Mark Wood column: England bowling hero relives Ashes glory
|Ashes 2015: England v Australia, 5th Test|
|Venue: The Kia Oval Dates: 20-24 August|
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.|
Durham and England seamer Mark Wood, 25, who only made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's in May, reflects on his achievement in taking the wicket that sealed his country's Ashes series victory against Australia at Trent Bridge on Saturday in just his fifth Test match.
I will never forget the feeling of taking the wicket that won the Ashes.
Those are the moments you play the game for, the moments you dream about growing up. I just can't believe it was me.
There was a special atmosphere at Trent Bridge on Saturday. Every morning of a Test, they play 'Jerusalem' over the public address, but this is the first time I've ever known the crowd sing louder than the speakers.
I knew I would be bowling at the start because I had an over to complete from the night before, but captain Alastair Cook joked that unless I bowled four good balls I would be coming off.
The hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. I was thinking: "I could win the Ashes for England here."
'Come on Woody, get it right'
The problem was that my Durham team-mate Ben Stokes kept bowling at the tailenders, leaving me to bowl at the established batsman Adam Voges. I had a bit of a laugh and joke with him, telling him "no wonder you've got a six-for".
Then Voges dug out a yorker and ran a single and I sensed I had a chance.
Australia number 10 Josh Hazlewood shows you a little bit of his stumps when he bats so I thought I'd bowl him a couple of shorter ones to let him know I was there and then have a go at the stumps. I got it exactly where I wanted and it bowled him.
Then came their number 11, Nathan Lyon, and the pressure was on. I could feel the crowd and the expectation. Stuart Broad kept shouting from mid-on that we were one ball away from winning the Ashes.
My first ball was too wide and the second was too straight. Come on Woody, get it right, I thought to myself. I went back to my mark and ran in. It was full and he couldn't get his bat out of the way in time. The ball hit the under-edge and shattered the stumps.
I jumped in the air and, as I turned, Jos Buttler grabbed me. Before I knew it we were all in a big huddle with me in the middle. People were shouting and screaming and I couldn't hear a thing. It was just manic.
When I got home my dad showed me the footage on TV and asked me what Cook was shouting to me but I told him I had no idea. It was that loud.
Eventually we broke away and Cook handed me, Stokesy and Joe Root a stump each. It was a brilliant gesture. He could easily have taken one for himself but he gave them to the young lads who had contributed to the win.
Once we got into the dressing room I thought I could let my emotions out a bit so I started hugging the team masseur and physio. Then I looked up and saw Sky Sports presenter Ian Ward lurking in the corner with a TV camera.
For a moment, I got a bit serious but when Ian Bell started giving an interview I couldn't resist standing behind him and dancing around. Then Rooty put on a mask and did his Bob Willis impression and we all just cracked up laughing.
The best moment of all was leaving the dressing room to do a lap of honour. I don't think I'll ever forget that. Just seeing what winning the Ashes meant to so many people was truly amazing.
When we were halfway round the field, Root and Cook came up to me and told me I had to bring out my imaginary horse, which has become my party piece when it gets boring in the field.
I've been keeping him in the stables all summer and I wasn't keen but they weren't taking no for an answer, so I checked the grass and let it fly for half a bend. I was a bit tired after my bowling spell so I think it was more of a trot than a gallop, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it.
We did some interviews on the field and everyone was a bit emotional. But when the skipper told that joke on the podium about how our coach Trevor Bayliss had only just turned up, it really lightened the mood.
Everyone could see what it meant to him, but to crack a gag at such a big moment really summed up our approach. We've wanted to have fun all series, to express ourselves and play exciting cricket.
Back in the dressing room, it was time for me to roll out the team song I'd been asked to write by Bayliss. He must think I'm either a lyrical genius or just that I have the best craic.
Either way, I spent a lot of time at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge working on it with Jimmy Anderson as my sidekick. We came up with some words for the lads to sing that seemed to go down pretty well and then we sang a special one for Broad because he was man of the match.
I can't reveal the lyrics of the songs... but maybe I will after The Oval.
We stayed in the dressing room until about 8.30pm singing songs and drinking. Being tee-total, I was on the water and orange juice but I still ended up with beer all over me.
Eventually we headed back to the hotel to spend a bit of time with our wives and girlfriends in the bar.
We were there until about midnight and then a few of the lads went out until the early hours. I won't name names, although I definitely heard Stokesy arriving back because his voice is very familiar.
He seemed to have forgotten his room key and was screaming at the door for his partner Claire to let him in. It went on for about half an hour so she was either in a deep sleep or wanted to teach him a lesson!
Home sweet home
The reaction has been unbelievable. As well as the usual family members and friends, I've been getting texts and tweets from people I haven't heard from for years. Everyone seems to come out of the woodwork when something like this happens.
When I got home to Ashington in Northumberland on Sunday afternoon, I was expecting my parents to have put the bunting up, but they kept it low key. I've had a few people coming up to me to say well done, but it's been nice to relax and be myself.
I'll be seeing all my mates from the local cricket club on Tuesday. I can't wait to hear what they've got to say. No doubt they'll bring me straight back down to earth.
To The Oval...
It will be nice to have a mental break and recharge the batteries before heading back down the M1 next Monday to join up with the squad and start preparing for the fifth Test at The Oval.
Australia will be up for the challenge. They will want to spoil the party and send captain Michael Clarke off into retirement with a big celebration, but we've got to make sure we don't give them a sniff.
Even if it means I'm made to gallop round the boundary on my imaginary horse belting out the team song, I'm desperate to win the series 4-1.