On the 8th December, the most famous test match cricket series will get underway at The Gabba in Brisbane Australia as the home team Aussies will attempt to hold on to the Ashes for a third series in a row against the visiting England team.

Having thrashed England 4-1 on home soil four years ago, the Aussies drew the series in England two years back to retain the Ashes and home fans will be expecting their team to deliver another win against their oldest foes.

England have had an up and down time with results in test match cricket and their record in Australia in recent years is extremely poor. However, this is a chance for Joe Root and his team to make their own piece of history by claiming a key win on Australian soil.

You can enjoy a wide range of betting on The Ashes with bet365 Sport over the coming weeks, with the series running through until the middle of January across five five-day test matches.

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The Ashes – A History

Although England and Australia first contested test matches as early as 1877, it was the 1882 series that saw the phrase “The Ashes” coined for the matches between the teams.

After a stunning Australian win at the Oval, a mock obituary appeared in The Sporting Times which stated hat the death of English Cricket had occurred at the Oval and that:

“N.B – The body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia.”

On the next tour to Australia, captain of England Ivo Bligh promised to ‘recover those Ashes’ and the phrase quickly caught on but died off in usage before returning to prominence in 1903 after which the series has been known by the unusual name.

Australia have won 33 of the 71 series played, with England winning 32 and there have been six drawn series, five of which have seen Australia retain the trophy.

Australia currently hold the trophy after they managed to draw the 2019 Ashes series in England 2-2, that result coming after they had despatched England 4-0 in the home series a couple of years beforehand. Prior to that though England had won five of the seven previous Ashes series, although only one of those came in Australia.

Famous Ashes Series

Australia’s Golden Era – 1989 to 2003 – Over this period Australia won eight consecutivebasics of cricket Ashes series four at home, four away winning 28 tests in total to England’s 7. It was an iconic period for the Australians which saw them overtake England in the number of Ashes series won chart.

During the period Australia beat England 4-1 in the series 3 times and also recorded 3-0 and 4-0 victories over their rivals.

England only ended the period of defeats with a narrow 21 win in 2005, however two years later Australia crushed England 5-0, one of just three whitewashes in the series (all achieved by Australia).

Botham’s Ashes – 1981 – Perhaps England’s most famous cricketer ever, Ian Botham, dominated this series bringing England back from the brink of a 2-0 deficit at Headingly with an epic performance with bat and ball in tandem with bowling ace Bob Willis. That sparked an unlikely win for England and they added two more victories in the remaining three tests to land a 3-1 win

The Bodyline Series – 1932/33 – England defeated Australia 4-1 in Australia in this series, but the result often pales due to the Bodyline bowling tactic employed by England captain Douglas Jardine against the Australian hosts, which fractured the skull of one play and enraged the Australian crowd on several occasions.

Australian Team

Australia named a 15-man squad for the opening two tests, but wicket keeper and captain Tim Paine withdrew from the squad in November and as yet, Cricket Australia are yet to call up anybody to replace him.

Australia Squad – Pat Cummins (Captain), Steve Smith (Vice Captain), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

England Team

England have named an 18-man test party for the five test series. This includes Ben Stokes who has recovered from injury well enough to be named in the squad.

England Squad – Joe Root (Captain), Jos Buttler (Vice Captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

The Ashes 2021/22 – Test Matches

The Ashes will be contested over five test matches running from the 8th December until the 19th January. The dates and locations for each of the test matches are shown below.

  • First Test – 8th December – 12th December – The Gabba, Brisbane
  • Second Test –15th December – 20th December – Adelaide Oval
  • Third Test – 25th December – 30th December – MCG, Melbourne
  • Fourth Test – 4th January – 9th January – SCG, Sydney
  • Fifth Test – 14th January – 19th January – WACA, Perth

Current Ashes Betting

Given their domination of England when playing the Ashes on home soil over recent times, it is little surprise that Australia head into the Ashes as the clear 1/3 favourites with bet365 Sport to land the win.

England are a distant 4/1, with the series to be drawn a 15/2 shot.

Looking at the series score market, the bookies have Australia to win 3-1 or 4-1 both at 5/1, with a 5-0 win for the Aussies or a 3-2 win a 13/2 chance and a 4-0 series win a 6/1 shot.

England are 18/1 to win the series 3/1, 14/1 to earn a 3-2 win and 25/1 to win the series 2-1.

A 2-2 draw is 17/2 with bet365 Sport.

Steve Smith is 11/5 to be the top scoring batsman in the series, with England captain Joe Root the 13/5 second favourite. Ben Stokes is an 8/1 shot as he returns from injury but he is ranked behind both Marcus Labuschagne and David Warner (15/4 and 4/1 respectively).

Pat Cummins is the favourite to be the highest wicket taker in the series at 7/2, with Nathan Lyon, JR Hazlewood (both 9/2) and Mitchell Starc (5/1) all either shorter odds or the same as England’s shortest priced bowler James Anderson (5-1).  Chris Broad is 8/1 and Marc Wood an 11/1 shot.

Who Would We Back For The Ashes 2021/22?

Just a quick look at England’s recent history in the Ashes series in Australia is enough to give England cricket fans a shiver down the spine. This is a talented England squad but fragilities in the batting line up have been problematic and with Australia likely to pour the pressure on, I expect the Aussies to land a 3-1 victory in the series.