Slater didn’t give the Three Lions a chance when he walked to the crease.
In 1994 Australia weren’t quite the juggernaut that would dominate world cricket later in the decade, but batsman Michael Slater showed what was to come with a stunning Ashes knock against England.
In the build-up to the first Test of the series in Brisbane the Aussies were certainly favourites, but having lost three five-day series’ on the bounce in the run-up there were question marks over some players’ heads.
Mark Taylor had taken over as captain from the great Allan Border and the team were only just finding their feet – little did anyone know at the time that this group would go on to be arguably the greatest Test side of all time.
With tension at maximum Taylor won the toss and decided to bat. Phil DeFreitas ran in to bowl at Slater and the opener cut the Englishman away to the boundary – four runs.
That shot was to become a metaphor of what Australian cricket was for the next 10 years; brash, brutal and fearless, sprinkled with utter class.
Slater would go onto score 176 runs off just 224 balls, not once letting up on the English bowling contingent of DeFreitas and co.
With two wickets down but Australia dominating, Mark Waugh joined the opener at the crease and batting would never look so simple.
England just could not cope and the story was the same when the Three Lions got their chance in the middle, with the assured confidence of the Baggy Greens being replaced by a sketchy performance from the visitors.
Needless to say the Aussies won that Test and the series, in fact not releasing their grip on the urn until 11 years later – and it was Slater who truly set the tone.