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The Ashes: All You Need to Know

This summer sees the rivalry of the Ashes resume between England and Australia, with the iconic series still regarded by many as the pinnacle of the sport.

What are the Ashes?

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 that English cricket had died following Australia's first ever Test win on English soil.

It subsequently claimed the body would be cremated and the ashes would be taken to Australia with England's captain Ivo Bligh claiming at the time that England would regain the ashes.

The winner of each series wins a small, terracotta Ashes urn and, if the upcoming series is drawn, it is Australia who keep possession of the urn.

Australia have won 34 Ashes series with England winning 32 and the teams sharing the spoils on six occasions.

Where will the Ashes be played?

With the last edition having taken place in Australia in 2021/22, the 2023 series will be in England.

The five Test matches will be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham, Manchester's Old Trafford, Headingley in Leeds, and Lords and The Oval in London.

When do the Ashes take place?

The first Test will begin at 11am GMT on 16th June at Edgbaston and should run until 20th June.

The second Test will start at 11am GMT on 28th June with the Headingley Test beginning at 11am GMT on 6th July.

The final two Tests will begin on 19th July and 27th July, both at 11am GMT respectively.

Where can I watch The Ashes?

All five of this year's Ashes Tests will be available to watch on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket. The BBC have the rights to a daily highlights package that will be shown after the day’s play.

Who won the last edition of the Ashes?

Australia were comprehensive winners of the last Ashes series, which took place in Australia from December 2021 to January 2022.

Rory Burns was bowled for a golden duck with the first ball of the first Test, setting the tone for what would be a poor series for England’s batsmen.

The hosts registered comfortable victories in the first three Tests, winning the third by an innings and 14 runs, as England’s batsmen registered just one total above 250.

The visitors did manage to bat out for a draw in the fourth Test to avoid the whitewash before they were beaten by 146 runs in the final Test to round off a 4-0 win for Australia.

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Who are the favourites to win the Ashes?

Despite the revival in the fortunes of England’s Test team in the last 12 months and the fact that they have home advantage, they are still 13/10 outsiders to win this year’s Ashes.

Australia are 11/10 favourites to win in England, while the draw is priced up at 11/2.

England last won an Ashes series in 2015, which came in their own backyard.

The hosts were beaten 4-0 the last time these two sides met in 2021/22 and will be looking to regain the Ashes for the first time in eight years.

Home advantage has been crucial in the Ashes in recent years with nine of the last 11 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 340 Test matches played between the sides, the Aussies have won 140, England have won 108 and 92 have ended as draws.

Although England appear to be underdogs, they should draw hope from their new attacking style of play and the success it has brought them since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes’ appointments.

Who have been the most iconic players in Ashes history?

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 series 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'.

Who could impress in the Ashes this time around?

A new Ashes series brings with it the opportunity for new players to make a name for themselves and there are a handful of talents to keep an eye on heading into this year's series starting in June.

Harry Brook has been a revelation in England’s batting line-up and after just four Tests the 23-year-old has an average of 80 with three centuries in six innings.

If the Yorkshireman can bring that form into this Ashes series he could have a major say in which way the urn goes.

With the ball, England will be hoping to get another big series out of their veteran James Anderson. The 40-year-old has been better than ever in recent series and relishes the English conditions, so looks set to cause plenty of problems for this Australia batting line-up.

Marnus Labuschagne was one of the stars of the show in the last Ashes series, finishing with 335 runs, and he has firmly established himself as one of the best batsmen in the world.

Australia also possess a top-level pace attack, headed by Pat Cummins, who has been the leading wicket-taker in the last three Ashes series. Keeping Cummins quiet will be key to England’s chances of success.

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