Ryan Harris

Harris onto Lord's Honours Board

If Queensland hadn't thrown an 11th-hour offer at Ryan Harris back in 2008, the Australian fast bowler could well have been playing this Lord's Test for England.

Five years ago, Harris had actually stated that he hoped to play for England, his father's country of birth.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had just cleared the British passport holder to play for county side Sussex, and technically viewed Harris as an Englishman after a meeting that Mike Gatting sat in on.

How Gatting must have been cursing early on day two when Harris etched his name in history, becoming just the 22nd Australian to snare a five-wicket haul at cricket's spiritual home.

Harris was the visitors' most threatening bowler throughout England's first innings of 361, snaring 5-72 off 26 overs including the scalps of Tim Bresnan and Jimmy Anderson on Friday morning.

In 2008, such feats would have been the last thing on his mind when he met with the ECB after failing to impress national selectors while playing for South Australia.

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England wasn't his first choice, but injury had ravaged his body and seemingly ended his chances of fulfilling his dream of playing Test cricket for Australia.

He'd be eligible to play international cricket for England by 2012.

"If it goes on further, great. I am hoping it does," Harris told AAP at the time.

But Harris still held out hope that his home country would come calling.

Queensland, keen for an injection of outside talent, arrived with an attractive offer just in the nick of time.

Harris jumped at the chance, leaving England behind and making his Test debut, aged 30, for Australia.

"Last time I was in this building, I had a passport meeting with Mike Gatting. It was a messy situation," Harris reflected at the ECB offices after day one.

"I had contemplated coming over here but then I had a very good offer from Queensland that came through at the time.

"I thought I might have one last crack to play for Australia.

"The thought was there (to play for England), but I wanted to play for Australia and that move to Queensland was the best crack at it.

"Dad was born in Leicester but moved over to Australia when he was 10 or 11 so he was brought up being an Aussie and he brought myself and my brother up as being Aussies."

Harris said there'd been several moments when his frustrating run of injuries nearly convinced him to give it all away.

With his ability, Harris should be classed among the best fast bowlers in the world but, instead, this is just his 13th Test - and first in more than a year.

There are doubts over how much cricket Harris' body will allow him to play this Ashes tour, but the 33-year-old believes he can contribute beyond Lord's.