The 2021 Ashes series between Australia and England are here. England will be looking to win the series for the first time in a while! Is it their time?
The oldest rivalry in cricket. That is the general feeling amongst fans world over towards the Ashes series. Recently crowned T20 World Champions Australia are on a high and will feel that their northern hemisphere opponents are ripe for the picking. The English team on the other hand is one of the current top performing teams across all formats. Having last won the series in 2015, the English team are undoubtedly hungry to regain the Ashes. Home ground advantage is an important aspect in modern sporting events, and with the 2021 series taking place in Australia, it will be even harder for the visitors to get one over their arch-rivals. Who will come out on top? We will have the answer on the 18th of January when the series concludes.
How did the Ashes start?
The first Ashes series between the two nations was the one-off 1882 test played at the Oval in England. Australia were the winners of that first test. Following the defeat, the English media mockingly wrote an obituary in ‘The Sporting Times’ proclaiming the death of English cricket. It was said that the body would be cremated, and the ashes sent to Australia. The English captain, Ivo Bligh, promised to regain the ashes before departing to the next series played in 1882-83 in Australia. The English press referred to the tour as the ‘quest to regain the ashes’. In the end, England won the three-match series. After securing victory on the tour, a small terracotta urn was handed to the England captain. The urn was a symbol of the ashes that they had travelled to Australia to regain. It is believed that the urn contained the ashes of a cricket bail.
Historic Ashes Results
Since the 1882-83 series, the urn has been the official trophy of the Ashes series. Of the 71 editions of the Ashes that have taken place, Australia have been the victors 33 times. England have won on 32 occasions, while there have been six drawn series. Each series consists of five test matches. If a series ends in a draw, the defending champions retain the trophy. The Ashes occur every two years, with the host nation alternating each time. Each one of the matches in the series takes place at a different ground within the host country. In recent times, the host nation has been the victor of the series. Should England win this edition, it will go against the trend of the past five series.
The 2021 Ashes Teams
England travel to Australia with a strong squad who will be looking to reclaim the Ashes. England last won the Ashes in 2015, anything less than outright victory will be a disappointment. Joe Root captains the squad. Prolific with the bat, Root will look to inspire his team by leading from the front. James Anderson is the senior member of the squad. The all-time leading wicket taker for England would like nothing more than winning perhaps his final Ashes series.
The team will miss Archer’s threat with red ball. Archer misses out on the tour due to injury. Senior players such as Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan form the core of players who need to perform at their best on this tour should the visitors have any hope of competing with the Aussies. England’s last Ashes series victory in Australia came in 2010-11. If the current crop of players wishes to emulate this, they have a hard road ahead.
As current title holders playing in their back yard, Australia will feel like this is their series to lose. Traditionally difficult to win away from home, the Aussies will look to use the home crowd support to their advantage. Captained by Pat Cummins, the Australians have assembled a strong squad for the series. In-form batsmen, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are important figures in the top order, who hope that Steve Smith can support them when the chips are down.
Usman Khawaja returns to the squad after a two-year absence. Should he get a chance to play, he will hope that he can translate his good domestic form into success at test level. On the bowling front, veteran Mitchell Starc leads the charge. Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, and Nathan Lyon will support him. The Australians are looking to continue their winning momentum into the test arena following their triumph at the T20 World Cup.
The 2021 Ashes Test Venues
The series starts on the 8th of December at the Gabba cricket ground in Brisbane. The second test takes place at the Adelaide Oval, beginning on the 16th of December. The MCG hosts the boxing day test (the third in the series), after which the tour moves to Sydney. The fourth test is played at the SCG, while the fifth and final match moves to Tasmania and plays out at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
The Ashes series is always a long one. The touring teams have it particularly rough, being away from home for such a long period of time. The English team are also without their usual throng of travelling supporters known as the Barmy Army. Tighter border control due to the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented tourist activity into the country over the last two years. There are however large contingents of English supporters who reside in Australia. How the visitors managed to deal with all the external adversities will go a long way in determining their success on this tour. Australia on the other hand is a ruthless team that will use any advantage that they can get. What better way than to spend the festive season watching how this old rivalry unfolds?
Online Cricket Betting
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