After a somewhat chastening experience when the teams last met a couple of years ago, when Australia were the rampant 4-0 winners on home soil in the winter of 2017/18, England cricket fans will be hoping that returning to home soil, where the team have not lost an Ashes series since 2001, will be inspiration enough for Joe Root and his team to regain The Ashes.
However, they will face an Australian team ranked above them in the Test rankings and who have displayed an unerring sense of consistency in recent tests and who will feel that they have the best chance of ending that long run of winless Ashes series in England out of any Australian team to have ventured to these shorts since.
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Let’s now take a look at the series ahead and a little of the history of this most famous of cricketing rivalries.
How The Ashes Came To Be
A mock obituary posted in The Sporting Times after Australia had beaten England at the Oval back in 1882 mourned the death of English cricket following that shock defeat. The report suggested that the Australians had burnt the body of English cricket and were taking the Ashes back to Australia with them.
It was little more than a throwaway line, but a few months later, England captain Ivo Bligh spoke on the eve of a return test series in Australia by stating that he was sailing Down Under to “regain those ashes” and after that and England’s successful win in Australia, which saw them presented with an urn with the charred remains of something inside, the Ashes series had been born.
England enjoyed plenty of success in the early era of the tournament winning the first eight, but since then Australia have been the more dominant team. The Aussies have also racked up eight wins in the series in succession but in recent times, it has tended to be the home team that has landed the victory.
Here’s how the stats ahead of this summer’s series shape up historically between the teams.
- 70 Series Played
- Australia have 33 Wins
- England have 32 Wins
- 5 series have been drawn
- A total of 330 Ashes Test Matches have been played.
- Australia have won the most winning 134 of those test matches
- England have 106 wins to their name
- 90 of the test matches have been drawn
Ashes Record Holders
- Sir Donald Bradman (Australia) has the most Ashes runs with 5,028
- Shane Warne (Australia) has the most wickets in an Ashes series with 195
- Australia’s biggest margin of victory in an Ashes series is 5-0, which they have achieved on three occasions, 1920/21, 2006/07 and 2013/14 all on home soil.
- England have never whitewashed Australia, their biggest win being a 5-1 win in 1978/79 which occurred in Australia.
- Australia hold the Ashes after their 4-0 win in 2017/18, but they have not beaten England in an Ashes series in England since 2001.
England can therefore draw level with 33 series wins if they win the Ashes this summer, or Australia could move two clear in the battle between the teams. A draw looks unlikely, although it should be noted that the vast majority of test match draws in Ashes series have tended to come in England rather than Australia.
The Ashes 2019
A total of five Test Matches will be played across the UK from the beginning of August through until mid-September.
- First Test – 1st – 5th August 2019 – Edgbaston, Birmingham
- Second Test – 14th – 18th August 2019 – Lord’s, London
- Third Test – 22nd – 26th August 2019 – Headingly, Leeds
- Fourth Test – 4th-8th September 2019 – Old Trafford, Manchester
- Fifth Test – 12th – 16th September 2019 – The Oval, London
While winning the Ashes is prestigious enough, the series is also the first in a brand new tournament the ICC World Test Championship, which will see the top nine test match nations in the world play a total of six tests over the next two years against each other. Using a complex rating system, the top two teams from those matches will be decided and they will face each other in the final, in England, during 2021.
Who Will Win The Ashes?
Recent history tends to suggest that England will be the team triumphing this summer. The Australian team have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001 and this isn’t the strongest Australian side to have ever ventured to these shores.
However, it would be fair to say that England’s test performances in recent times have been erratic, with some particularly notable batting collapses playing their role in a number of key defeats and disappointing performances. There’s no reason for this to happen, England can bat right the way down the order, but it does seem the pressure does get to the England batsmen a little too easily at times.
In contrast, Australia may not be the most talented team to have come to these shores, but they are consistent and tend to produce the good when it matters the most. They always tend to push England hard in these games and I think they will certainly be there or thereabouts when the final reckoning comes in September.
I feel both sides will win at least one test, if not two and it could well be the final Test which decides things. When the pressure is on, I don’t feel there is any better team than Australia and as such, they are my pick to narrowly land the win in this series.