After a thrilling 2-2 drawn series in 2023, thoughts are already turning to the next Ashes series between England and Australia which will start in November 2025.
Hopes will be high that the five-match battle down under will be just as captivating as the last series, where Australia kept hold of the Ashes after winning the opening two Tests before England clawed back with wins at Headingley and the Oval.
|What||Ashes Series 2025/26|
|When||Series starts November 2025|
|Odds||Australia 4/6, England 12/5, Draw|
The Ashes is a Test series played between rivals England and Australia and is hosted in turn by each country at least once every two years.
It originated in the late 1800s when a British newspaper wrote an obituary of English cricket, claiming it had died following Australia's first-ever Test win on English soil in 1882.
A bail from that match was allegedly cremated and the remains taken to Australia, with England's captain Ivo Bligh claiming that his team would regain the prize that had by now been encased in an urn.
The winner receives a small, terracotta urn containing the Ashes and, if a series is drawn, the previous holders retain the prize.
Australia have won 34 Ashes series, with England winning 32 and the teams have shared the spoils on seven occasions.
The pair meet over five Tests, although the schedule is yet to be confirmed. The Melbourne Cricket Ground will host its traditional Boxing Day test, which will be the fourth match of the series, while the final meeting will take place in Sydney in the new year.
The Gabba in Brisbane, the Adelaide Oval and the Waca in Perth have been the traditional venues used for Ashes matches, although one was played in Hobart, Tasmania the last time England visited in 2020/21 due to travel restrictions.
The final details of the matches have yet to be finalised, but the series is likely to start in the middle of November with the last of the five Tests being played in the first week of January 2026.
The TV rights for the 2025/26 Ashes have not been settled but the last two editions of the battle in Australia have been televised by BT Sport (now TNT Sports).
Recent Series in England have been shown on Sky Sports.
The 2023 Series was the seventh occasion when the Ashes series had been drawn and both teams will feel unfortunate that they were not able to secure the Urn outright. It stayed in Australian hands after they had won the previous series 4-0.
The tourists claimed a thrilling two-wicket win at Edgbaston in the opening clash and England were unable to stop them winning at Lord’s, despite some defiant batting from skipper Ben Stokes.
England’s fortunes changed at Headingley when bowlers Chris Woakes and Mark Wood saw them to a three-wicket win in Leeds and the home side were left frustrated at Old Trafford when it seemed they were on the cusp of levelling the series only to be denied by the weather.
They did, however, claim the win in the final Test at the Oval, where Stuart Broad took the crucial wicket on his last appearance.
Although there was little to choose between the teams in 2023, England have a poor record in Australia, where they have failed to win any of their last 13 Test matches.
They did claim a 3-1 success there in 2010/11, but you have to go way back to 1986/87 to the last time before that when they won the series down under.
Home advantage has been crucial in recent years with nine of the last 12 series having gone the way of the team hosting.
While Australia lead the way in terms of Ashes series won, they also have the edge when it comes to individual Test match successes against England.
Of the 345 Test matches played between the sides, the Aussies have won 142, England 110 and 93 have ended as draws.
The early years of the Ashes rivalry passed without too much incident, but that all changed in the 1932/33 series in Australia, when England adopted the then-controversial tactic of Bodyline, with fast bowler Harold Larwood taking 33 wickets as the tourists won the series 4-1.
Sir Don Bradman - who scored 5,028 runs overall in Ashes clashes - helped the Baggy Greens exact revenge in style, going unbeaten for 20 years until 1953, including The Invincibles tour of 1948 - when Australia went undefeated throughout their entire tour of England.
A similar lengthy run of Aussie success came between 1989 and 2005, when Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath tore through England time and time again, eventually ending up with 195 and 157 Ashes wickets, respectively.
In between those long runs of Australian success came perhaps the most iconic individual performance of all-time in the great rivalry, as the 1981 renewal was dubbed ‘Botham's Ashes’.
England all-rounder Ian Botham started the series in abject fashion, but losing the captaincy after the second Test saw him rejuvenated and he took the tourists apart with both bat and ball across the next three matches - including in the 'Miracle of Headingley'.
Stuart Broad is England’s leading Ashes wicket-taker with 153, while the record overall is held by Shane Warne, who took 195 in his glittering career.
There is a good chance that the teams who line-up against each other in the first Test in 2025 will look quite different to the ones who played the final match of the 2023 series at the Oval.
The key players in both teams are heading towards the end of their careers and that is especially true of the England bowling attack.
Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali both announced after that game that they would be retiring and England’s leading wicket-taker James Anderson will be 43 by the time the next Ashes series comes along.
Mark Wood and Chris Waokes will be in their late 30s, so if Ben Stokes is still captain he could have to make radical changes to his attack.
Batting is less of an issue. Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett and Harry Brook will still be in their mid-20s and it seems unlikely that Joe Root will still be the star of the show.
Pat Cummins, who will be 32 in 2025, could still lead Australia, but there could be changes there too with opener David Warner getting long in the tooth while Usman Khawaja will be 38.
It will be interesting to see if spinner Nathan Lyon is still available. He ended a run of 100 consecutive Tests when he injured his calf in the second Test at Lord’s, but he could still feel he has something to contribute alongside former skipper and run-machine Steve Smith.