Following England’s loss to Australia on August 29, 1882, the British publication “Sporting Times” published an obituary suggesting that English cricket’s body would be it and the ashes sent to Australia. England toured Australia after two months, led by Ivo Bligh, who promised to bring “the ashes” back. Since then, the two teams have played in one of cricket’s most exciting series, “The Ashes,” every two years. Here are ten of the best matches played between these two teams in the Ashes series:-
10. The Oval (1882)
The oval is where “The Ashes” was born. In 1882 Australia toured England. England never lost a game at home. Australia won the toss and elected to bat but was all out for mere 63 runs. England came to bat and could manage just 101 runs. In the second innings, Australia was all out for 122. England needed only 85 runs but was all out for 77 runs! Australia won the match by eight runs, and England lost a game on their soil for the first time!
9. Old Trafford (1993)
The first Test of the 1993 series marked the arrival of the future G.O.A.T. Shane Warne was almost unknown in England at the moment. He bowled out England’s Mike Gatting with the first ball of his first Ashes Test. However, Warne’s ball landed on the outside leg and took a wild turn before the bail fell off the stumps. Everyone inside Old Trafford, including Gatting, was baffled. That specific ball was known as “The Ball of the Century” later on. England lost by 179 runs in the Test match.
8. Sophia Garden (2009)
In the first Test match of the 2009 series, England scored 435 in their first innings, while Australia declared a massive 674/6 in response. The chase became tense when the British team unexpectedly collapsed. Anderson and Panesar were bating for the last wicket, and they managed to bat till the end, securing a tie! Fans were even rooting for a dot ball because it indicated that England’s chances of winning the match were still alive. It was one of the best Ashes’ Tests because of England’s comeback.
7. Headingley (1948)
England had made 365 runs in their second innings, giving them a 404-run lead. England captain Norman Yardley rightly declared the innings and put Australia in to bat, confident in his team’s victory. On the other hand, Arthur Morris and Sir Don Bradman earned their place in history by smashing a century and steering Australia to an almost unattainable goal. England’s inefficient bowling and fielding also benefitted them. In the Ashes, the dramatic chase still holds the record for the highest total chased successfully.
6. The Oval (2005)
It is recognized as one of the all-time best Ashes games. The series was 2-1 in England’s favour. Thanks to Kevin Pietersen’s outstanding innings, England scored 341 runs on the last day. However, with only 19 overs remaining, Australia’s target seemed unattainable. The match was declared as tied, giving England their first series victory over Australia since 1987, and, more crucially, they had brought the “ashes” back to England.
5. Sydney (1894)
It was the first time a cricket team has won after being forced to follow on. Australia amassed 586 runs in their first innings to put themselves in a favourable position. England’s managed to make only 325 runs, prompting the follow-on. England scored 437 runs in the second innings. To win the match, Australia needed to score 177 runs. Bobby Peel, a left-arm bowler, came to England’s rescue, taking six crucial wickets, which enabled England to win the match scarcely by ten runs unexpectedly!
4. Edgbaston (2005)
England set a goal of 282 runs in the second Test match, and Australia’s middle order crumbled in response. But, after Shane Warne’s heroic 42, Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz contributed 59 for the final wicket to prevent England’s victory. It was a nail-biting contest, with Australia just two runs away from staging one of the greatest comebacks in Test match history. But Andrew Flintoff got Kasprowicz’s wicket, and England won the Test by such a narrow margin!
3. Headingley (1981)
The third Ashes Test at Headingley is arguably one of the best Ashes Test matches of all time. Australia led the series by 1-0. After England’s follow-on, everyone anticipated Australia to win. But Ian Botham played a stunning inning, saving England from a humiliating defeat and putting them in a winning position. He made a heroic 149 runs to force Australia to bat again. The batting order of Australia crumbled, and England triumphed by 18 runs.
2. Old Trafford (2005)
In the third Test of the Ashes series in 2005, England made 444 runs in their first innings, to which Australia responded with 302 runs. England scored 280 in the second innings, setting Australia a target of 413. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, hit 156 and was the ninth wicket to fall with only four overs remaining. Lee and McGrath, on the other hand, effectively resisted the bowling to draw the match and bring the competition to a close.
1. Headingley (2019)
The Ashes’ third Test match of the 2019 series was one of the most exciting in the series’ history. In their first innings, Australia scored 179 runs, while England was bowled out for a mere 67. Australia got a big lead of 359 runs in the second innings, which seemed unreachable for England at one stage when they were nine wickets down and still needed 73 runs. But England pulled off a miraculous victory thanks to Ben Stokes’ stunning 135 runs and a remarkable 76-run partnership with No. 11 batsman Jack Leach!