England Test Match History

England Ashes History

England Ashes History


A Brief History Of England Ashes History

The origins of cricket's oldest international contest go back to 1882, when the third Australian team to tour England achieved the unthinkable.
Until then, the English had never been beaten on home soil, but Australia, led by by WL Murdoch, shocked the "Mother Country".
England, with the legendary WG Grace in their ranks, lost by seven runs, Aussie fast bowler Fred Spofforth taking 14 wickets for 90 runs. The following day, a mock obituary ran in the Sporting Times "in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882". It added: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." Those mythical ashes became a reality when the next England team to tour Australia. The Hon Ivo Bligh was presented with an urn containing the burnt remains of a bail after beating the home side 2-1. Thus "The Ashes" were now a tangible sporting prize, although they remain in the safekeeping of cricket's spiritual home, Lord's.

After regaining their honour, England went on to win the next seven Ashes contests, starting with the first home Test series against Australia in 1884. That winter, England beat Australia 3-2 in the first five-Test series Down Under. But it was a tour marred by controversy, including a walkout by the Aussies over payment and a fight in the first match. England underlined their superiority in 1886 with a 3-0 win, again in Australia with a 2-0 triumph (1886-87), and also won the single Test of their 1887-88 tour. The Aussies were in better shape that summer in England, winning the first Test, but went down by an innings in the second and third. Once again, some good bowling was let down by poor batting on their 1890 tour, as England, led by WG Grace, triumphed 2-0.

The Australians finally reclaimed the Ashes when England toured in 1891-92, beating Grace's team 2-1. But the English turned the tables with a 1-0 win in 1893's three-match series. They ran out 3-2 touring winners in 1894-95, and won 2-1 in the last entire Ashes series under Grace's captaincy in 1896. It was England's final Ashes triumph of the Victorian era, however, as Australia reeled off four successive wins. They won 4-1 at home in 1897-98, then 1-0 on tour in 1899, when, at the age of 51, Grace played his last Test. The Australians won 4-1 again as hosts in 1901-02, and 2-1 on their travels in 1902.

Having failed to recover the Ashes for four series, England were guided to a 3-2 tour success in 1903-04 by Pelham Warner.
A seesaw period ensued, with neither side dominating before the First World War. England won again in 1905 (2-0), but Australia claimed a 4-1 Ashes win over the tourists in 1907-08, and won 2-1 on foreign soil in 1909. England then notched up a 4-1 win in Australia (1911-12), with Jack Hobbs hitting 662 (82.75 av).
They retained the Ashes 1-0 that summer before hostilities curtailed the contest until 1920.

When it resumed, England endured the only 5-0 series defeat in Ashes history on their 1920-21 tour, with Australia in rampant form with both bat and ball. The tone was set when the visitors were set 659 to win in the first Test. England suffered an innings defeat in the second, lost the third by 119 runs, the fourth by eight wickets and the fifth by nine. The Aussies continued in a similar vein in England, winning the first three Tests to retain the Ashes before drawing the last two. A three-year gap before their next tour to Australia did little to restore English fortunes as they went down 4-1. But they regained the Ashes in 1926. Four of the five matches were drawn but, with Hobbs in fine form, England won the final Test at the Oval by 289 runs. England gained further ground on their old rivals in 1928-29, winning 4-1 in a tour dominated by performances with the bat.

Don Bradman made his debut in the first Test in Brisbane, where the visitors won by a record 675 runs. Dropped for the second match, he returned to hit the first of his 29 Test centuries in the third. The Don came into his own on tour in 1930, making 974 runs (139.14 av) as Australia won back the Ashes by a 2-1 margin. His feats included a 131 at Trent Bridge, a flawless 254 at Lord's, a first innings 334 at Headingley, and 232 at The Oval.

Clearly, stopping Bradman was key for England, and new captain Douglas Jardine devised a plan to do just that for the 1932-33 tour. Using the pace and accuracy of Harold Larwood, backed by Bowes and Voce, England employed short-pitched "bodyline" bowling to deadly effect. With Bradman missing through illness, they won the first Test by 10 wickets, with Larwood taking five in each innings. The Don's return in the second was short-lived, out first ball, but he hit an unbeaten second innings 103 as Australia levelled the series. England's bodyline tactics caused such a furore in the third Test that the crowd had to be restrained. Even diplomatic relations were tested as the tourists won by 338 runs. They took the fourth match by six wickets, and the fifth by eight. Bradman was restricted to a 56.57 average - good by other standards, but not his. Larwood took 33 wickets (19.51 av) but never played for England again.

