugandan father, may have seemed a left-field choice for cricketing theme music, but it was an instant hit and quickly became synonymous with Channel 4's coverage.

The presenters

Richie Benaud commentated on the 2005 Ashes
Richie Benaud commentated on the 2005 Ashes (Sean Dempsey/PA).

From the dulcet tones of 'Voice of Cricket' Richie Benaud to Sir Geoffrey Boycott's caustic putdowns, the 2005 Ashes series boasted a stellar presenting cast. Mark Nicholas anchored the coverage, which also featured former England captains Michael Atherton, then in the early years of his broadcasting career and now a mainstay of Sky Sports' coverage, and Tony Greig, as well as ex-Australia batsman Michael Slater. And Benaud's status will be remembered by a generation of office workers thanks to the iconic Desktop Richie – a cartoon character who would wander on screen to alert you to a major event in the match.

The action

First Test

Glenn McGrath took nine wickets in the opening Test
Glenn McGrath took nine wickets in the opening Test (Chris Young/PA).

The opening match at Lord's was a chastening experience for the hosts as Glenn McGrath tore through their batting line-up, returning match figures of nine for 82 as Australia won by 239 runs. The only ray of light for England was provided by Pietersen on his Test debut, who made two half-centuries.

Second Test

England celebrate their last-gasp victory
England celebrate their last-gasp victory (Rui Vieira/PA).

The drama at Edgbaston started before a ball had been bowled when McGrath stepped on a stray cricket ball during a warm-up game of touch rugby and turned his ankle, ruling him out of the match. Marcus Trescothick's 90 gave England the upper hand after the first innings before Shane Warne and Brett Lee inspired a fightback, but, trailing by just two runs, a Steve Harmison delivery was gloved by Michael Kasprowicz into the hands of wicket-keeper Geraint Jones and England were level.

Third Test

Michael Vaughan celebrates scoring his century
Michael Vaughan celebrates scoring his century (Phil Noble/PA).

Old Trafford was the scene of Warne's 600th Test wicket and the first century of the series in the form of Vaughan's 166. Simon Jones' six for 53 and Andrew Strauss' second-innings 106 gave England the platform for victory, but, following Ricky Ponting's 156, Lee and McGrath saw Australia to a dramatic draw with one wicket to spare.

Fourth Test

Flintoff's century set England on their way in Nottingham before Jones tore through Australia, who were forced to follow on, with captain Ponting memorably losing his cool after being run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt in the second innings. Needing 129 to win, England edged over the line with three wickets to spare.

Fifth Test

Kevin Pietersen kisses the Ashes urn
Kevin Pietersen kisses the Ashes urn (PA).

Centuries from Strauss, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, along with six wickets from Warne and five from Flintoff, ensured it was even after the first innings at the Oval. But in a match repeatedly interrupted due to bad light, Pietersen guaranteed England the draw they needed with 158 in the second innings. Australia were four without loss when the umpires removed the bails at 6.17pm to confirm the hosts' 2-1 series win.


Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen arrive at Downing Street
Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen arrive at Downing Street (Mark Lees/PA).

The effect of England's all-night partying was evident as the players, most still visibly worse for wear, embarked on an open-top bus ride followed by a reception with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. The sight of dishevelled players, many sporting dark glasses, stumbling into Downing Street has become as memorable as their on-field exploits.

The innovation

'The Analyst' Simon Hughes
'The Analyst' Simon Hughes (Mike Egerton/PA).

Channel 4's coverage introduced the likes of Hawkeye, which tracks the ball trajectory to review lbw decisions, and the Snickometer, which uses a stump microphone to determine whether a batsman has hit the ball, and featured plenty of on-screen graphics and in-depth analysis – with 'The Analyst' Simon Hughes – all of which remain key features of the game on TV today.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States19201352
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151238
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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