It went down in history as one of the greatest Test matches ever played in this country - but possibly only because one of the London bombers was a cricket fan.

England eventually won last year's Second Test against the Australians at Edgbaston by just two runs, but the players may never have walked out onto the pitch at all.

According to reports in yesterday's Sunday Times, two of the men who went on to blow themselves up on London's transport system on July 7 were initially ordered to assassinate the England and Australian cricket teams during the match.

A family friend of Hasib Hussain, who killed 13 people when he blew himself up on a bus in Tavistock Square, claims the order was given to fellow conspirators Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer by their al Qaida minders in 2004 when they attended a training camp in Kashmir in 2004.

According to the friend, the bombers were instructed to get jobs as stewards at the Edgbaston cricket ground and to spray sarin gas inside the changing rooms at the start of the match, which began on August 4.

However, he claimed 22-year-old Tanweer objected to the plot, possibly because he was a cricketer, and actually came to blows with Khan over the issue. Days later the plot to bomb London was revealed to them and the Ashes plot became plan B.

The friend also told the paper that camp commanders put Khan and Tanweer in touch with a bomb-making expert for the London mission who was based in Birmingham.