Australia regained the Ashes in 1934, winning 2-1 on tour, with the Don making up for a slow start with two superlative innings. The final two Tests were drawn, but the first innings of the fourth at Headingley saw Bradman (304) and Ponsford (181) share a fourth wicket stand of 388. In the fifth at The Oval they surpassed that in the first innings with a 451 second wicket stand, Ponsford hitting 266 and Bradman 244, as Australia won by 562 runs. In Bradman's first Ashes contest as captain, Australia took a close 1936-37 series 3-2. England won the first Test by 322 runs, dismissing the Aussies for 58 in the second innings. A first innings 231 from Walter Hammond then helped them to victory by an innings and 22 runs in the second game, before the home side fought back. Australia won the third Test in Melbourne by 365 runs, having left England chasing 689 for victory. Bradman hit 270 in the second innings. The fourth was closer, but another Bradman second innings double century (212) anchored a series-levelling victory. In the fifth Test, a rain-affected pitch left England following on 365 behind, and Australia won by an innings and 200 runs.

The final pre-war Ashes series saw Bradman pass Hobbs' record of 12 Ashes centuries totalling 3,636 tour runs, but England's Len Hutton stole the limelight. A high-scoring first Test at Nottingham was drawn, and the second at Lord's ended the same way despite a first innings of 240 from Hammond. Rain led to the Old Trafford match being abandoned, but a win - by five wickets - was finally secured by Australia at Headingley, where Bradman top-scored with 103. England squared the series at the Oval, and the match belonged to Hutton, who batted for over 11 hours for his record-breaking 364. The home side notched up a record 903 in the first innings and went on to win by an innings and a massive 579 runs.

The Ashes resumed after the Second World War with England beaten 3-0 in Australia in 1946-47. Many of the players had lost some of their prime years to the conflict, including Don Bradman, who retained both his pre-war captaincy and his ability to compile big innings. But the Don decided 1948's tour would be his final Test series, and he went out in style, leading his country to a 4-0 success. England were, on paper, no pushovers, but Australia were simply too strong. They won the first Test by eight wickets, the second by 409 runs, the fourth by seven wickets, and the fifth by an innings and 149. The fourth match at Headingley saw England set Australia 404 to win in a day. On his favourite English ground, Bradman hit 173, and Morris 182, as the tourists achieved the seemingly impossible. Bradman's Ashes swansong came in the victory at the Oval, but after a lengthy standing ovation he famously went for a duck. Just four runs would have given him a 100.00 Test average.

England's 1950-51 tourists ran Australia close in the first two Tests, but eventually lost 4-1 as Len Hutton and Alec Bedser struggled to carry the team. The first four matches in the 1953 series were drawn, but England won the fifth Test at The Oval to regain the Ashes.
Paceman Fred Trueman marked his Ashes debut with four first innings wickets, but Jim Laker and Tony Lock's bowling sealed victory. Exemplary fast bowling from the likes of Frank Tyson and Brian Statham enabled the England revival to continue in 1954-55 with a 3-1 win in Australia. Laker's 10 first innings wickets in Surrey's win over Australia in 1956 hinted at what was to come in a rain-hit series won 2-1 by England. In the fourth Test at Old Trafford he took nine wickets in the first innings, then all 10 in the second, ending the series with 46.

Australia then entered a period of Ashes dominance, starting with England's 1958-59 tour. They won 4-0 but there was much controversy over the actions of Aussie bowlers Meckiff, Slater, Rorke and Burke. In 1961, skipper Richie Benaud's fine bowling (five for 12) at Old Trafford helped the Aussies to a 2-1 tour win.

They retained the Ashes in 1962-63 following a 1-1 draw in a series dominated by batsmen. The visiting Australians triumphed 1-0 in 1964, winning by seven wickets at Headingley. At the Oval, Trueman became the first bowler to reach 300 Test wickets.

England were unable to wrest the Ashes back on tour in 1965-66, winning at Sydney but losing in Adelaide. Australia's Bob Cowper hit 307 in Melbourne - the only Test triple century Down Under. Another 1-1 draw in 1968 left the Ashes in Aussie hands, with the tourists taking the first Test but England levelling matters in the fifth, with Derek Underwood claiming 7-50.

Australia have held the ascendancy in Ashes contests over the last 30 years and have dominated over the last decade.
England made a winning start to the 1970s, claiming a 2-0 victory under Ray Illingworth, with the pace of John Snow proving decisive. Honours were even (2-2) in England in 1972 as bowlers - fast and spin - went to town. Bob Massie's eight for 84 and eight for 53 on his debut for the tourists at Lord's was the pick of the bunch. Australia regained the Ashes in emphatic fashion in 1974-75. Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson tore into an ageing England batting line-up and the hosts won 4-1. They also won in England that summer, as victory in the first Test was followed by three draws. Tony Greig succeeded Mike Denness as England skipper after an innings defeat at Edgbaston.

Controversy over Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket (WSC) saw Mike Brearley replace Greig in 1977. Geoff Boycott's recall and Ian Botham's call-up were key factors in England's 3-0 win. With WSC robbing Australia of several stars, England romped to a 5-1 tour victory in 1978-79. A full-strength Aussie side gained a 3-0 revenge in 1979-80, but the Ashes were not at stake.

