IT IS more than 15 years since the strains of Lou Bega’s Mambo No5 last signalled live Test cricket on free-to-air TV.
The Ashes series of 2005 was an epic encounter with Michael Vaughan leading England to a famous victory over Ricky Ponting’s Australia.
England’s iconic 2005 Ahes win over Australia was the last time live Test cricket hit free-to-air TVCredit: Getty – Contributor
The 2005 series has gone down in history as one of the greatest of all-timeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
In the summer of 2005, England turned into a nation of cricket addictsCredit: PA:Press Association
Channel 4’s innovative coverage – boasting the likes of Mark Nicholas, Geoffrey Boycott and Richie Benaud – made it even more special for armchair fans.
Many of the current England team remember the series – which saw Kevin Pietersen explode onto the global Test stage – well. And none better than captain Joe Root.
Root, who was 14 that summer, attending King Ecgbert School in Sheffield and was already making his name in Yorkshire junior cricket.
The current England skipper recalled: “One of my childhood memories is that final day of the final Test at the Oval when England clinched the Ashes.
“I happened to be ill. I managed to sit at home and watch that whole last day.
“The coverage on Channel 4 was a big part of my childhood, throughout that summer turning on the TV and watching the guys play.
“Then I’d go to the garden or the driveway or the street and trying to emulate all those players. It was a big part of my childhood.”
As Channel 4 – and Mambo No5 – returns to our screens, SunSport reveals what the rest of England’s players in the First Test against India were doing that incredible summer…
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Joe Root, pictured here as a youngster, was 14 when England beat Australia in 2005
England’s boozy parade encapsulated what was a bonkers, riveting summerCredit: AP:Associated Press
Kevin Pietersen announced himself on the global Test stage in the 2005 AshesCredit: AP:Associated Press
Rory Burns – aged 15
Rory Burns, pictured here in 2011, was just 15 when England won the 2005 AshesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Opener Burns was no child prodigy – he was small for his age and not on the radar for any England age group teams.
But, with help from England legend Alec Stewart’s brother Neil, who coached Burns from the age of six, he chiselled the unusual style that serves him so well.
Burns attended City of London Freemens school in Ashtead, Surrey, and would soon go to Whitgift School, where he played with Jason Roy.
Dom Sibley – 10
Dom Sibley was just a ten-year-old when he watched England thrill the nationCredit: Ashtead CC
Like Burns, Sibley was born in Epsom, Surrey, and attended Whitgift School.
Sibley was big and strong for his age and was soon talked about as a future county player – and maybe an international star.
Even as a young boy, Sibley had a connection with the ECB – his father, Mark, worked in the marketing department in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Dan Lawrence – 8
Cricket-mad Lawrence, pictured here in 2014, was just eight for the 2005 seriesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Lawrence was steeped in cricket – his father, Mark, was groundsman at Chingford Cricket Club in East London and Dan was soon loving the game.
Mark recalls: “He was about six, picked up a bat and held it correctly straight away.
“He used to wear his gloves in bed with his bat next to him.”
Dan’s brother, Tom, didn’t like cricket and instead has become a pro wrestler fighting under the name of David Wreckham.
Ben Stokes – 14
Stokes, left, was just 14 when England stormed to an unforgettable series winCredit: Instagram
The Stokes family arrived in England from New Zealand in 2003 as Ben’s dad, Ged, took up a post as a rugby league coach with Workington Town.
Ben joined Cockermouth Cricket Club and was playing for the first-team in his early teens.
In 2005, he appeared alongside Joe Root for North of England Under-15s.
Ollie Pope – 7
Olli Pope, pictured here as a toddler, was only seven for the 2005 seriesCredit: Instagram
Pope was a little, ginger-haired lad attending Cranleigh Prep School in Surrey with a growing interest in cricket.
He showed talent almost as soon as he could hold a bat.
By the age of nine, Pope was in the Surrey system and is another coached from an early age by Neil Stewart, brother of ex-England captain Alec.
Jos Buttler – 15
Jos Buttler, left, was just 15 when England won the 2005 AshesCredit: Instagram
Buttler was christened Joseph but known as Jos to avoid confusion with sister Jo.
Jos was a talented all-round sportsman in his teens – he played rugby in a schools final at Twickenham and won the 100 metres event at King’s College, Taunton.
He played for all of Somerset’s youth teams and, in 2006, would make his debut for Somerset 2nd XI.
Moeen Ali – 18
Moeen Ali was on the books of Warwickshire for the 2005 AshesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Moeen made his first-class debut for Warwickshire in 2005 and scored a century from just 56 balls that summer for England Under-19s v Sri Lanka.
He moved to Worcestershire for the 2007 season.
Moeen’s grandfather immigrated to the UK from Pakistan and his grandmother, Betty, was white British.
His cousin, Kabir Ali, won his sole Test cap for England in 2003 and would play 14 ODIs.
Dom Bess – 8
Dom Bess was just eight and into his rugby for England’s 2005 successCredit: Instagram
Bess comes from a cricket family – his cousins, Zak, Josh and Luke, have all played for Devon.
Dom was also a keen rugby player in his youth. He was a useful fly-half.
Spinner Dom says fast bowling was never for him, admitting: “I was always a little porker when I was younger, so I never took a long run-up!”
Stuart Broad – 19
Stuart Broad was a teenager making waves at Leicestershire for the 2005 seriesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Broad, the son of former England opener Chris Broad, now a match referee, was already making waves in 2005.
His first-class debut came that summer and, like Moeen, he played for England Under-19s against Sri Lanka.
Broad was originally an opening batsman but a growth spurt in his teens persuaded him to switch to bowling.
Jofra Archer – 10
Jofra Archer was still living in Barbados when England snuck a 2-1 series winCredit: Instagram
Archer’s father Frank is English and his mother Joelle is Barbadian. He qualifies for England through his father.
Archer was attending Hilda Skeene Primary School in Barbados and, according to his step father Patrick, spent hundreds of hours playing and practising.
But he didn’t come to the attention of the Barbados age-group selectors until he was 16.
Jack Leach – 14
Jack Leach, pictured here in last month’s tour of Sri Lanka, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2005Credit: Twitter @englandcricket
In 2005, Leach was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which reduces immunity and will have to be managed for the rest of his life.
He was making his name in cricket, though, and was selected for West of England Under-15s for a tour of the Caribbean.
He was presented with his cap by England star Ian Bell.
James Anderson – 23
James Anderson had already made his Test debut when England played Australia in 2005 and was 12th man for the final TestCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Anderson is the only current England player to have appeared on live free-to-air Test coverage.
His final wicket on Channel 4 came in 2004 when he bowled West Indies’ Fidel Edwards at the Oval.
In 2005, Anderson was 12th man in the Test at the Oval where England regained the Ashes.
Who could have believed he would still be playing for his country more than 15 years later?