Gary Pratt came into the 2005 Ashes a promising young batsmen and ended it a legend. In one of the greatest moments of the series (just behind Glenn McGrath’s self induced foot injury from standing on a stray ball), Pratt, who had taken to the field to cover for the injured Simon Jones, ran out Aussie captain Ricky Ponting in a stunning piece of fielding. What made the moment even more spectacular was the Aussie’s whinging reaction. There was not a ‘fair dinkum mate’ to be heard as Ponting aimed an irate, expletive filled rant at the England balcony as he walked off. Many say it was then that England knew they had won the Ashes.
Later Ponting claimed England’s habit of giving fast bowlers a breather was “a disgrace”, but Michael Vaughan, with the kind of Churchillian oratory which made him one of the all time greatest England captains, warned: “We will continue to do what we have been doing – we have not broken any rules. If someone needs to go to the toilet during a session of play, I’m sure he will be allowed to do so.”
With admirable modesty Pratt later gave his own account of the incident:”My feet are on the ground and I’m just concentrating on getting in the Durham side,” Pratt told BBC Sport. “It was just a normal, everyday thing you do – pick a ball up and throw it.”
In true Ashes spirit, Pratt explains that Ponting later swallowed his rage and congratulated his victor: “There were no hard feelings. I even got him to sign a photo of me and him and he gave me a couple of his pairs of boots and a shirt. I’ve got great respect for him for reacting like that but I must admit the photo’s still in my drawer. I don’t think my missus would like it on the mantelpiece.”
Pratt gained hero status for his achievements, even being invited aboard the open bus parade through the streets of London after the series victory was wrapped up. Sadly however his cricketing career took a nose-dive after THAT run out, and after a few years scratching a living in the lower cricket leagues he now manages a self-storage company in Bishop Auckland.