The next Ashes series in 1981 has gone down in cricketing legend as Ian Botham's finest hour, but it started badly for the all-rounder. After 13 winless Tests as captain, he was replaced, after a loss and a draw, by Brearley. England faced an innings defeat at Headingley in the third match, but Botham's 149 not out, and Bob Willis's eight for 43 sealed an unlikely victory. Botham's bowling secured another win at Edgbaston, then a second innings 118 from 102 balls helped England triumph at Old Trafford for a 3-1 winning margin.

The Ashes returned to Australian hands in 1982-83, with Geoff Lawson's 34 wickets and 469 runs from Kim Hughes (av 67.00) helping the home side to a 2-1 win. Home advantage helped England, with skipper David Gower (732 runs) leading by example, take the 1985 Ashes series 3-1. They retained them under Mike Gatting in 1986-87, winning 2-1 down under. Chris Broad starred with three centuries in a series England dominated, taking a two match lead before losing the last Test in Sydney.

That win signalled the start of Australia's resurgnence and Allan Border's team grabbed the Ashes back in 1989. The "Baggy Greens" have yet to give them up. Border's team won 4-0 as England, under Gower, struggled with injuries, indifferent form and an unsettled line-up. England were winless again in 1990-91 as Australia's fast bowlers thrived on home soil to deliver a 3-0 triumph.

Two years later, the Aussies delivered another three-match winning margin as mesmerising spin from Shane Warne (34 wickets) and solid batting right down the order secured a 4-1 triumph. The run continued under Mark Taylor in 1994-95 as Australia continued to dominate England in all departments, winning 3-1.

Things were a lot closer in England in 1997 as the hosts hammered Australia in the first Test at Edgbaston. But the tourists got into their stride, winning at Old Trafford, Headingley and Trent Bridge before England made it 2-3 at The Oval.

Australia ended the century with a 3-1 Ashes win in 1998-99, taking less than three days to wrap up the second Test by seven wickets. Their batting showed signs of frailty, especially in Melbourne where Alec Stewart's side won by 12 runs, but Steve Waugh and Michael Slater steered them clear of danger.

And despite home hopes, the Australian's took their winning run to seven series with a 4-1 victory in England in 2001. Steve Waugh's team dominated the series and, but for Mark Butcher's match-winning century at Headingley, would have celebrated a deserved "greenwash".
Year
2010/11
2009
2006/07
2005
2002-03
2001
1998-99
1997
1994-95
1993
1990-91
1989
1986-87
1985
1982-83
1981
1980
1979-80
1978-79
1977
1976-77
1975
1974-75
1972
1970-71
1968
1965-66
1964
1962-63
1961
1958-59
1956
1954-55
1953
1950-51
1948
1946-47
1938
1936-37
1934
1932-33
1930
1928-29
1926
1924-25
1921
1920-21
1912
1911-12
1909
1907-08
1905
1903-04
1902
1901-02
1899
1897-98
1896
1894-95
1893
1891-92
1890
1888
1887-88
1886-87
1886
1884-85
1884
1882-83
1882
1881-82
1880
1878-79
1876-77
Hosts
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
England
Australia
Australia
Tests
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
6
5
6
5
6
6
6
5
6
1
3
6
5
1
4
6
5
6
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
3
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
3
5
3
3
2
3
1
2
3
5
3
4
1
4
1
1
2
Eng Win
3
2
0
2
1
1
1
2
1
1
0
0
2
3
1
3
0
0
5
3
0
0
1
2
2
1
1
0
1
1
0
2
3
1
1
0
0
1
2
1
4
1
4
1
1
0
0
1
4
1
1
2
3
1
1
0
1
2
3
1
1
2
2
1
2
3
3
1
2
0
0
1
0
1
Aus Win
1
1
5
1
4
4
3
3
3
4
3
4
1
1
2
1
0
3
1
0
1
1
4
2
0
1
1
1
1
2
4
1
1
0
4
4
3
1
3
2
1
2
1
0
4
3
5
0
1
2
4
0
2
2
4
1
4
1
2
0
2
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
2
1
2
0
1
1
Draw
1
2
0
2
0
0
1
1
1
1
2
2
3
2
2
2
1
0
0
2
0
3
1
1
4
3
3
4
3
2
1
2
1
4
0
1
2
2
0
2
0
2
0
4
0
2
0
2
0
2
0
3
0
2
0
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
2
0
0
0
Series Winners
England
England
Australia
England
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
England
England
Australia
England
Drawn
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
Australia
Drawn
England
Drawn
Drawn
Australia
Drawn
Australia
Australia
England
England
England
Australia
Australia
Australia
Drawn
Australia
Australia
England
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
England
England
Australia
Australia
Australia
Australia
England
England
England
Australia
England
England
England
England
England
England
England
England
Australia
Australia
England
Australia
Drawn