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For England, History awaits

If there were any doubts about why the Ashes is world-renowned as the greatest test match series in international cricket, consider them well and truly cast aside by events at Trent Bridge.

It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t even scintillating, it was a wicket-smashing, record-breaking, controversy-strewn bonanza of an opening test leaving cricket fans up and down the country with plenty to talk about …Was Jonathan Trott really out for a phantom golden duck? Should Stuart Broad have walked? And where on earth did Ashton Agar come from?

But there is little time to catch a breath as the Ashes bandwagon now moves to Lord’s where Financial Adviser has once again teamed up with the mighty MetLife to whet your appetite for the second test. And what a read we have in store - not only will you hear more from our exclusive interview with former England captain and Ashes god Andrew Strauss, you could win some incredible prizes - a bat signed by Jonathan Trott or a session in the nets for you and 20 clients with the man himself. Howzat?!

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The nail biter of Nottingham

“The wicket at Trent Bridge will be the one where, on paper at least, Australia look like they’re the most competitive side.” Those were the thoughts of Andrew Strauss going into the first test and, boy was he right. The battle of Nottingham had more twists and turns than a Lynda La Plante novel and with English chances receding by the minute until that decisive Jimmy Anderson wicket in the height of the heat on Sunday, the Australians damn-near snatched a win from the jaws of defeat. It was tortuous and spellbinding to the last and a thriller that we have all come to love from the Ashes.

It’s fitting that man-of-the-match Anderson - who enjoyed his second 10-wicket match and his 15th five-wicket haul in tests - was the hero to avert a collective cardiac arrest across the nation. With the Trent Bridge track hampering any kind of batting flourishes, Anderson used all his guile and experience to take full advantage of conditions.

Anderson has become adept as the Houdini of seam bowling - there were times when the Australians simply did not know what was coming towards them. His masterful dismissal of Chris Rogers in Australia’s second inning was the perfect paradigm - after lobbing missiles at the Aussies all afternoon, a change of tact and a slower ball bamboozled Rogers just after he’d struck his half century.

Credit should also be given to Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, who sussed out any zing from the Trent Bridge wicket early on to set English hearts fluttering. And under new coach Darren ‘Boof’ Lehmann, there seems to be an old-school swagger emerging from a decidedly new-school Australian line-up. Case in point? Step forward 19 year-old Ashton Agar, who broke records and hearts with his historic 98 run plunder in the first innings - the highest ever recorded for a number 11. He’ll certainly be one to watch as the series continues.