Gavin Harper
by Gavin Harper
The Ashes: Australia Hold The Ashes

Rain may have dampened the play-or washed it out but its a sweet victory. This is cricket. England may have show a level of superiority but Australia won. There were mistakes but that is the glory of the game. Australia should be singing right now.

Its a tight contest and with Australia taking the first two tests it was all or nothing for Stokes and Woakes Co. This is where the guts and attacking style of Bazball cricket comes into its own and England snatched the victory from Australia at Headingley. Starc put a dent into England's hopes but despite the drama England prevailed. England trail 2-1-lets see if they can pull back the ultimate comeback

There are few more exciting events on the international sporting calendar than The Ashes. The event takes place every two years, with the longest-running rivalry between Australia and England taking centre stage.

The countries take it in turns to host the prestigious series, and Australia will be hoping to retain the Urn after a dominant win in the previous edition. But, what makes The Ashes so special?

Why Do They Call It The Ashes?

The Ashes dates back to 1882, as the first test between England and Australia ended in a victory for the visitors at the Oval. It was a result that shocked the world of sport, with many newspaper headlines calling the defeat ‘the death of English cricket’. It was not the first time an Australian Cricket team has visited England.

However, the following test saw the Urn born, with two bails burned to create the world-famous trophy handed to the winning team. While the trophy awarded to the winning team is now a replica, the famous original Urn can be found at Lord’s cricket ground.

What Is Special About The Ashes?

There are many reasons why The Ashes is so special, with the most important of those being that it highlights that the rivalry between England and Australia is timeless. It is always the most significant date in the diary for cricket fans, with all matches throughout the series being sell-outs. The Ashes is also so famous that it is an event that captures the imagination of even fans that don’t follow the sport, and that has helped create some of the most memorable sporting moments and comebacks in history.

Most Memorable Ashes Moments

Sir Donald Bradman’s 1930 Ashes

Don Bradman is a superstar that is remembered to this very day. His status as a cult hero in Australia was cemented long before the 1930 Tour of England. The hosts were cast as the huge favourites to win the series, but a young Australian batting duo of Bradman and Jackson had other plans. Bradman kicked off the tour with a 236 tally at Worcester, before hitting 131 in the second inning in the first test.

However, he would score 254 to help Australia level the series, he would later describe this performance as his best for the nation. But, he would surpass those marks in the third test at Headingley, scoring a world record of 334. But, the third and fourth matches would later end in draws following poor weather. Bradman scored 232 in the first innings of the final test to secure a commanding advantage, and that would ultimately secure one of Australia’s most famous Ashes wins as the Aussies regained the Urn.

Ashes Test Cricket

Shane Warne’s Ball of the Century

The relationship between Shane Warne and English fans always made for one of the most engaging storylines throughout the Ashes. The fans would often throw jibes at the bowler, but there was a deep-rooted respect for the Aussie, evident following the outpouring in emotion following his untimely death in 2022. Warne wasted little time in showcasing his ability on the grandest stage in 1993, as he marked the second day of the opening test at Old Trafford with a world-changing wicket.

His leg-spin delivery caught out Mike Gatting, and was later revered to be the ‘ball of the century'. Warne’s ball helped transcend the significance of leg-spin bowling, and helped revive the style of ball across the globe. The ball not only helped change the future of the sport, but also set the tone for the remainder of the series, as Australia landed a dominant 4-1 series win in England. Warne took 34 wickets throughout the series, and was named the Man of the Series.

Freddie Flintoff Shows His Class In 2005

The 2005 Ashes series was one of the best in the history of the famous rivalry. There were standout performances throughout the series, including Shane Warne taking his 600th test wicket, and Kevin Pieterson’s 158-run performance in the final test. However, few stars shone as bright as Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, as England ended Australia’s 16-year grip on the Urn. Flintoff scored 402 runs with the bat, while he took a staggering 24 wickets. But, it was his over in the second innings at Edgbaston in the second test that Ricky Ponting later declared was the best that he had ever faced.

Flintoff removed both Ponting and Justin Langer, all-but ending Australia’s run chase. The Englishman later took two further wickets to end Australia’s chase and secure a second test win for England. England would later land a famous victory in the fifth test following a draw due to bad light, but Flintoff’s immortality in English cricket was assured following his breathtaking performance.

Dennis Lillee & Jeff Thomson 1975

The Ashes series in 1974-75 highlighted the importance of a bowling attack, and that was echoed by the newspaper headline in the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, which read ‘Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, if Thompson don’t ya, Lillee must.’ That song certainly would have got stuck in the heads of England players throughout that Ashes series, as Australia were dominant with bat and ball to claim a 4-1 victory. Lillee’s bowling throughout the series was heroic, with latest stats showing that he bowled one ball during the series at a whopping 154.8 km/h.

The partnership between Lillee and Thompson is regarded as one of the best bowling pairs in the history of the sport, with the duo taking 55 wickets between them across the 1974-75 series. It was a huge cultural success in Australia, as the team ended England’s ten-year grip on the Urn and was watched by over 777,000 spectators.

Australian Hopefuls 2023

The 2023 Ashes series will get underway on June 16, with the opening test taking place at Edgbaston. Pat Cummins will captain the Aussies in England this year, as they bid to retain the Urn following a dominant 4-0 win in the home series in 2022. Australia’s attack will be led by Mitchell Stark and Nathan Lyon, while Steve Smith and Travis Head could be the stars with the bat.

Allround popular guy Scott Boland could be set to make an impression on this Ashes series. He has dismissed legends like Virat Kohli with his wicket burst.

However, there is an expectation that this could be one of the most closely-fought Ashes in years, with England’s new generation led by Ben Stokes rising to every task that has faced them to this point. With Broad and Anderson's still taking wickets in record-breaking fashion Australia have to watch out.

There will be a number of betting opportunities with the leading cricket sportsbooks throughout The Ashes, with Australia currently the narrow favourites to retain the Urn.

Ashes schedule with Australian viewing times

TestDateStart time (AEST)Venue
1June 16-208pmEdgbaston, Birmingham
2June 28-July 28pmLord's, London
3July 6-108pmHeadingley, Leeds
4July 19-238pmEmirates Old Trafford, Manchester
5July 27-318pmThe Oval, London

Key Take Aways From The First Test

  1. Australia won a closely contested match against England, taking a 1-0 lead in the Ashes series.
  2. Pat Cummins was a hero as captain, leading Australia to victory with a courageous performance and the help of Nathan Lyon.
  3. The match witnessed an epic chase as Australia successfully reached 282 for eight from 92.3 overs.
  4. Usman Khawaja was named the player of the match, contributing significantly to Australia's success with his resilient batting.
  5. England's fielding display was impressive, adding pressure to the intense atmosphere of the match.
  6. Ben Stokes showcased his skills with a smart slower ball but couldn't change the outcome for England.
  7. The match was filled with dramatic moments, including near misses and exceptional efforts by both teams.
  8. Australia's scoring rate was slower than England's, but their determined approach proved successful.
  9. The Ashes series has started off with an incredible clash of cultures.

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